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Archive for the ‘Teens’ Category

Talking to Teens

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On September 30, 2011 No Comments

Raising a child doesn’t come with a book of instructions.  If it did, the task would be much easier.  Facing the teenage years with your son or daughter is not something most parents look forward to.  This article will help you take the experience one day at a time and learn how to bridge the communication gap.

 teens sept 2011

As your child goes from toddler to youngster to tween to teenager, something in what you say gets lost in translation.  They can give you that blank stare as if the words that are coming out of your mouth sound like the unseen teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons. 

It’s not easy to improve the communication bridges with a teen but it’s important to try to get through as these years and the choices they make now will have a vital impact on their future.

 Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Watch your body language.  How you move says a lot about you.  When a person is tired, they tend to slump.  When angered, your jaw muscles tighten and your eyes narrow into slits.  Believe it or not, teenagers are good at interpreting body language.  Yours will betray you when you are talking to them.  Keep it open and honest.  Avoid sitting with your arms crossed, eyes looking away from them or squirming in your seat. 

2. Make eye contact.  When you don’t look at the person you are talking to it says that you are either hiding something or you are not at all interested in what they have to say.  Your teenager will shut down emotionally when they suspect that you are not “tuned in” to them.  Sit comfortably and give your teen undivided attention with consistent eye contact.  It lets them know that you care.

3. Keep your emotions in check.  Remember back to when you were a teenager.  Some of the things you said to your parents were aimed at freaking them out.  Teenagers will push your buttons if they can.  Don’t go overboard and get upset.  Their target is the situations they know make you mad.  Instead, take a deep breath and ignore the taunt.  Do the opposite of what they expect because really, they want you to see through their ploy and find out the real problem.

4. Ask them about their day.  This technique works with spouses also.  Even if your teen only grunts or says the obligatory, “It was okay,” ask anyway.  Your show of caring will go a long way to convince them that you are interested in the things that they do and how they feel.

5. Be honest with them.  If you don’t understand the situation they are talking about then say so.  Kids know when you are being insincere.  Discuss the situation until you get an idea of where they are coming from.  Your teen won’t mind explaining as long as they know you are listening.

6. Allow them their privacy.  This one is tricky and since you know your child better than anyone else, you can draw the line.  Teens value their time alone.  While the policy in your home may be that there are no locks on the doors, always show respect by knocking before entering.  If they don’t want to be pressed about a situation in school, wait until they are ready (if it’s not urgent) and then talk about it.

Parenting a teenager takes a tough skin, a willingness to be vulnerable and lots of love.  You will make mistakes but whatever you do, don’t ever stop talking.

Frugally yours, Mary

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Teens and Money

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On June 17, 2011 No Comments

Teens: How to Start Managing Your Finances
As a teenager you start developing your own independence and preparing for your future. An important part of preparing for that future means understanding your finances. While you may not think your financial future is relevant now, preparing ahead of time ensures that you will have a better handle on financial expectations.

The best time to start planning is when you start your first job or start to earn extra money that can be put away. As a teenager, you can begin working in the retail sector at the age of sixteen. Other possible jobs for teens include housekeeping, babysitting, camp counselors and various online positions such as tutoring or writing. Remember to balance out school and work; although work pays now, school prepares you for a better financial future.

In the beginning, it is hard not to take your hard-earned money and spend it all. However, as the paychecks come in, it is a wise idea to start a savings account. Putting aside even $20 a week will add up quickly and will be a great resource while in college. Another route is to invest in interest bearing accounts. Once you save up, you can invest your savings into a certificate of deposit or start a money market account. Both of these accounts will earn you compound interest on your savings, increasing the amount of money you can earn.

When you turn eighteen, opening a small secured credit card will teach you good credit habits. You will invest your own money into the credit card and will learn how to make budgeted payments. In turn, you will also learn about interest rates and how to avoid paying too much interest. Every young adult should be taught about credit and how it can be detrimental as well as helpful. Good credit habits will lead to a successful financial future without high amounts of debt.

Credit can prove to be a necessity, but make sure you do not get in over your head. It can be tempting to shop now and pay later, but you have to make sure you are able to afford to pay the subsequent bills and the interest that is charged. It is better to stick to cash and know that you will not receive any bills you cannot pay in the future.

Working for your own money is a very powerful feeling and you feel the ties of dependence loosen. Keep in mind that developing good financial habits is an ongoing life lesson. You will learn to budget for all occasions and how to balance credit accounts. If you never take on more than you can afford, you will be on your way to a successful financial future.

Frugally yours, Mary

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