Posts filed under ‘family’

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

Give Them Something To Believe In

Life is funny, you leave one crisis, and move into a second or third one. 

This week I’m thinking about boys… yes, our sons. And the challenges some of them face growing up.

For the last several years, we have experienced a number of young men losing their life to gun violence. Violence of being shot by rivals and violence due to police shootings. Last year (2020), not only did we experience over 600,000 people who died from COVID-19, we also watched as the number of black boys and men who were shot and killed by police, increased.

Toward the end of 2020, many cities noticed a rash of crimes where people were being carjacked and robbed or killed. Many of these crimes were committed by young men, some as young as 11 or 12. It makes you wonder what kind of direction or guidance they are receiving at home?

I had firsthand knowledge of guidance for a young boy.

My little brother…

I think back to my brother and how he responded to my mom and dad’s divorce. He was young, about 11 years old and missed having Dad at home. He was angry and felt alone.

He started getting into trouble.

A lot. Getting into trouble in those days, meant being disrespectful, destroying somebody’s property, or stealing. Our dad wasn’t coming by for regular visits, but if my mother called about my brother, Dad would come and discipline him. 

My brother was so unhappy that he began trying to take his life. (Thank God he was unsuccessful.) He also began hanging out with the “bad boys” in the neighborhood.

My mother sold our house and moved to a different neighborhood.

Who can say what kind of stress these boys are undergoing at home?

  • It could be due to financial issues.
  • Maybe the stress is verbal or physical.
  • Your son could be dealing with depression.
  • Perhaps he is reacting to deaths of people he knows due to COVID-19, domestic or gun violence. If his family has gang affiliation and the violence is orchestrated by gang leaders, imagine how stressful that could be.

How do you help your son if he is facing any of these (or other issues)? What do you do if he’s going through male teen angst? Maybe he’s exhibiting disrespectful, aggressive, violent behavior or mood swings.

What happens if you can’t change neighborhoods?

Try these five things before giving up or seeking professional help:

  • Schedule Time With Your Son – talk frequently and spend regularly scheduled time with him and keep his schedule jam-packed with school, sports, clubs, time with friends, and after-school jobs.
  • Set a Sleep Routine it’s easier being a teen if he’s getting enough sleep.
  • Get Moving – the last thing a moody teen wants to do is get up and move, but it’s one of the best ways he can feel better.
  • Listen Without Lecturingresist the urge to lecture your son. Listen with an open mind.
  • Keep Your Cool take a deep breath, keep your cool and find a way to communicate without lashing out.

Find an honorable, trustworthy male mentor that he can talk to, when he can’t talk to you. Remember to model healthy ways to handle stress. Take good care yourself.

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. Follow 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

July 20, 2021 at 9:45 pm Leave a comment

Six Tips for Being Better Parents

Avoid harsh discipline

Explain your role and decisions

Be involved in your child’s life

Guide your child through their mistakes and weaknesses

Live in the now 

Be a parent, not pal

Happy birthday to my amazing first-born, **Candace**, who started me on this journey of parenting and being better. The first child is lucky because s/he pulls love and emotions out of you that you never knew existed. They are also your “experiment” child. You try techniques, other people’s thoughts and that firstborn is like a stew of everyone’s ideas of how you should raise your child.

Just remember that this is your child!

Follow your gut!

Have fun!

Make wonderful memories together!

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 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

June 24, 2021 at 12:56 pm Leave a comment

What Do You LOVE About Dad

What do you love most about your father?

  • His ability to make you laugh?
  • His strength?
  • His ability to make you feel safe?
  • His wise advice?
  • How he takes care of you?

Whether your dad is with you. you never knew him, or is now a memory as mine is, let’s celebrate Dads this weekend and thank God for them! Enjoy (and share) my Father’s Day prayer.

Prayer for Fathers


“Dear God, We thank you for the gift of Dads in this life. We thank you that you are the greatest Dad ever, Abba Father, and we know that you cover us in your great love.


We pray specifically for fathers and fatherhood across our land. Your Word clearly instructs fathers to bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). 


We pray for the single fathers out there; whether they are raising their children alone or even if they are doing the best they can with the time they have. We pray for strength, protection, wisdom, and discernment to help them through whatever trials they may be facing.


We pray for the dads out there who are being alienated from their children right now. We pray, that You would shield and shelter them from the pain and possibly the anger that may be rising up in them, for You to strike down the barriers that are hindering these dads from seeing their children.


Lord, we lift up the dads right now that are not stepping up to the plate as fathers, for whatever reason. we pray for their children and the moms who are parenting alone because of these men’s decisions. We pray You would step in as a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows in these situations, that their story would be another testimony that nothing is too hard for You.”


AMEN

Happy Fathers’ Day!

Interested in improving your family’s dynamics? Contact me – Ms. Parent Guru to receive information about my inspiring parenting programs and workshops 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

June 17, 2021 at 12:10 pm Leave a comment

It Is Okay to Feel What You’re Feeling

We’ve been quarantined for 7 weeks now. It’s okay to express what you’re feeling.

Continue Reading May 1, 2020 at 12:25 pm Leave a comment

Money Management Advice for Parents

Today’s guest blog is written by Sara Bailey.

As a parent, knowing how to manage your money is essential to creating a solid financial future for your children. It will also help alleviate some of the financial stress that can rub off on your children. Money management requires some key financial planning moves that will ensure that you not only set goals but accomplish them as well.

You Need to Have the Talk

If you and your partner haven’t had a serious talk about money before, then it’s definitely time. According to OppLoans, in order to have meaningful communication about finances, partners need to be open and honest about their financial circumstances. It’s suggested that you get comfortable with discussing general terms before jumping into the actual figures or creating a budget. You’ll want to avoid making it personal but focus on setting goals that you can accomplish together. It might be helpful if you think about some ways that you can start saving money as a family and bring that to the table as well. These money-saving activities may include preparing meals to avoid overspending at the grocery store, using coupons or cutting back on the money spent on your children’s clothes.

Craft a Finely Tuned Budget

The Balance gives a good overview of the things parents need to consider when designing a budget. To start with, you’ll need to determine the family’s income and track your monthly expenses. It’s also important that you devise a plan to manage your debt and increase your savings. You should make sure that you’re filing taxes correctly as this could decrease the tax obligations and free up money for your savings. When designing and maintaining your budget, don’t be afraid to make technology your friend. There are a variety of apps available that can help you track your spending, pay your bills and help you reach your savings goals. Once you’ve saved enough, you can start putting money away for your children’s college tuition or a down payment on a home. It is possible to purchase a home with a minimal down payment, but you will have to pay extra for mortgage insurance. 

Start Your Estate Planning

Depending on where you are in life, it may seem odd to start thinking about what should be taken care of in case of your passing. It’s important to remember, though, that things don’t always go according to our timelines. When dealing with estate planning, you’ll need to consult an attorney to develop documents that will dictate who will make medical decisions for you in case you’re incapacitated and who will be your child’s guardian if they are underage when you pass away. You should also create a will and ensure that your beneficiary information for all policies and accounts are up-to-date.

Another key aspect of estate planning is putting life insurance policies in place, which will protect your family financially if something were to happen to you. The right term length of your policy depends on your age and how many people are in your household. You can use an online calculator to determine how much coverage you need and how the cost can fit into your budget.

Maximize Your Benefits

If you work for a company that offers great benefits like childcare facilities and extended parental leave, then great! Even so, you should research other programs that you might be eligible for as a parent. Some of these government programs include Head Start and Early Start programs that are focused on the school readiness of children from birth to age five, as well as the childcare and development fund that provides assistance when parents need to find childcare services in order to go to work or attend school. You should also look into the Child Tax Credit or Child and Dependent Care Credit that would enable you to save on your taxes.

Parenthood can be a bit of a challenge on your finances. However, it’s something you can handle when you take all the steps necessary to have things under control. Start discussing finances with your spouse, then begin to take measures to cut costs and save for what matters most. Follow Sara Bailey at: thewidow.net

Photo courtesy of Pexels

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

Family Dynamics Strategist, Author & Speaker

www.clynnwilliams.com

February 21, 2020 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Your No-Stress Guide to the Perfect Family Getaway

Unsplash.com

 

Guest blog by Leslie Campos

Becoming a parent might mean that your days of traveling on a whim with nothing but a backpack are behind you, but it doesn’t have to mean staying put at home, either. Traveling with young children will require some extra planning and preparation. But with strategic budgeting and the right attitude, you can avoid common travel pitfalls. 

Want to save money and avoid stressing on your next family vacation? These tips will help you cut costs and enjoy your time off with your little ones. 

 

Travel With Relatives

If you’re planning to hit the road during the holiday season or over the summer, when most people have time off, reach out to relatives or friends with children and see if they would be interested in joining you. Yes, traveling with another family can present challenges, like figuring out finances, coordinating schedules, and making sure the kids get along, but there are also plenty of perks. 

 

With more adults around, parents can swap nights of staying in and babysitting the kids so that the other couple can have a romantic evening out. If you choose to rent a home or a large, multi-room hotel suite, you can save money by splitting the costs. Plus, the kids are less likely to get bored and antsy when they have cousins to hang out with. 

 

Plan to Pump on the Go

When your child is still breastfeeding, you might feel nervous about going on vacation. It’s perfectly normal to have concerns about pumping, breastfeeding in public, or properly storing breast milk while you’re en route to your destination. Having the right supplies can help—for instance, The Bump recommends packing a cooler bag, a leak-resistant bra, and a nursing poncho. 

 

If you’re flying, check out the TSA guidelines for transporting breast milk and other necessities for your baby before you take off. According to Kindred Bravely, women who are breastfeeding and need to store the bottles while traveling should be aware that breastmilk will technically last for about four to five days if refrigerated. However, it’s best for your baby to consume it within 72 hours. To keep the bottles as cold as possible, place them in the back of the fridge once you get to your accommodations. 

 

Baby Wearing

Lugging a stroller around on vacation can be cumbersome, especially if you know that you’ll be flying or taking busses to get around. Instead, try babywearing! Since you’re in an unfamiliar place where your child will inevitably be exposed to extra stimulation, being physically closer to you will be soothing for your baby, especially if they are feeling a little fussy. 

There are plenty of options for baby carriers and wraps. If you’re traveling with a newborn, Lamaze Internationalrecommends a ring sling to make nursing easier. Extended babywearing can be uncomfortable for your child’s hips, so it’s important to give them a break every hour or so. Your back and shoulders will thank you! 

 

Early Bedtimes

Every parent knows that kids will be more prone to tantrums if they stay up past their bedtime. On vacation, your kids will probably be tempted to try bending the rules around bedtime, but letting them do so can lead to meltdowns. Treat your kids by letting them stay up a little later than usual, but make it clear that they will still have to stick with a relatively early bedtime. 

Waking up and going to bed earlier means that your family can enjoy the popular attractions in the morning when crowds are thin. Bonus: If you make early dinner reservations, you may be able to take advantage of “Kids Eat Free” deals, which will help you cut down on your overall spending. 

The costs and effort involved in booking a family vacation can dissuade some parents from hitting the road with their kids. But finding great deals, linking up with relatives, and packing all the gear your family needs can help you have a successful, stress-free trip.

Wishing you and your family a happy new year!

Click Here to become a part of my parenting community.

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

Family Dynamics Strategist, Author & Speaker

www.clynnwilliams.com

December 31, 2019 at 5:05 pm

Co-Parenting Tips For The Holidays

CoParenting Tips

Great article by Kelly Frawley and Emily Pollock
Having survived divorce and coparenting, I appreciate the pointers that are listed here for parents who are divorced and share custody.

“The most wonderful time of the year” has the potential to become not so wonderful when parents who share custody of their children don’t have a mutually agreeable holiday plan in place. This isn’t the time for arguments over who’s getting which day or who’s buying what gift; a carefully thought-out plan can help you avoid tension and uncertainty so that all of you — most importantly, your kids — can enjoy a drama-free winter break.

When deciding how to schedule time and collaborate during the holidays, co-parents should take a number of factors into account: the children’s ages, family traditions and religious beliefs, how well the parents get along, and the kind of relationships the parents have with each of the children (it’s important to respect the traditions that are important to each of them). You might also want to factor in what happens during other school breaks during the year. For example, if one parent traditionally takes the kids on a vacation during spring break, then perhaps the other should get the bulk of winter break.

Looking at the big picture can help you see the logical plan for your family.

Setting a Sensible Schedule

Co-parents typically choose to manage the holiday season one of two ways:

1. Alternating years. One parent keeps the children for the entire winter break in odd-numbered years; the other parent gets them for the entire break in even-numbered years. This approach enables each parent, in their designated years, to plan a lengthy trip or schedule activities throughout the break period without needing to worry about giving the other parent equal time. It tends to work best when neither parent has a strong affinity for the season. Perhaps their religious traditions are celebrated at other times of year; a family may have already celebrated Hanukkah, for example, which often falls before winter break.

The downside of this type of arrangement is that one parent is deprived of holiday time with the children during the parent’s “off” years. This causes many co-parents, especially those who place a high value on holiday traditions, to take a different approach.

2. Equal time. Often, co-parents divide winter break in half, which typically gives each of them a week to celebrate the holidays or take a trip with their kids. They may alternate years when considering who takes the first week versus the second, since Christmas usually falls in the first. Parents may also choose to split the time by day, particularly when it comes to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. By each taking one of these important days, both parents, as well as the children, get meaningful Christmas time together each year.

In situations where co-parents get along, a third possibility arises: giving the children time with both parents together. For example, children who believe in Santa and cherish Christmas mornings might appreciate having both parents present in those festivities. In fact, children of any age might appreciate a visit by their other parent, as long as the experience remains amicable.

Buying Gifts: Together or Separately?

If your winter break includes a gift-giving occasion, it makes good sense to collaborate with your ex-spouse so you don’t duplicate gifts for your children or inadvertently neglect to buy the gifts they wanted most because you assumed the other parent was buying them. In a Santa situation, discuss who is responsible for that experience. Will it change year to year based on who has the kids on Christmas, or will you work together?

The more collaborative you can be, the better. However, if you absolutely cannot work with your ex-spouse, then it’s important to work through counsel to determine who will be responsible for what so you don’t put your children through undue awkwardness or stress.

You may also want to consider taking your children shopping so they can buy a holiday gift for the other parent. It teaches children not only about giving, but shows that you encourage kindness towards your ex-spouse.

Making the Plan Official (more…)

December 18, 2019 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment

Hey Parents What Are You Wearing?

When I was growing up, there were certain things that I could wear while playing outside (like shorts) that I couldn’t wear off the block. My mom and dad were really particular about how we looked and the impressions we would make on other people.

Not only was my mother specific about what we wore or didn’t wear, she and dad had a specific way they dressed as well. One of the family rules was no rollers out of the house. which simply meant that your hair was combed and you had on appropriate clothes and shoes. My father was formal (old school) and wore a shirt, usually a tie and pants. Depending on where he was going, he had on a brim. The only time he had on house slippers was in the house.

Image result for older black man with brim

There was no way my mother would’ve come out of the house with her house slippers or anything that looked like pajamas either. As she put it, she would never want to embarrass her family’s name or ours.

Fast forward to today’s times where some parents show up to their child’s school dressed really bad! So I wasn’t surprised to read the article yesterday where the Houston principal, Carlotta Brown gave her parents a dress code when coming to school. She was tired of them showing up inappropriately dressed and setting bad examples for her students.

To all of the haters who disagreed with the principal’s rules, saying that it was discrimination against those parents who had low income. I disagree! Have one dress or shirt (blouse) and pair of pants that looks respectable. And wear that – even if you wear the same outfit every time you attend a school event.

It’s really about the kids and the role that you play in your child’s life. It is completely inappropriate to wear see-through clothing around adolescents – your child’s or someone else‘s. Talk about early sex education! “Hey John, I could see through your Mom’s blouse! She’s hot!” How embarrassing is that? Also leave the hair bonnets at home too. They are just to protect the hair while you sleep.

I know you believe that as an adult you can do whatever you want. 

You can! 

Just remember that everything you do reflects back on your children and sets an example (for the rest of their lives) whether you like it or not.

Just my two cents worth.

Learn 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 be a part of my parenting community.

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

Family Dynamics Strategist, Author & Speaker

www.clynnwilliams.com

May 2, 2019 at 3:03 pm 5 comments

How the Sins of Our Mothers Scar Us

My sister and I always felt that our mom favored our brother Tony. Her heart seemed to be softer on his behalf. Don’t get me wrong, Tony got into trouble and was punished too, but not as much once my parents split up. What I now know, is that Mom was compensating for my dad being absent in his life. She did the best she knew how.

Since I was in college during my sister and brother’s high years; years AD (after divorce), I didn’t see much preferential treatment bestowed on Tony.

Mom could do a lot of things really well! When it came to organization and getting things done, my mom was AWESOME! I learned how to speak up for and take care of myself because of my mother. Showing emotions, wasn’t her strength. She was unable to teach me how to love and nurture myself or anyone else. So in high school and college, I was pretty detached in my relationships. I kept to myself and only opened up to my closest friends.

Once I became a mom and started seeking my mother’s advice, I asked her why she seldom said she loved us or hugged. Her words were “My mom didn’t treat us that way.”

Here’s the deal: families live and die emotionally through experiences with the moms in their lives. If your mom did not receive praise and lots of ‘I love yous’ ❤️ as a child, then they either feel that it was unwarranted (when they raise children) or they are emotionally unable to share those kinds of feelings.

It is definitely possible that mothers will give lots of love and praise when they have their own children even if they didn’t receive it as a child. I have many friends who are wonderful moms, and when asked about their childhood, they say they didn’t get along with their mom. When pressed to explain further, they say they wanted a different experience for their own children. ❤️

When mothers are harsh and don’t exhibit warmth and love to their son or daughter, that child grows up similar to a sociopath who acts without feelings or conscious.

How do we change that behavior?

One child at a time…

Yes I know you are busy working and raising a family…

Yes, I know you never had a relationship with your mom or dad and don’t know how to talk (civilly) or show love…

Yes, it’s hard…

But not impossible…

Start by taking baby steps.

  • “Good morning, I love you.”
  • “Good night I love you.”
  • “Have a good day at school.” (Hug your son or daughter)
  • “You mean everything to me.”

These statements go a long way toward building a better relationship.

That’s nice. ❤️

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

Family Dynamics Strategist, Author & Speaker

www.clynnwilliams.com

March 28, 2019 at 5:33 pm Leave a comment

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