The Secret Lives of Teens on Social Media: Here’s What You Need to Know

Social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Parents use it, just like their children. However, on average, teenagers are the ones who spend the most time on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok and similar platforms.

This leaves many parents worried. Some are afraid that this habit will grow into an addiction, while others are concerned about cyberbullying, over-sharing, and an “all-about-attention” attitude.

Author Donna Lynn Hope asks an important question: “How different would people act if they couldn’t show off on social media? Would they still do it?”

If our children were to be born in more innocent times, without social media, would they be any different?

Consider these questions:

  • How do we know what our children are doing online?

  • Is there a way to control our child’s behavior on social media, without invading their privacy and breaking their trust?

  • How do we recognize if social media is negatively affecting our children?

This topic is complicated, and there are no simple answers. However, if you ask your child about the time they spend on social media, you might be surprised at how willing they are to talk about it.

When you speak with them about their emotions and challenges, and address potential issues in self-esteem, you may find that social media won’t pose such a threat to them.

Even so, you may still be wondering how you can safely explore your child’s secret life on social media.

These solutions will help:

  1. Dignify their devices. If you want to limit your child’s social media usage, avoid taking away their device. They will find another one. Help them find effective ways to self-regulate, instead.

    • Fear of missing out often motivates the time spent on social media.

    • However, teens are aware of the consequences this habit creates. Encourage them to reflect on these consequences and focus on the impact social media overload has on their personal, academic, and other goals.

  2. Ask about the apps. Ask your child which apps they spend the most time on. Is it Instagram, Facebook, or perhaps Snapchat? Once you find out, install those apps on your phone, too, and figure out how they work.

    • Some apps have geolocation which can pose a real danger. Try to manage your child’s social media activity by informing them of the danger rather than imposing your opinion.

    • Don’t be a manager, be a mentor.

  3. Help them to protect their privacy. Talk about privacy settings on different social media accounts. Some teens are not aware of this option.

    • Agree with them to accept only the followers and friends that they know personally. This is not an easy task for a teen because the number of followers is often the barometer of popularity.

    • However, if they understand the necessity for well-managed online presence, this shouldn’t be a problem.

  4. Talk about sexting. Parents find the infamous conversation about “The Birds and the Bees” just as awkward as children do. However, now you have another level to deal with – sexting.

    • Teens can often confuse sending explicit messages and photos for intimacy that might not exist.

    • Talk about what it means to have a healthy relationship and how to develop and maintain one.

  5. Overcome social media prejudice. Many parents believe that social media is completely, or almost completely, bad. However, it is neither good nor bad per se. It’s a new form of communication.

    • When parents talk to their children about social media from this standpoint, the child is likely to withhold and hide information.

    • Genuine curiosity and an open mind about your child’s interest in social media can make a significant difference.

  6. Care about their emotions. Teenagers want their opinions to be heard. This especially goes for the things they’re passionate or angry about. Social media offers instant feedback to their posts, which makes kids feel listened to, validated, and acknowledged.

    • However, if you offer empathy for challenges your child is facing, you can provide listening and validation inside of your family, too. This will give you an insight into what your teen posts on social media and an opportunity to help them self-filter.

When your child asks you for the first time if they can open a social media account, avoid judging them or jumping to conclusions. Accept their need to engage in such community-based way of communication, talk about it, and help them build a safe profile.

Teach them how to protect themselves and what to expect.

You’ll never have all the information about their activity, but if you’re interested and understanding, you might get just the right amount.

I help parents build the kind of communication and trust that allows parent-child relationships to grow and feel better through coaching and parent classes. Email me for more information: info@clynnwilliams.com 😘 

Thanks for reading my blog and following me on Instagram and Twitter @MsParentguru.

Click Here to become a part of my parenting community.

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

Parent Coach, Author & Speaker

www.clynnwilliams.com

November 5, 2021 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

If Peer Pressure Is Your Child’s Only Worry

This is an interesting time of change that we’re living in:

⁃ social justice

⁃ police injustice

⁃ gender biases

⁃ sexual identity

⁃ violence

⁃ global pandemic

While they are unrelated issues, they are connected because many of these issues are happening all at the same time. 😫

Many inequities like crimes against minorities, which are not new, are now shown publicly as a result of the power of videos and social media. Since they are happening all over the world, new attention is being called to them.

As a result of seeing how crimes are evaluated differently by the courts and society, based on a person’s ethnicity or economic status, some people are no longer observing basic laws that keep us safe as a society. People run red lights, smash & grab (what what they want), or disrespect each other.

This week I posted my thoughts on teen peer pressure and how parents can reinforce their family values and mores with their children to help circumvent this issue. That’s not the real issue here. Is it?

When I think about atrocities like:

⁃ Bombing a city to keep a group of people from being successful (Tulsa Massacre)

⁃ Stepping on the neck of a man until he no longer breathed (George Floyd)

⁃ Storming and destroying the White House because the leader disagreed (with election results) with the Constitution and doesn’t follow the rules (Storm the Capitol 2021)

⁃ Allowing people from Afghanistan into the country’s borders while pushing others out (Haitian & Mexican people)

⁃ Disallowing interaction with family members who express different political, religious or sexual viewpoints

These are just some of the issues facing people today. Imagine trying to explain any of these issues with your child, who may have an entirely different view from you?

And, remember that we are living in a socially distanced world because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of our children are growing up isolated from their friends and activities that would normally shape and fill out their lives. This is a time for individual reflection, honest realizations and deep conversations with our children and family members.

So maybe peer pressure isn’t the highest concern of parents today. Perhaps it’s the other concern: don’t do as I say… do what’s right. Especially if I (your parent) am not the best role model for you.

Well, I started thinking about all of the other shit that has been taking place over the last two – three years and I realized that in the whole scheme of things, peer pressure isn’t really the issue. It’s the messages that we are sending each other and as a result our children to seeing them.

Building character happens daily.

Interested in learning more about your family’s dynamics? Contact me – Ms. Parent Guru to receive information about my inspiring parenting programs for Aging Parents, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and their Sons, Fathers and Daughters or Fathers and their Sons.

Click Here to become a part of my parenting community.

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

www.clynnwilliams.com

October 28, 2021 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

What Did You REALLY Want?

Love is the common denominator in relationships. Knowing how to best express your love takes practice. When it comes to your children, the effort is definitely worth it.

Continue Reading October 22, 2021 at 7:30 am Leave a comment

The Voices Heard Before Suicide

Suicide is a profound tragedy…

My daughter was a young girl when my brother committed suicide. I was devastated. He had been suffering with a chronic illness and told us he was praying to die, while we prayed for him to live.

He had talked about dying years before that because he was so unhappy. Suicide is seldom unplanned, and victims leave clues.

It is up to us to pay attention to those clues and intervene. That’s easy to say, and harder to do. There are lots of external influences that will make it challenging to notice the clues.

These days children are dealing with life issues that they don’t want to talk about. Bullying. Sexual abuse. Peer pressure. Parental expectations. Excelling in school. These issues are further exacerbated by the separatism that technology provides. Many of these issues young people face without appropriate coping skills. When an unpleasant event occurs they feel that life can’t go on and so they attempt suicide or they are successful. 🤯

I recently heard the story of a good kid who received detention at school and then was reprimanded by his s parents at home. Concerned that he had jeopardized his chances to get into a Ivy League school for college; he committed suicide. Did he leave any clues that he was fragile?

What about the girl who can no longer face school or online bullies and decides that suicide is a better alternative to living. What behaviors did her parents notice before she took her life?

How do we stop this madness?

Suicide is beyond devastating! It’s really bad when it happens to a child that you think is safe; has a good life; and looks normal.

Are there warning signs? They’re probably aren’t many if any unless you are watching intently and you are in tune with your child; even then there’s no guarantee that you will be aware of what’s going on.

Here is what I can tell you:

  • Watch for changes of behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Quiet and withdrawn in an otherwise outgoing joyous kid.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll catch the clues then, but it least if you start a conversation beyond ‘how was your day’; if you talk about how to build resilience; if you let your child know that there is nothing worth taking their life over…

Have those hard conversations now when everything is good. Let your child know that correcting their behavior is your job, but that you are always proud of them and love them. reprinted from November 23, 2019

Interested in learning more about your family’s dynamics? Contact me – Ms. Parent Guru to receive information about my inspiring parenting programs for Aging Parents, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and their Sons, Fathers and Daughters or Fathers and their Sons.

Click Here to become a part of my parenting community.

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

Parent Coach, Author & Speaker

www.clynnwilliams.com

October 14, 2021 at 7:04 am Leave a comment

3 Thoughts on The Overuse of Resilience

We keep telling ourselves that “kids are resilient”. By that we mean:

⁃ Teens handle change well (not always true)

⁃ Teens embrace technology (some tech; not all)

⁃ Teens are able to move past personal & professional trauma (untrue without professional mental health support)

Teens handle change well when parents and the related adults in their life, help them build coping skills like acknowledging that bad things happen and you can survive. When we teach our children that they must have the highest grades or top success as student athletes, it builds stress and anxiety which they hold inside. Depending on how fragile they are to change, can be an indication of how they internalize pressure (and fix it by harming themselves).

Many teens and tweens love the technology that gives them ways to communicate with each other, and watch movies and videos. Their natural curiosity allows them to understand (intuitively) how to use new tech, games and apps. Being technologically savvy does not mean they will write papers faster or complete homework on time unless you have instilled that skill into their daily routine early in their educational career.

We assume that our teens are able to move past trauma easily because they are flexible, young and tell us everything is okay. These thoughts are far from the truth when you look at the number of teens who perform self-injury or attempt suicide.

This period of isolation (caused by the COVID-19 pandemic) has also contributed to our teens anxiety and depression.

Things to remember that will help your teen be more resilient:

• Stay connected by communicating & listening 👂 🗣

• If your instincts say something wrong… It is… 😰 If your teen won’t talk, reach out to the school counselor, social worker or ask your pediatrician for a referral to a child psychologist 👩‍⚕️

• Stay connected to school staff as they can be resources for support 🎗✂️✏️🖇

Your teen will tell you that you are overreacting. It’s not overreacting if they need help and you are able to provide it.

Parents who have lost their children to death by suicide, would love a 2nd opportunity to follow their 1st mind.

Besides reaching out to your child’s school support staff or pediatrician, here are a couple of additional resources:

Suicide Prevention:

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Self-injury Awareness:

https://www.destinationsforteens.com/destinations-blog/march-is-self-injury-awareness-month/

Thanks for reading my blog, and following me on Instagram, Twitter & TikTok @MsParentguru.

C. Lynn Williams

clynnwilliams.com

October 7, 2021 at 11:33 pm Leave a comment

My Teen Is Old Enough…

Being a teen is overrated. They are old enough to know what to do, but they don’t have the maturity or experience to consistently make the right decisions.

Teen male on a motorcycle

Being a teen is overrated. They are old enough to know what to do, but they don’t have the maturity or experience to consistently make the right decisions.

I was the oldest child and my mom and dad taught me the difference between right and wrong. I was responsible for “setting a good example” for my brother and sister. While I didn’t want to disappoint them, my parents also had “eyes” in the community and throughout the city; other adults who would report back if they saw me in places where they didn’t think I should be. Even so, I broke the rules… like the time I rode on my boyfriend’s motorcycle. Two broken rules:

  • No boyfriends (at my age)
  • No riding on anyone’s motorcycle

Never mind that we could have an accident and I could be hurt or killed. That never occurred to me (as a teen) because I was fearless and willing to try things. Even if it meant breaking the rules.

Parents often believe that once their child becomes a teenager, they don’t need as much supervision. That’s not true either. You don’t have to worry that your teen will fall down the stairs, like a 2- or 3-year-old. But they could accept a ride from a stranger when they need to get someplace on time. Or they may be tricked into giving out their phone number in an online chat, because the person they’re talking to says they are 15 too, like your child.

Think about the recent rash of carjackings or smash and grab crimes that are being performed by teens. Some of the kids are 12 or 13 years old. I can hear you – “Not My Child”.

How do you know?

You work every day and you’ve taught your child right from wrong. They would never steal a car, hold a person at gunpoint/knifepoint, or snatch their purse/wallet. Right?

You say, “my child is smart, comes from a two-parent family, we are not poor.” Those crimes only occur with/by… You fill-in the rest of this sentence with your thoughts or biases.

As a parent expert who has taught and studied adolescents, teens, and 20-somethings for the past 20 years, I can tell you this:

  • Teens love thrill and excitement
  • They are easily influenced by their peers and the world around them
  • Leaving them on their own for 3-4 hours every day (after school) without supervision is a problem

Join my Zoom Parent Masterclass on Thursday, October 21st where we will discuss teens: their wants, needs and love language. Admission is $25 until October 9th; $45 thereafter.

CLICK HERE to Register.

Interested in learning more about your family’s dynamics? Contact me – Ms. Parent Guru to receive information about my inspiring parenting coaching programs that help you through Aging Parents, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and their Sons, Fathers and Daughters and Fathers and their Sons.

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

Parent Masterclass

October 2, 2021 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

We Can Save Our Boys

It’s hard to advocate for equality and fairness from others, when our sons kill each other. Beefs, challenges, gang wars, whatever… it takes superhuman strength to change the heart and action of young men once the streets have become their parents.

Offer them love, support, structure and discipline while they are young. Continue it through their adolescent and teen years. Teach them to be good people, so they will grow up and be great adults

Be willing to move them out of dangerous communities and away from dangerous people. When I was growing up, an unruly young man was sent to the Army or military school.

If you are a single mom and your son’s dad is not in his life, find a good role model that will provide male support and discipline. Let’s start repeating affirmations of peace, freedom and love over ourselves and our sons. Instead of sending your son out to play, go outside and play with him. I coach parents, and one of my parents said her son has no one to play with outside, because the other kids are afraid of getting shot. That’s a sad commentary on some of our communities now. We can do better.

Our current circumstances do not define who we are, or who our sons are.

Interested in learning more about your family’s dynamics? Contact me – Ms. Parent Guru to receive information about my inspiring parenting coaching programs that help you through Aging Parents, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and their Sons, Fathers and Daughters and Fathers and their Sons.

Click Here to become a part of my parenting community.

C. Lynn Williams @MsParentguru

Parent Coach, Author & Speaker

www.clynnwilliams.com

September 23, 2021 at 12:53 pm Leave a comment

How Your Child Feels about A Back-to-School Workspace

Think back to your first day of school? What was it like?

I remember having a new pair of shoes and school supplies. I also remember having a desk and meeting new classmates.

At home we had after school routines to follow. They weren’t new because we followed them all the time. One of those routines was – DO YOUR HOMEWORK 1st!

I shared a bedroom with my kid sister. We didn’t have a desk in our room, so we did our homework at the kitchen table. There were a few times that homework was not completed before dinner, but that happened once I got to high school.

Fast forward to 2021!

We have operated in a remote learning environment for the last 15 months and many of you have opted to continue home schooling or having your son or daughter attend school remotely.

If your child is attending school remotely, be sure to establish a specific place in your home for them to attend school and complete their homework. 📝📚

Help them understand how important this space is, and most important- how excited you are for what they will accomplish and learn during this school year.

If they are attending school in-person, that dedicated space will still be necessary for them to complete homework and projects.

Remind them to keep it neat and organized.

By the way, let their brothers and sisters know that they are not to “borrow” (or destroy) any school supplies without permission.

Have a wonderful, successful school year with your child.

I help parents build the kind of communication and trust that allow parent-child relationships to grow and feel better. 😘

Thanks for reading my blog, and following me on Instagram, Twitter & TikTok @MsParentguru.

C. Lynn Williams

clynnwilliams.com

📝🖥🧑🏽‍🦱👦🏽

August 19, 2021 at 12:55 pm Leave a comment

HOW’S YOUR BACK-TO-SCHOOL ROUTINE?

As the Back-to-School commercials roll on your local TV channels, you wonder where the time went. A lot is changing this fall 2021 school year.

Many school districts are replacing remote learning with in-person learning. Some are offering a mixture of both – remote on specific days and hybrid on others. Whatever school discipline you have decided, it’s time to help your child prepare for a new routine!

This week I’ll talk about a great nighttime routine to help your child get used to the routine of getting enough sleep and waking up.

Step 1: Change their bedtime.

Summer is such a welcome time for kids unless they have summer camp or part-time jobs. They get to play outside, stay up late and sleep in. Change their bedtime now instead of waiting until the weekend before school starts, so they get adjusted.

Step 2: Change their wake-up time.

This is probably a villainous move on the part of a parent, but very necessary when it comes to helping your child get ready for school. When you change your child’s wake-up time, give them a morning schedule to follow.

Make it age appropriate:

  • yoga (for kids)
  • make-up their bed
  • write/check-off personal goals
  • shower
  • eat breakfast
  • clean up their room
  • chores you may have for them
  • FUN time 

Step 3: Complete any pre-Fall school assignments.

Many teachers send home assignments for their new students that must be completed and submitted either the 1st day of school or during that first week of classes. If your child procrastinates, this is GREAT opportunity to complete an assignment and have it ready to submit on time. It will make them feel good about themselves as well.

Remember to make time for fun whether it’s outside or inside.

Interested in learning more about your family’s dynamics? Contact me – Ms. Parent Guru to receive information about my inspiring parent coaching programs that help you through aging Parents, Mother and Daughter drama, Mothers and their Pampered Princes, Father and Daughter or Father and Son relationships.

Click Here to become a part of my parenting community.

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

Parent Coach, Author & Speaker

www.clynnwilliams.com

August 15, 2021 at 12:26 pm 3 comments

How to Develop Our Children Into Critical Thinkers

This summer we have seen two top female athletes stop competing and take time off to practice self-care and work on mental health concerns. Earlier this month, professional tennis player Naomi Osaka told us it was okay not to be O.K. and walked away from the U.S. Open. She said she needed some time away to deal with issues of exhaustion and depression.

Last week, gymnastics superstar Simone Biles, withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics to focus on mental health.

Also impressive is by how singer Britney Spears is taking control of her life, her career and her fortune.

Those are not easy decisions to make.

What these young women are showing us is that they are:

⁃ Taking control of their life

⁃ Saying no when it comes to protecting their physical & mental health

⁃ Prepared to accept criticism from people who don’t understand their why

When we raise critical thinking children, we are teaching them to think, speak and act in ways that are beneficial to them and the people or organizations they believe in.

It can be challenging when they use those same critically thinking minds to disagree with us.

It happens, but simply means the process is working.

In order to build those positive, well-adjusted adults, follow these Do’s & Don’ts:

  • Do: Spend “child-centered time” with your kid every day.
  • Don’t: Stop your kid from making his/her own mistakes — and learning from them. It may be one of the hardest tasks as a parent.
  • Do: Praise personal effort instead of personal qualities, such as intelligence, otherwise you can make your kids self-conscious, which may lead to unwanted complexes like shame when they do t accomplish their tasks.
  • Don’t: Shine the light on your child’s misbehavior as it can often backfire.
  • Do: Practice gratitude with your munchkin on a daily basis. Ask questions like: who is someone you love or who is someone who helps you?
  • Don’t: Positive stories are good, but negative ones are just as — if not more — effective, because they illustrate perseverance.
  • Do: Happy kids have friends, so help your child develop his friendships. You can start by not neglecting your own friends.

C. Lynn Williams, @MsParentguru

http://clynnwilliams.com

August 1, 2021 at 2:21 pm Leave a comment

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