Posts filed under ‘son’

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.

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C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

Parent Coach, Author & Speaker

www.clynnwilliams.com

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

Why Dads Have to Add Their Two Cents

When I think back to my childhood, I don’t remember my father voicing his opinions often. So when he did, it was crystal clear and quite memorable. As I got older, I realized how important his opinions were in relationship to my career decisions and the men that I dated or married. One thing about many dads is that they are quiet when it comes to the day-to-day workings of household activities and child-rearing. It may not be that way in your household, and many of the millennial fathers are very present in their opinions and in the raising of their children. I prefer that style of parenting because the energy that fathers offer is very different from the energy of mothers. Dads don’t freak out as easily as we moms do. This is quite helpful for your emotional child (tween or teen) who has daily fits of hysteria. 

The other things about fathers is that they use less words to get their point across. Less words gives your brain a chance to hear and process what was said. They also don’t repeat what they’ve said, so you have to listen and get it the first time (most dads anyway). I like that technique and share it in my Pampered Prince book to help mothers who are raising sons, communicate more effectively.

Yesterday I saw an article about a group of dads – Dads4Justice, who were pretty pissed off with how Kellogg’s was marketing their Coco Pops cereal. They considered the slogan sexist and protested to Kellogg’s. The slogan has since been changed. Click here to read the entire article. 

If you haven’t spoken to your dad in a while, give him a call. You may be surprised at what he might tell you.

Interested in learning more about your family’s dynamics? Contact meMs. 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

September 6, 2018 at 12:56 pm Leave a comment

How Do You Protect Your Gang Connected Kid?

I would talk to her, take her phone and try to keep her away from it, but it was hard,” said Brown, who believed her daughter was trying to protect herself from people who had targeted her. “You got to put up a tough front. I knew she was scared. She was scared all the time.” 

My heart goes out to this mom as she explains what she did to protect her daughter from gang members, yet in the end, her daughter was still targeted and killed.

I’m reading this article in the Chicago Tribune and thinking about the influence that social media plays in the lives of our kids. Cell phones were important when my children were tweens and teens, but I would confiscate my older child’s phone at night or let her minutes run out. If the minutes ran out before the month was over, her phone didn’t work. Unfortunately there are many cell phone packages and providers, so paying for minutes is no longer an issue.

Kids now take to their social media pages to rant and emote (about pretty much everything). There is no difference between kids who are in or connected to gang members and social media and those who aren’t except for the retaliative violence that they tell their followers they are planning. If I lose a friend or family member to gun violence, I go on Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat and talk about what I plan to do. It’s a form of empowerment that gives our children a feeling of control and power.

The question is, as a parent, how do you manage this type of child? How do you keep them safe and help them feel empowered to make a positive difference? Maybe you send them to live with your family members in other cities where they can go to school and grow into adults.

That could work if you have family members living somewhere else and your displaced kids stay off of social media. These are two big questions and I don’t have the answers. Let’s start a online dialogue and figure out how to save our children.

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

April 12, 2018 at 9:46 am 4 comments

How Well Are You Managing Your ADULT Pampered Prince?

I keep running into women who tell me these incredible stories about how their moms (and dads) are still taking care of their brothers. Mind you we aren’t talking about teen or college-aged sons, but sons in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Depending on the situation, taking care of your adult son, means you are paying his rent, car note, buying groceries, washing his laundry or he’s still living with you.

Portrait of a mother and her young adult/late teen son.

While there are cultures where the children stay home until they marry, the son or daughter is either in school or working. These are not the families I’m talking about. I’m referring to those households where no matter what the son has done, mom defends him. I experienced this while teaching at an all-male high school. If my student had cheated on a test or plagiarized a paper, his mom wanted to know what was I doing to cause her son to cheat or plagiarize. Crazy!

I’ve also been guilty of zealously taking my son’s side when I thought his father or stepdad was being too harsh with him. But here’s the thing I’ve learned: the more you defend your son to his father, stepdad, teacher, or whomever – the more your son feels that he can do whatever he wants without consequences. You see it in toddler boys. Often his behavior is considered cute even when he says “shut-up” or hits you back. It’s a different story when he tells you to shut up and he’s six or 16. Then it’s not cute. Hold him accountable when he’s a teen and doesn’t want to stay in school. It’s not okay to let him quit just because he can’t get along with his teacher or coach.

As a divorced mom, I thought I was raising my son properly. At the time, it was hard hearing any criticism of him. Not that I thought he was perfect, more that I felt it reflected badly on my parenting skills. In my The Pampered Prince: Moms Create a GREAT Relationship with Your Son book, I talk about how teaching at the all-male high school made me a better parent. I required my students to follow my class rules, complete their assignments on time and be respectful. When they didn’t, I had consequences for them. As I thought about it, I realized those same rules applied to my own son – my pampered prince. It was a great AHA moment for me! 

Today as I watch the news and hear from mothers who vigorously defend their son’s behavior, I think about the importance of holding those sons accountable at an early age. Saying “shut up” at two and three years old isn’t cute, it’s disrespectful. If you allow that behavior to continue, you’re creating a monster. Just like you teach your son to read, write and count. Teach him to be accountable for what he does, and to be respectful of others – those who look like him and those who don’t. If life brings him back home to live with you (as an adult), remember he is an adult and can take care of himself. Washing his clothes and cooking meals for him is not going to encourage him to move out of your house, or make him good material for marriage!

#StaySane

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 pick up a copy of this book. 

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

Family Dynamics Strategist, Author & Speaker

www.clynnwilliams.com

August 31, 2017 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment

PBS Documentary Looks at One Juvenile’s Life-Without-Parole Sentence

Imagine this happening to your fourteen or fifteen year old son.

PBS Documentary Looks at One Juvenile's Life-Without-Parole Sentence

 

PBS Documentary Looks at One Juvenile’s Life-Without-Parole Sentence.

August 5, 2014 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

MOTHERS Be Nice…

mother_son_girlfriendCompeting for your son’s attention? Stop! Find someone your own age to rely on and release him from your servitude! You have had your son all of his life, and it is time for him to spread his wings and fly away from your nest. He’s 18 now. You’ve taught him how to take care of himself (cook & clean his clothes and the house), as well as select, treat and respect nice women right? So be NICE to his girlfriend when he brings her to your house. Don’t try to find some reason NOT to like her. His choice of girlfriend may not be who you would have chosen for him. It’s OKAY! Will she be everything that you want for him? Maybe not…then again her parents may feel the same way about him. I am not telling you to keep quiet if you believe your son is dating a ‘black widow’ or something!

Speaking from experience as both a mother of sons, and a woman being brought home to meet “his parents” for the first time, mothers are some rough people to get to know. If your son’s girlfriend uses slang, she’s too common. If she uses an extensive vocabulary, you decide that she thinks she’s better than ‘us’. OMG! He will always be your Pampered Prince – your boy. The true conversation occurs if he asks your opinion of her. If not, don’t offer it.

It’s said that our sons choose women like us.  If you (and his dad) have raised him properly, he will make a great husband and father. You really do want someone to love him and take him off your hands…living with you into his forties is not the plan is it?

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru
Author & Parent Coach

Trying to Stay Sane While Raising Your Teen (St. Paul Press, 2010)
The Pampered Prince: Moms Create a GREAT Relationship with Your Son (St. Paul Press, 2012)
Raising Your Daughter Through the Joys, Tears & HORMONES! (220 Communications, 2013)

February 17, 2014 at 5:22 pm Leave a comment

Just Let Go

Eagle and her babies

Eagle and her babies

Ever had a problem that you could not resolve? Sometimes that’s what parenting is to me, a series of problems (challenges) that seem momentarily unresolvable. The kid that was never a problem growing up, is suddenly a thorn in your side when they move into their 20s. You think, by the time they reach their twenties, you have completed your job as a parent. However, many of our adult children come back home and then what? Or maybe you had high hopes for that child that you waited years for, and once they came into your life, they never have the aspirations to stand on their own and make a living. In fact they are still ‘living’ with you. What do you do?

As mothers, I think it’s doubly hard to push our eaglets out of the nest. I know birds do it all the time, but human mothers are different from animals because we have reasoning abilities. We say to ourselves, ‘well they’re (our children) having a hard time finding a job’ or ‘he’s running with the wrong crowd’ or ‘if I were a better parent, she would be doing ______’ or ‘if I don’t help them, who will?’

We make lots of excuses to ourselves and others when our kids (young or old) have not succeeded the way we would like. It’s probably one of the most painful lessons a mother or father face (in their parenting career). Today let’s use a phrase I learned years ago called “Let Go and Let God”. Unless your child is disabled (mentally or physically), let’s gently push them out of our nest. Encourage them to take that next step, stop making excuses for them, and stop doing things that cripple them. I know it seems scary, but isn’t our job to help them grow into adults that can take care of themselves?  #Parenting101

 

(more…)

February 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm Leave a comment

Want Your Son to Talk to You?

Not CommunicatingEver felt like if you yelled a little louder, he (your son) would get it? Well he doesn’t get it, he actually retreats from you into a place where you can’t reach him.

Trust me, I know about these things, I’m a mother of two male adult children. Make it easy to talk to you – pass no judgments, no I told you so, no condescending remarks like “You’re just like your no-good father!” Just listen and let him talk. You will be surprised at what your son will say, once he starts talking.

Here is a link to my video on YouTube about communicating with your son: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m21r1QzYkY

C. Lynn Williams
#MsParentguru
Author & Parenting Coach

www.clynnwilliams.com

June 5, 2013 at 2:23 am Leave a comment

Mothers – What’s Happening to Our Sons?

It’s been little more than a month since the Newtown shootings, and as a mother, I am still at a complete loss for how a son could kill his mother. I have two sons, my own and one I lovingly inherited when I married his father. I love them both and while I have had difficult conversations and tense moments with both sons, never in my wildest nightmares, would I imagine dying by their hand.

While we will never hear Nancy Lanza’s story about her relationship with her son Adam (the shooter), I came across an article where she cautioned one of her son’s babysitters to never turn his back on her son. Can you imagine living with a person and not being able to turn your back on him? http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57559502/ex-babysitter-says-newtown-conn-school-shooter-adam-lanzas-mother-warned-dont-turn-your-back/
When we raise our sons, we pour so much love, attention, (hopefully) discipline, values and the kitchen sink into our boys, and yet many of them end up being killed, killing others, or going to prison. Mothers, where are we failing and why?

I also came across another article, where another mother lost her only son to gun violence and he was a good kid! We always think our sons are good kids! But this teen did what he was told; went to school every day (one of my requirements); obeyed his mother; and yet was randomly shot in the back after leaving a basketball game. http://my.chicagotribune.com/#section/544/article/p2p-74054502/

I’d like my sons to grow into wonderful men with families and great careers, like my dad and granddad. Is that too much to ask these days?

C. Lynn Williams
Author and Parenting Coach
#msparentguru

Trying to Stay Sane While Raising Your Teen (St. Paul Press, 2010)
The Pampered Prince: Moms Create a GREAT Relationship with Your Son (St. Paul Press, 2012)

January 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

Your Son’s Role Model?

I keep trying to understand the male culture of taking one’s enemies out. As a woman, it is not an easily understood phenomenon. In my neighborhood, African American men and boys resolve their differences by shooting each other. Lots of males are dying these days. This kind of ethnic cleansing happens in Hispanic neighborhoods as well. Males in mainstream America also shoot, often harming or killing everyone in the general vicinity.

Very little discussion takes place because our society doesn’t seem to remember a time when we resolved our differences by talking things out. Tolerance is not a skill that seems to be taught or valued anymore. In the political arena, instead of working together, candidates annihilate each other with lies and insinuations, basically killing the accused candidate’s chances of winning anything. In corporate America, money and power rule to such an extent, that discussion and the possibility of working things out, very seldom occurs, unless a watchdog agency intervenes.

How do we teach our sons a better way to grow up in a society that does not value love, respect, honor and truth? What happened to the dads of yesteryear?  My dad is one of those “yesteryear” dads. He was Dr. Huxtable from The Cosby Show, Steve Douglas on My Three Sons (dating myself here), or the Mr. Eddie’s father on the Courtship of Eddie’s Father. I am talking about a dad that spends time with his family and talks to and with his son(s).  How else can boys grow into men without that kind of guidance?

I wonder if the Colorado shooter had had positive, quality time with his father during his formative years, if he would have been inclined to randomly shoot and kill people in a movie theatre. Don’t get me wrong, women own a piece of this parenting debacle too. Our boys can’t grow up like wild, uncontrollable plants without our assistance or good parenting. However, in the end they (our sons) are looking for a male role model; any old role model will do. If the only available role model is a drug dealer, that is who our sons will follow. If the role model is a caring, tolerant, man of faith – that’s who are son will follow instead.

Who is your son’s role model?

C. Lynn

November 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm 1 comment

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