Teens and summer driving

When teens are out of school they spend more time behind the wheel. That’s why they’re at greater risk during summer break. What can you do to help protect them?  Start by reminding them of the rules for driving and riding in a car. Insist that they wear their seatbelt. Let them know that driving is a privilege. Make sure they understand the dangers of speeding, drinking or texting while driving. Encourage them to avoid getting distracted by friends in their car, not using their cell phone while driving, not eating or putting on makeup while driving, and listen to music at low levels.


Teens and drinking

You thought you had all the right conversations. You thought you were on top of things as a parent.  You thought you could trust your child.  Then it happens.  What do you do? First, don’t react in anger.  Second, when you’re calm, sit down with your teen and ask open-ended questions to determine why they were drinking.  Maybe it was curiosity, peer pressure, or a means of escape.  Third, talk about the consequences and your future expectations. Signing a teen driving contract (available on the web) is a great place to start. The goal is to discover where their heart really is and to show your teen what they need to do to earn your trust again.

Appreciating your teen

Do you acknowledge the times your teen takes out the trash or helps a sibling with homework? Or do you just let his efforts go unnoticed? Don’t miss those chances to let your teen know he’s appreciated and build a relationship with your teen. Your gratitude will not only give him a sense of significance, but will also help reinforce good behavior.  When you see your teen doing something right—whether it’s doing a chore with a good attitude or not arguing about curfew—let him know you value that. If you’re not sure what to say, a simple, “Thank you” or “I appreciate you” is a great place to start.

Summer – work or fun

Good advice for teens:

Teens and Summer: Work Time or Play Time?

by Laura Polk

Summer is finally here! The sun. The sand. The vacays we’ve all been waiting for. But in our house, while we like to take it easy and go lightly on the daily scheduling, it’s also a known fact with all of my kids that the year they turn 15 is the year they will begin working. I know, I’m a horrible mother. Or, so it would seem in this day and age.

But, because I worked as a teen and know the work ethic that arose from that experience, I want my kids to have the same. If for no other reason than I can then stop telling them about how I’ve worked since the age of 13, about that summer I weeded tobacco fields in North Carolina, and about the time I was a waitress and a woman tried to put her cigarette out on my hand. If they have their own life lessons, they are much more effective than mine. (In case you’re wondering, they are collectively rolling their eyes as I type this).

Allowing our teens another summer with nothing but sleeping in and hanging out isn’t doing them any real favors. But, getting a summer job will help tremendously with the following:

Communication Skills

It’s like, you know, not texting, lol. Success in real life demands communication skills. We all need to learn how to deal with others in public, how to communicate respectfully, and how to know when to speak out and when to hold our tongues. Summer jobs are a great way for teens to experience all of these work lessons without putting too much on the line. They are also a good life lesson for a generation that hasn’t had to use verbal communication as much as the rest of us, or even had to use basic writing skills. Watch them ROFL when you tell them it’s time to get to work.


Your teen will soon find that not every parent makes their child have a summer job. In fact, it seems that most don’t these days. So, you might get some push back as to the “fairness” of it all. But trust me, as soon as they receive that first paycheck, they’ll begin to understand the satisfaction of accomplishing something on their own. They’ll see that—for maybe the first time in their lives—their age doesn’t hold them back from accomplishing something great. The sacrifice they make will be worth the new sense of pride they gain.


With summer jobs fewer and farther between for teens, those who have been encouraged to work will likely have to make a serious effort to find something. Which means those kids will begin to stand out from their peers when it comes time to apply for college, technical school, or full-time jobs. And for many of our kids, as the age for many part-time jobs has risen to 18, younger teens will have to get creative or hit the bricks in ways they didn’t expect in order to find something. Learning to hone your skills and sell yourself as a good potential employee is a skill they’ll use for life.

Money Appreciation

Handing your teen gas money like it grows on trees makes them begin to believe that you are their go-to cash cow. And while it might be fine in the beginning, they will soon get use to whatever amount you are willing to give, expect that as “their” money, and likely push you for more. Nothing teaches the value of money like your teen working hard for an entire hour only to realize they’ve barely made a handful of dollars. Suddenly, the 20 dollars you hand them for gas will seem like the gift it actually is.

Okay I’m not totally heartless. I also believe that summer is about fun, and relaxation, and getting in some good old-fashioned downtime while we can. Because let’s face it; our teens will be out of our homes and into the working world soon enough. So do them a favor as they approach their mid-to-late teens and expect them to work. You’ll soon begin to see them edge toward adulthood in the best possible way.


Laura Polk is a writer, speaker, and textile designer residing in North Carolina with her three children. Since becoming a single mom, her passion to minister to this group has led her to encourage successful single mom living through The Christian Single Mom on Facebook. Follow her journey through her blog or get a glimpse into her quirky thoughts and inspirations for design and writing on Pinterest.

Publication date: June 21, 2016

Summer can be a dangerous time for teens

When teens are out of school they spend more time behind the wheel. That’s why they’re at greater risk during summer break. What can you do to help protect them? Insist that they wear their seatbelt. Let them know that driving is a privilege. Make sure they understand the dangers of speeding and drinking while driving. Remind them to avoid getting distracted by: friends in their car, cell phones, eating or putting on make-up.

Talking about sex

What is the biggest influence on your teenager’s attitude about sex? You are. According to a report from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, teens say that parents most influence their decisions about sex, but parents of teens underestimate their influence in this area. 47% of teens indicate that their parents influence their decision about sex – more than friends (18%), religious leaders (7%), siblings (5%), teachers and sex educators (4%) or the media (3%) – and those findings have remained constant in similar surveys over the years.

The key is to keep communicating your message. The sex discussion is not a one-time thing. It should be an ongoing dialog between you and your children. So keep talking. They’re listening.

Do you know what a “hookah” is?

One in 5 high-school seniors in U.S. use hookahs (need to know what it is? Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hookah)
In a study involving more than 5,500 high-school seniors, researchers found that 18% reported using hookahs in the past year. Hookah smoking rates were higher among students who are white, male and come from families of higher socioeconomic status. Study authors said part of the reason for the use may be a misperception that hookah use is less addictive and harmful than cigarettes. The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics. USA Today (7/7), DailyRx.com (7/6)

It is very likely that your kids know about these (even if you don’t). Strike up a conversation and see where it goes…