Saturday, April 23, 2011

How Teens are Influenced by Celebrities

Teens tend to turn to the most popular celebrities for guidance in their day-to-day lives. Because celebrities are not only envied by our society but their images are splashed across magazines, social media, television, and movies, it is natural for teens to use them as role models. While some celebrities are a positive influence on teens, others are viewed as a negative influence.

Perhaps the most obvious ways in which celebrities influence teen are:
Physical appearance— too skinny with fake body parts?
Clothing style and brand endorsement—to revealing?
Behaviour misconduct—drinking and driving?
Low self-esteem and disturbed body image—how to live up to the ideal body image?
Modeling of drinking and drug use—in movies and in real life?

Family Intervention

With such a heavy and widespread sway on teens, what can you as a parent do to counteract the influence celebrities have over teens?

While you cannot completely control what your teens are exposed to, you can control what you teach them at home. Do not underestimate the power and influence you have on your children.

1. Family Values: Do you discuss your family values with your kids? When you teach teens what is important, their behaviour is less likely to be influenced by others’ values and more likely to be influenced by your own. Speak about the family values as you have day-to-day discussions.

2. Family time: Do you schedule regular family mealtimes, hangout times, or movie times? Hanging out with your teens allows them to bond with you, to respect you, and to listen to you more. The more time parents spend with teens the less likely they are to be involved in crime, develop an eating disorder, or to be influenced by others.

3. Family Communication: Do you communicate? Do you speak to your kids about how people in general are influenced by the media? It also helps to, non-judgmentally, point out how celebrities’ actions or behaviours are impacting their own lives. The more you talk about what they see on TV, the more they will be aware how their behaviour is shaped by celebrity influence.

4. Set an Example: Do you set the example you want your kids to follow. Do your teens see you being influenced by the media? Are you behaving the way you want your kids to behave? Setting an example is more influential than asking your kids to do what you are not willing to do.

5. Role Model: Do you model healthy self-esteem and self-acceptance to you children? Do your teens see you worrying about your own weight, body image, or ability to succeed? How you feel about yourself will influence how your teens feel about themselves. Be sure to pay attention to your own behavioural patterns as you will see the same patterns in your children.

6. It’s Up To You: Don’t leave the parenting duties to the school, church, or community. It is up to you to instil good values in your children and to mould your children into the people you want them to become.

The biggest challenge to parenting is that parents don’t really know how well they are doing and won’t find out till years down the road. As a parent, you job is to be persistent in raising your kids according to your values, by setting a good example, being a good role model, and communicating with your kids regularly. Parents you are not powerless. Your good example, family communication, and your family values will plant seeds of success in your teens.

Worried your teen is negatively affected by celebrity role models? Contact Teen Life Coach in Toronto, Ivana Pejakovic, and find out what you can do to positively influence your teens.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Parental Involvement: Pay Attention To Your Teens Homework and School Performance

Ivana Pejakovic, B.Sc., MA

By the time kids enter their adolescent year’s parents expect their children to keep track of school work. While it is right to encourage independence by handing the responsibility over to your children, parents at times may feel their parenting work is done with respect to school work.

During the teen years, kids are still developing mentally and need assistance from parents. They are developing the self-control and positive work habits necessary to succeed in school and in life. As they get older, parents can hand more and more of the responsibility to their teens, however, parental monitoring and supervision is required to ensure the work is getting done and that there are no concerns with progress. The trick is to stay involved while nurturing their independence.

By keeping track of your teen’s school work, you are not only showing an interest in the school work itself, but also in your child. School is an important and a major part of children’s lives. This is the place where they will develop life skills, such as communication skills, social skills, work ethic, etc. Your attention will vastly improve your child’s school performance and your interest and guidance will have an enormous impact on your child’s attitude towards him/herself and his/her schoolwork, ability to perform, self-esteem, confidence, success and independence.

Your attention is their reward.

Tips To Help You Stay Involved With Your Child’s School Work

Find Out The Deadlines: What are the deadlines for projects, exams, assignments, and other important school work? Write them down in the family calendar. This will allow you to keep up with what is going on in your child’s school work and it will remind you to ask them about their progress.

Show Interest In The Content: By showing interest in the content you’ll encourage your teen to pay attention to what s/he is learning. You will model an attitude of interest to your teen.

Follow Up On Missed Work During Absences: From time to time your child will be absent from school. Follow up with your teen on the first day back to school to know what they have missed or if they need any help grasping the information since they missed out on the lesson. They will notice and appreciate the extra attention (even if they don’t show it or say they don’t want it).

Contact Teacher If Necessary: If you are feeling lost with respect to the school work, feel free to contact the teacher and get more information. You’ll be teaching your teen that it is right to ask for help if something is not understood.

Create Suitable Study Environment: A suitable studying environment will not only help your child eliminate distractions but will help him/her learn and retain the material. It will also help your child attain organizational skills, positive habits, and a good work ethic.

Interested in more information to increase your teen’s school performance? Contact Toronto Teen Life Coach and Mentor, Ivana Pejakovic, to learn what you can do to help your child succeed.