How to Recession Proof Your Kid Or Teen - Even If You're Bottom-of-the-Barrel Broke

With the state of today's economy, you are not alone if you are looking at your finances with dread. As many of us are concerned with our living expenses, where to cut back becomes a daily concern...

Should we buy cheaper or fewer groceries, school clothes, or cut back on the extracurricular activities our kids really wanted to do? Maybe fewer trips to Grandma's house? You know what I mean, and that's not to mention the many of us who are trying to pair down already paired down budgets.

While some of us are grappling with just getting by, saving for our kid's future seems close to impossible. So how in the world can we increase the odds of being able to offer our kids both a comfortable lifestyle and half way decent savings built up for when they leave home? Experts recommend investing in 529 College savings plans, bonds, and equities. Definitely good advice, but there is an often-overlooked way to help recession proof your kid.
Help them to start their own business.

I know that it might seem unrealistic to you at first, but I've said it before and I'll say it again, working from home is not just for stay at home parents, telecommuting professionals, or internet gurus anymore! Consider Alexa Kitchen of Massachusetts who was already on the road to success as a cartoonist by the time she was 5, or Alexandra McDaniel who started Kids Roar a year ago at age 8 (already gaining attention from the media).

More examples of successful businesses founded by kids and teens include Jason O'Neil and his pencil bugs, Anshul Samar and his innovative Elementeo chemistry game, and we can't leave out Farrah Gray and Ashley Qualls who were self-made millionaires by the ages of 14 and 17...There are so many I could go on and on.

As you can see from these examples, it is completely doable... Kids can indeed create a home business and it is being done over and over again by kids of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. The biggest difference between these kids and a kid who has yet to start a business is that these kids took a chance on their ideas, took action, and never looked back.

Your kid or teen could be next...In fact, there is a good chance that they have already shown you their entrepreneur spirit by asking you to help him or her start a club, drink stand, or some other means by which they could earn extra money.
Don't ignore it!

Even if your finances are a mess...You can still help increase the odds of your kid or teen having a secure future. In the event they do not make oodles of money, they will still have acquired some business building knowledge and a better understanding of things like problem solving, math, writing and communication skills.

Another side effect of the business-building process is a deeper internalization of his or her sense of responsibility, perseverance, confidence, and a good work ethic...Not bad at all since many experts agree that these are necessary traits to truly be successful in life. Furthermore, you can use the act of helping your kid or teen to build a home business as a way to keep the lines of communication open, enabling you to maintain a strong bond of trust and mutual respect between you.

So if things are looking ominous, and you could use an alternative method of recession proofing and increasing your kid or teen's odds of a having a secure future in today's economy, helping him or her to start a business makes perfect sense.

Five Areas Where Your Kids Could Use Some Home-Schooling

The American education system frequently gets criticized for being inadequate. But debates on how and where we should fix it go on and on, without visible improvements being made. Each administration tries their hand at fixing it; maybe they'll get that part right some day. In the mean time, you can help supplement your kid's public school education in key areas where the system leaves them lacking.

1. Computing - This is the gravest shortcoming of public schools. In reality, even though they have had computers for some time, public schools do not teach computers - they teach typing, using a computer instead of a typewriter! Help your kids by having computers and Internet at home, and encouraging them to explore on their own. Remember, they'll have to deal with these machines their whole lives, and almost certainly in every job they work at.

2. Math - You probably saw this coming! American public schools just seem to drop math half-way through, never getting to the interesting parts. Math classes revolve around rote calculation, doing pages and pages of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division - and nothing else! Even into senior high school, they barely get introduced to the higher math subjects before getting thrown into the world of college. You'll at least need to bring up basic algebra and calculus concepts. Take an opportunity to find the fun in math wherever you can - for instance, nature's beauty can lead to a love of fractals, and origami is a good way to learn some geometry.

3. History - This is a shocking deficit! Quiz your middle-schooler and you'll be appalled to discover that they have no idea who famous people are or what landmark events are about! American schools seem to have abandoned history as a concept, period. In its place are fuzzier subjects like "world studies." Take the time to explain historical references wherever they pop up, because if you aren't doing it, no one will.

4. Practical science - American schools are great for teaching you the typical broad encyclopedia subjects in science like biology and astronomy. But for some reason, kids always seem to miss out on day-to-day science applications, such as why your car has a hard time starting in sub-zero weather or why it's a bad idea to mix bleach and ammonia in an enclosed space. You'd be amazed at how many people reach adulthood without ever having found out that one bit of information that would have saved them trouble...

5. Life skills - American schools used to teach things like "home ec" and "consumer science," but now the education budgets just don't seem to allow for it. So it falls to you to prepare your teen for adult life. Teach them how to manage a bank account, pay bills, figure price-per-ounce at the grocery store, stay safe in a risky neighborhood, cook for themselves, and other sorts of mundane details. Probably the best way to handle this is to take them with you when you run errands.

Sarcasm and Teenagers: A Guide for Parents and Teens Communication

It's a real milestone when our children get to the age that they can make us laugh by what they say on purpose! Often with smaller children we laugh at what they say by accident, and they are pleased but uncertain about what was funny and why. As children get to older elementary school they learn skills and life lessons that they turn into humor.

Often older kids and teens emulate adults and use sarcasm to make a joke, or make a point. This is a valuable skill and shouldn't be squashed. Neither should we let it run rampant over conversations and people!

It's important to show a teen that you value his humor and intelligence but want him to learn when this is and is not appropriate to use. Many 'tweens and teens try out sarcasm and some have a real flair for it! Also, it may be part of acceptable joking around behavior in your family.

Like any edgy conversation (teasing, joking, even swearing), teens need to learn when and when NOT to engage. He may use sarcasm really successfully with friends and to good effect, but needs to know to leave it in the hallway at school or he could have some big trouble.

With any teenage behavior change, it works better to be very clear about the goal. First talk to your partner. Is it OK with both of you that he practices sarcasm at home sometimes? Hash this out just grownups first. You may decide he is not mature enough yet to use this only on the "right" occasions so you want him to stop (in your hearing) all the time. Remember that he is unlikely to stop entirely. You will teach him important life lessons if you choose to guide him about when to use this, instead of forbidding the behavior entirely.

Now sit with him for a few minutes (and your co-parent if possible) and tell him that you really appreciate his humor and smarts but need to teach him the skill of when it is and isn't ok to use sarcasm when speaking to an adult. Decide (with your teen's help) on a nonverbal cue that you can use if he is being smart-alecky instead of smart, like a hand on his arm or (if he isn't a toucher right now) grabbing your own ear lobe for a minute. Then he has the opportunity for a conversational do-over, meaning he can express the same idea but more respectfully. If he can start again without the edge in his words or voice, you'll continue the conversation as if nothing happened.

When you are talking to him about this, be clear with him what the consequence will be if he does not take the do-over chance but continues to be disrespectful. You may automatically deny his request if he can't speak respectfully. He may miss his next social outing. He may be excused from the table even if he is still hungry (this one really bothers teen boys!).

In this way you are not stepping on his creativity and humor, but you are requiring respectful communication and helping him learn how and when he can joke. Also, he has the chance to be a good example for any younger sister or brother so that you don't hear smart-alecky teenage stuff from the mouths of babes!

Snowy Or Rainy Day Activities For Tweens and Teens

Picture this. It's a blustery, rainy day with nothing to do, or a snowy winter one where the kids are home from school (and you're home, too!). You're trying to think of some interesting snowy or rainy day activities geared to your tween or teen so that you can spend an enjoyable day together. Meanwhile, your tween or teen may be thrilled because to them it means a day of lazily hanging out on the couch, mindlessly watching tv or a movie while munching chips, or the opportunity to spend the day online or texting with friends incessantly. If you have other plans for them and would like to take advantage of this togetherness to spend some quality time with your tween or teen, then you need to come up with some interesting snowy or rainy day activities that they think will be fun and that won't make them want to roll their eyes at you. Although they may love the opportunity to "plug-in" on a lazy day like this, you can connect with them if you offer up some fun activities that will engage your tween or teen and will get them to want to hang out with you instead. Maybe if you're lucky, you'll even get in a decent conversation or two in the process!

Below are a handful of snowy or rainy day activities for tweens and teens. They can be enjoyed as a family or can be used to pass the time indoors with friends or siblings. These activities are geared to older kids and can be a great source of amusement for both parents and teens alike.

10 Snowy or Rainy Day Activities for Tweens and Teens:

1. Do a jigsaw puzzle. Chances are it's been awhile since you've all sat down and worked on a jigsaw puzzle together, but this can be a great diversion for the whole family, and provides opportunities for meaningful conversation.

2. Play a card game. Gone may be the days of playing "Go Fish" with your kids, but there are many other challenging card games to play with older kids. Engage them in a game of texas hold 'em, gin rummy, or another card game of choice and the time will fly by.

3. Sing karaoke. This may be a completely embarrassing activity for your teen or tween to enjoy when their friends are around (and if you ever sang in front of their friends, they'd surely cringe!), but when hanging out together at home on a rainy day, this can be a great source of fun and laughs.

4. Make a scrapbook. Take the opportunity to go through old pictures and put them into a scrapbook. If you don't have all the materials needed to make and decorate the book, then spend the day organizing and selecting photos to put in the book and enjoy reminiscing about old memories. If you have digital photos, there are some great online digital scrapbooking sites, like Shutterfly, where you can make a beautiful scrapbook, complete with custom pages and journaling, in no time.

5. Make a video together. Plan it out together and record away. Kids are so into videos today that it could be fun to make a family video. You can recreate a talk show and conduct interviews, try your hand at a game show or act out a comedy. Either way, you'll have a chance to get creative and have a memento of your day spent together.

6. Make a house of cards. Remember the days when your kids could be entertained for hours with blocks or legos? Well, they may not be willing to break out the blocks these days, but the challenge of trying to build a house of cards could certainly bring out the architect in any teen.

7. Devise a mystery sound game. See how keen everyone's sense of hearing is by having one person or group go around the house and record various sounds heard around the house. This can easily be done even with a cell phone if you don't have a tape recorder. Then try to guess what the sounds are.

8. Have a dance party. Let loose and get some exercise, too! Take turns choosing music to dance to so you can both enjoy each other's selections and maybe teach each other a few moves in the process.

9. Play challenging word, number, or trivia games. Games like Rummikub, Scrabble, Upwords, Trivial Pursuit and more are always fun to revisit, so if you have a few games lying around the house, dust them off and challenge each other to a game or two.

10. Plan a meal with items from the pantry. Get creative together and put everyone's cooking skills to the test. Older kids love to eat and can have a great time trying to concoct a new recipe based on what's available in the pantry or fridge. And you'll get out of having to figure out what's for dinner!

Kids and Money - 7 Essential Skills For Financial Success

Whilst the debate about financial education in schools continues, parents need not wait to teach their kids about money. Here are 7 things that every teen should know about money.

1. Manage your money - Show your money who's boss by putting a money management system in place. Divide your income into separate jars, money boxes or bank accounts. Take a proportion and save it. Take another and allocate that for investing. Then work out how much you need to spend on essentials. From the remainder you can put some aside for fun and leisure.

This simple system has several powerful principles, paying yourself first, creating a savings habit, being organised with your money and to spend less than you earn and invest the rest.

2. Know the true cost of buying on credit. The availability of easy credit has become a part of society. Don't be tricked however into taking the short term view that the headline monthly payments are all matters. Buying an average car for example at 10% APR over 3 years could mean paying over $5000 extra. If that was the sticker price of the car then you may not be so keen to buy. Also consider that your circumstances may change, would you still want to be saddled with monthly debt repayments if you lost your job?

3. Take control of your outgoings. The simple process of checking bank statements and credit card bills can ensure that you know where your money is going and can check for mistakes and anything suspicious. You may have unwanted direct debits which relate to cancelled agreements, such as gym memberships or cell phone insurance. If you track and classify your outgoings, you may find that you are spending hundreds of dollars on lunch and coffee which you could bring from home.

4. Understand the financial realities of home ownership. For the majority buying a home is the biggest financial purchase of their lives. Many young people however are poorly equipped to understand the process or the numbers involved. It can be explained by imagining a dream home and then working backwards. With many lenders looking for a deposit of 20%, the prospective home owners need to first consider where they can obtain this and how long that might take. Then they can consider the amount of borrowing they can obtain, be that 3 or 4 times salary for example. Thirdly include the additional costs of insurance, utilities and council tax.

For many young people this will be an important wake up call, which can have a dramatic effect on career and education choices.

5. Develop multiple streams of income. All is not doom and gloom however, for the entrepreneurial minded there are an abundance of opportunities to make money either alongside or instead of a traditional career. A hobby or passionate interest can be translated into an income earning blog or website. Existing skills and talents can be taught to others at a fee, or new products and ideas brought to market. Long term, investments in the stock market or property have historically yielded good returns. All of which can combine to supplement or replace traditional earned income.

6. Invest in your own education. For many, learning stops once they leave school, if not before! By continuing to learn whether its job related or developing new skills you become capable of bringing more value to the market and subsequently will receive more reward.

7. Expect the best but prepare for the worst. When jobs are secure and house prices are rising it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. Many people released equity from the homes to cover consumer debt, secure in the knowledge that they could meet the monthly payments and maybe even reduce their outgoings in the short term. When the economic climate changed however there was a new reality.

In uncertain times it is better to expect the best but prepare for the worst, by saving an emergency fund which could support you for several months if you lost your job. So too is insurance important, covering sickness or unemployment. Developing multiple streams of income as outlined about is another way of spreading the risk and not being over reliant on one source.

Military Schools - Looking At One Alternative To Raising Happier, Calmer Children And Teens

Many parents think that sending their badly behaved children and teens to military schools will solve all their problems. They are wrong to believe this because there are many things to consider before deciding on this move.

The first thing to consider is the financial aspect. There will be a clause that you will have to sign where you agree not to claim back the fees, should your teen decide to drop out. That could mean a big loss as the clause might specify the fees for the whole school year and not just the semester!

The second thing to consider is whether that type of environment is actually suitable for your badly behaved child. How will he or she respond to such an environment? There may well be other problems that surface later on and you could be sowing the seeds of resentment against your parental authority. It could also compromise your relationship with your offspring.

The third thing to consider is that many military schools will just not accept children who are out of control, defiant and aggressive as they have to fit in with school life and be able to get on with their peers. If the child is already violent and aggressive towards his peers at his normal school, there is no guarantee that he would change in the new environment.

Apart from the discipline issues which are clearly the driving force behind such a decision, have you thought about the bonding issues? Any child needs an affectionate and loving supportive environment in which to grow up. Even obnoxious kids need that! The military schools are not the ideal environment to provide that kind of support and that may well make your child unhappy, frustrated and lonely.

So what is the alternative to military schools? The answer is to find a good behavioral therapy program or simply learn effective parenting skills. There is no need for expensive family therapy or counseling. You can do this efficiently, easily and above all cheaply in your own home.

By using such a program, you can stop the back talking instantly. You will be able to stop the endless arguments and you will be able to get your child back again. You will never dread coming home again in the evening after work.

So, there you have it. You can either opt for very expensive military schools or ask for help from the psychiatrist below who has been dealing with these problems for over twenty years.

Home Schooling and Its Effects

Home schooling or homeschooling, if you want (in deed, you even see it hyphenated, as in home-schooling) has been around for about 30 years now, although, of course it was all pupils had before state involvement in education. Out of the way sparcely-populated places in huge countries like the USA, Canada and Australia still have to rely on home schooling to a large extent, although it is easier now with the popularization of radio, television and the Internet. Video packages also have an important role, as do books still.

However, home schooling has become very much in demand in the cities as an alternative to inner city public schools, which are frequently seen as hotbeds of upheaval, anger and narcotics, especially by the middle classes and not without some due reason, to be honest. Nonetheless, there are also other good reasons for deciding on home schooling, which we will go into at a later stage.

First, it ought to be pointed out that the decision to opt for home schooling must be a family one. This is because it will toss "normal family life" on its head and place an added financial strain on the household budget. For instance, one parent will need to stop working. This cannot be allowed to be a source of bad feeling, or both parents could take part-time jobs and share the children's educational time. Whichever way you go, you will not have two full-time incomes any longer. Working at home on the Internet could be a partial solution here.

Home schooling will also upset everyone's social life. So, the parents' social life is restricted by not seeing work colleagues every day, but so is little Johnny's, particularly if he has already spent some time in a conventional classroom. He won't see his pals from class as much and they may drift away from him or even be angry with him.

On the plus side is that the family will become much more solid as a unit by working together at home schooling. Both parents will have a thorough understanding of what their child is learning and will be learning. While following a broad-spectrum education, you may nonetheless opt to focus on aspects of, say, history or science, that especially interest your child. It gives you the freedom to match your child's education to his or her own interests, something that state education cannot do well with large classes. Your child will also come less under the influence of the bawdier elements in school and be able to concentrate more on studying.

A note of caution may be useful at this juncture. Do not be tempted to compel your child to progress too rapidly. It is tempting for a non-professional teacher-cum-proud parent in home schooling to push the child much harder than he can go. Don't forget that most people are just average. You ought to be on look out for signs of burn-out and stress at all times.

Once you decide to opt for home schooling, you will have to choose a basic curriculum, run through it yourself to familiarize yourself with it, purchase or locate in the library any additional books, videos and software, write a lot of notes and stock up on pens and paper, folders, binders and filing cabinets and you'll be ready for your first term at home schooling.

Why More Parents Choose Home Schooling For Their Kids

In the 1980's, a number of conservative Christians pursued the legality of home schooling that led to its open acceptance in all States. Some parents protect their kids' values and formation by opting to teach them at home and away from uncontrollable influences in the public schooling setting. This has resulted to about 1.1 million homes having education out of school, just in 2005 alone.

Home schooling is defined as the education given by parents, private tutors, or professionals to children at a home setting. There is no classroom setting and the need to attend public school teaching to earn educational credits. The good thing about this education program is that a home-taught graduate can still enter various other educational institutions like universities and technical schools to have higher education. There has been no substantial limits to home schooling that can hinder any academic growth for your kids or teens.

But what are the reasons behind parents opting for this new form of education? First, parents chose to do so because they are standing up for their religious beliefs and values. These parents know that there are negative conditions that can be promoted in public schooling. Factors like drugs, peer pressure, and bullying can be any parent's nightmare when their kids go to the usual school education. At this time though, the demographics of kids getting home schooled are just no longer from the religious conservatives. Surprisingly, there is a turn out of various families coming from different backgrounds who finds home schooling more convenient and practical.

Second most common reason is the readily available bonding time spent between parent and child during their learning activities. Most of the parents who want home schooling are hands-on parents. They can easily mold their children with the values and beliefs that come from them. For kids who have private tutors, the attention given by their tutor can maximize their learning capacity since they do not have to share their tutor with any one else. Also, even if tutors took hold of the teaching of their children, parents are often still involved with their home schooling kids as they can easily monitor the progress being made by their children from the report of the private tutor.

And lastly, parents choose it financial reasons. Going to school can cost a lot aside from the other school services, projects, trips, and other miscellaneous related to formal education. Usually, one parent stays home in a home schooling setting and the whole household depends on the other parent for income. This might sound as a challenge to some, but it helps the family to get involved in money saving. As young as they are, they can feel they are being valued for their small contributions and would even become more grateful to their parents.

Finding alternative choices for your kids' education can really help you when you have a certain situation or condition at hand. Fortunately, there is a rising number of communities that acknowledge this educational form and has put up a few help support. They provide resources and offer support for parents who have their children home-schooled.

Cooking With Kids And Teens

After a long day at work, would it be nice to come home to a dinner table set with plates, drinks, napkins and forks? Or even better, how about walking into the smell of aromatic delight coming from your kitchen? It is possible to have your kids, prepare a meal with dad's supervision and with some initial teaching and training.

Children naturally love to explore, and cooking is the best way for them to become creative. Why? It teaches many skills including: confidence, creativity, math, science, reading, geography, nutrition, healthy eating habits, culture and organization. There is no other subject area or hobby that truly integrates so much richness. Try to think of one? If you look at school subjects, most things are taught in isolation. Not cooking. It is the best well rounded subject I know.

So how are you going to get your kids cooking? Just start them in the kitchen no matter how old they are. Let them mix, pour and help you with simple tasks. Spend time with your child in the kitchen, teach them that cooking is not only a great life skill, but that they can be creative and make things with so many ingredients. Laugh with them at messes and mistakes, and then teach them how to clean it up or fix their mistake. Here are some other suggestions to encourage an interest in cooking:

1) Plan a family night, where you and your child do the shopping for one meal, let your child pick out things and be involved in the process.

2) Have your child help you prepare food for a party, have a "kid friendly menu" for the kids attending the party and create a sign names the food and put your child's picture next to it with a heading "created by Chef____".

3) Praise your child for doing even the simplest task in the kitchen.

4) Enroll your child in a series of cooking classes (four minimum). One class is too short to really learn much, and the child may be shy at first. But by class four, watch out! Your child will want to take more classes.

5) Make cooking a priority in your house so that kids understand the value of food made from scratch.

6) Don't let your child see that you struggle in the kitchen. Relax, and try to have fun with food. Don't prepare "boxed foods", they are not fun or interesting.

As you teach your child the value of cooking, you will be able to step back and let your child prepare some fun treats for you. But don't forget the formal training first.......especially when you don't have the time. Take your child to a series of cooking classes or enroll your child in culinary camp, and then let him or her come home and cook what they learned in class for you. Above all, make cooking fun and pleasurable for your child. And always have an adult supervise the child in the kitchen for safety reasons.

When enrolling your child in a formal cooking class, look for these basic fundamental things that your child can learn: how to safely use a knife (depending on age), how to use appliances safely(depending on age), the difference between herbs and spices, how to bake cakes, cookies, breads, how flavors go together in a dish, measuring, mixing, folding, how to be organized and follow the recipe, how to make a basic dish from scratch, how to make soups and sauces, and how to clean up while they cook. Your child will surprise you, and you'll feel good that your child is learning a healthy skill that will last a lifetime. Formal cooking classes will give your child the confidence to come home and cook in your kitchen. Cooking: the best life skill to learn!

Troubled Teens and Christian Boarding Schools

Every parent who has a troubled teen hopes that their kid will snap out of their problems, do well at school and live a happy and healthy life. And to achieve that goal, many parents send their child to a Christian boarding school. These schools are pretty much the same as most boarding schools except Christian boarding schools place an emphasis on the spiritual education of each student. They base their moral teaching on the teachings of the Bible.

But Christian boarding schools do not swamp their students with religion. Rather it is the Christian faith which is the basis or foundation of the teaching programs.

Almost every teen will face temptation in their formative years with such issues as drugs, alcohol, sex and crime. Parents obviously wish to help their son or daughter make logical and healthy decisions to reject bad influences and wrong life choices. Knowing their teen is a part of a Christian boarding school gives everyone a positive attitude. The teachings in a Christian boarding school are based on the Ten Commandments. This is a powerful and positive basis for a moral upbringing. And because the students are boarding at the school, staff can keep a 24/7 watch over their pupils.

This fact of being on the school campus day and night has additional benefits apart from keeping troubled teens away from potential dangers. First there is time for after-hours supervised study sessions and after-hours extra curricula activities such as sports and the arts. Students don't go home as such and so at the end of their school day they can work on their music or dance or swimming or track and field.

Academically the standards are high and are tied into subjects taken in high schools. This means that if a troubled teen is withdrawn from their Christian boarding school for any reason, the student should be able to get credits for their academic progress and resume their studies with a minimum of fuss. Christian boarding schools aim to assist their students to do so well academically so that the students will be eligible for the college or colleges of their choice.

Being a Christian boarding school, it is natural that Bible study is part of the teaching program. However, most schools do not force students to take scripture classes although most students do participate. All this is part of the moral guidance program at the school. Being based on Christian teaching and its way of life, it is natural that Bible study will be an important aspect of the education program.

Teens who are troubled need special care. They need to be nurtured and taken away from their pain and into a life where they can be confident and have a high self-esteem. This is a basic aim of a Christian boarding school. It is not just a fine all-round education on offer but also a caring and helping environment where troubled teens can turn their life around and grow into happy and healthy young adults.

Kids and Funerals: A Parenting Guide to Handling Issues of Death and Mourning

This subject is awful, a why-think-about-it-before-you-have-to kind of thing. Each person's experience of grief, or dealing with the grief-stricken is very personal. Add to that the complexities of relationships and religion (and our relationships to religion) and it's a struggle to form an opinion when faced with a funeral to go to.

Death happens. And children need to begin the lifelong process of understanding and coming to grips with it. In order to raise children we respect and admire we have to discuss the hard stuff. Death tops that list.

Last week the principal at my sons' school lost his adult daughter. The kids were told in a very general way about this and the parents (informed beforehand) could take over from there in any way they saw fit. It is our religious tradition to visit the family in mourning in the week following the funeral. This was (thanks be) the first time in a couple of years that we had such a visit to make and my husband and I decided to bring the two older boys along. They each have a relationship with their principal (good so far!) and we believe that comforting the bereaved is a sacred obligation.

Even if that is not your religious belief, I propose that comforting the grieving is a very important life skill. The gravity of the situation allows children and teens to (briefly) get outside their current thoughts and problems, and figure out how to talk to someone in a worse situation than them. Experiencing the community aspect of these gatherings is also a good lesson.

"What if my child is too young?" Only you can decide when your child is old enough. A lot of this depends on the age of the deceased and the personalities in the grieving family. Would a small child playing bring a smile or a frown? A child to young to understand death won't be scarred by a funeral but may make you too nervous to be able to really be present yourself. If the child is in the family of the deceased then I think most instances warrant bringing the child to be a part of the family. When we lost my father-in-law it was our then 2 year old that kept the rest of the family intact, just by being himself.

"What if my child might be scared?" This is reasonable. First I would challenge you to make sure that it is not your own fear (of death or grieving) that you are projecting. Beyond that, I urge you to introduce your child to this topic gently - avoiding an open casket wake (or sticking to the back), waiting and paying a social call on the family some time after the immediate grieving period.

When we entered the home of this tragically saddened family, the principal was standing near the door. When he saw me he smiled a gentle smile he had clearly been putting on all day. When he saw my sons, something in his face opened and he said, "Oh, more of my children. This is what will get me through." As he enfolded them in a hug - that they both returned - they brought him a comfort I could not.

This is hard. If you ignore this opportunity for teaching, it may (hopefully) not come up again for a while. That won't avoid it forever though, and kids deserve this education as much as any other.

Teen Communication And Teen Arguements

How Teens Normally Communicate

· Teens normally come to their parents when they need to talk. Be patient.

· Your teen may appear to be rude, in a hurry or cut you short. This is not their intention. Be patient.

· Teens are not adults. You may from time to time have an adult conversation with your teen. Treasure this moment! Don't expect it all the time.

· Teens often are more comfortable talking to their friends or peers than they are talking to adults; especially their parents. Again, nothing against you mom or dad, but kids their age are more fun to talk with. Be patient.

· Moody teens will avoid conversations with you.

· Happy teens may talk your ears off. You may have to listen, nod your head and smile. Be patient.

· See the section in Scott Counseling regarding communicating with you child for information on parenting techniques and strategies on this topic. Be patient!

My Teen Argues!

We want our children to learn to speak and communicate. We want them to become independent thinkers. We also want them, someday, to stand on their own. Well, believe it or not, these are some of the key factors to explain why some children argue with their parents. According to the Department of Families, "arguments between brothers and sisters are one of the ways that children learn to respect other people's belongings and feelings." Children are just like adults. We like to present our ideas and sometimes argue to express our opinions or points of view. Children, however, are just beginning to learn how to argue without being disrespectful. Below are some pointers to help parents teach their child how to share their thoughts without offending others.

· Do not argue with your teen. It's that's simple. An argument can only occur if you let one occur.

· Many arguments can be avoided when you give the child an option. For example: "You can either empty the dishwasher or take out the trash."

· Treat your child and yourself with respect. Be objective when you speak and try to use fewer words. For example: "I need your help. Your job is to pick up your toys. Please begin now." Avoid statements or questions like: "Can you" or "Do you want to pick up your toys now."

· Teach your child the difference between debate and arguments. Debates allow two people to share their points of view without offending others and leaving one person a winner and another a loser. Arguments end with a winner and a loser. Teach your child what points of view or opinions are debatable in your home. If your child says, "Mom, I'm tired of doing dishes." The parent can respond by saying, "That's fine. It's a good time to change chores. You may pick between feeding the dog or dusting this week."

· Use simple body and facial language instead of words. Simple body and facial language includes: Looking at your child and show the face of patience. Your face should show that you are not angry, but you are also not amused.

· Sit down with your child and let the child know the negative consequences that they will receive if they argue with a parent. Set the consequence ahead of time and stick to the consequence. It's appropriate to let children know that you do not want an argument as a warning before providing the consequence. Remember the first example provided above.

· You may provide incentives. However, do not over use this strategy or you will be teaching the child that rewards come after each request. "You may play with your friends when you are done doing the dishes."

· Encourage and teach your child to ask for permission. This will prevent many arguments.

· Prepare yourself for the fact that your child will be making more requests that may lead to future arguments. To find out if your child's request is normal for his or her age group, ask a teacher, youth group leader, coach or other adults who have many years of experience working with children to find out if their request is normal.

· Let your child know that making a request should be done in private or at home. Some parents, for example, tell their child that if they ask to have a friend sleep over in front of the friend that their request will automatically be denied.

Note: Children who have chronic or ongoing behavioral problems with argument that lead to anger, violence or other fear inducing tactics may need to be assessed by a trained professional. Usually these behaviors diagnosed by a psychiatrist or other medical professionals. You may also obtain assistance from a school psychologist who may provide some insights and resource information.

Getting Rid of Harmful Inclinations, for Parents of Teens and Teens

After my private preschool closed, I started to work in the public school district and with a corporate child care placement agency in the San Francisco Bay Area. What I learned was astonishing.

I was assigned to After School programs in the wealth suburbs in Danville, Ca. (Black Hawk) where every home in the neighborhood was selling for over one million, long before the down turn in the economy.

The children were bright and extremely caution about new comers into their After School program. Some of the pre-teens were placed there because their parents didn't trust them to be alone after school. It was a safer for the children to stay in a controlled environment, rather than to be unsupervised in the afternoon.

These young pre-teens were extremely territorial and questioned authority in very discrete ways. Their reaction to me was no different. Little did they know, or maybe they did, I had also worked in Oakland, California, where territorial issues could land you in the hospital, or worst. I knew how to stay out of the way and be respectful of unseen territorial lines.

I can't prove it, however, I am sure one or two of the parents took down my auto license plate and ran a make on me. (Over heard, a conversation) These parents were Vice-Presidents, CFO, and top level management in large corporations, in San Francisco. At any rate, I was allowed to come back. But please know, being sanctioned by the parents, didn't mean the kids were going to let me in.

What I kept seeing over and over was a closed society, where no one but the kids were allowed in, and adults who they trusted completely. Parents were never, under any circumstances, allowed into the After School secret society.

I spent a lot of time watching and reviewing what I saw. There was an actual path in which the older children had created, or it had been created for them, that was in alignment with the elementary school and their parents, but separate.

I might add, parents didn't have a clue, or maybe they did know, and just wanted to respect the kid's privacy.

These kids were sharp and had no problems with thinking things through, or pre-planning. Of course when their parents showed up to pick them up, they turned into perfect little dumb angles and asked to go to McDonalds!

Another action which occurred often was, when their parents showed up, the kids would completely ignore me. They would act as if I wasn't there. At first this hurt my feelings a little, then I realized, I had been allowed into the society, but had no rights.

The last thing I want to do, is to violate the trust that these children placed with me. (Including children on the San Francisco Peninsula and in Contra Costa County) After being away from the children for over four years, I realize something which concerns me.

You know the old saying you can't see the forest for the trees? This statement applies to my work with children. I could not see where the kids were headed, until after I was out of the industry.

To my students who graduated from my preschools and to those children whom I meet while working as a substitute teacher I say, "Be aware of your every thought." If you get a strong inclination to take or experiment with illegal substances, talk to your parents, determine where the thoughts are coming from and eliminate the source.

Please forgive me if you feel I have betrayed your trust in anyway. You know, I care about you and you know I'm concerned about what you might do to Social Security, once you start voting.

Kids and Peer Pressure in Today's World

As parents, it is our responsibility to listen to or children, and make sure that they are understand that we are there for them in everything they do in their lives. So many parents work long hours at work, that when they come home they are too tired to take time out with their children. In the teen years, it is very important that our children understand, that we are there to support them when the road begins to get tough. Sometimes teens began to get stressed because they are worried, about, whether they are going to pass an exam, or whether or not they are going to make the team. High school can bring about many changes in a teens life, especially if this is something very new to you and you're learning to adapt to changes. Of course you are no longer at middle school, and you're not going to see the same faces.

Many teens begin to worry about who will like them, they will also begin to feel unattractive because the body certainly begins to change with growing up and the girls will start to sprout out as the boys begin to grow a mustache, but this is very normal. We need to support our children and let them know that they are beautiful in every unique, form, and fashion. These are a few minor issues, that our children will face and this will heal with time. Another major issue that teenagers have to deal with, when it come to peer pressure, is learning to say, 'No', too drugs. This is one of the leading killers in high school today. When kids become overstressed they attempt to help themselves feel better by listening to what, we call cool kids, that linger in the hallways instead of trying to get an education.

They prey on kids that are loners or kids that seem depressed, but when we show our kids love and give them a listening ear, they will refrain from drugs because they know when things get rough, their parents are always there to lean on. Drugs are not the only thing that teens get hooked on when struggling with peer pressure. The other known killer of today is cigarettes which leaves the lungs black and unhealthy. For many people who have teenagers, we have to be there, for our kids and they will overcome peer pressure. They will be able to look back and understand that it was just a phase, that every teenager run into.

Differences Between Military Boarding Schools and Military High Schools

There are many differences with the main one being the living arrangements for the student. At a military boarding school, as the name suggests, the students board at the school. Apart from holidays and term vacations, the students are almost always in residence. Whereas in a military high school, those who join the cadets in the school do so but like all the other kids in the high school, go home to their family after school. Apart from this major difference there are many other smaller but no less significant differences.

In a military boarding school the students regard the issue of discipline with a greater degree of seriousness. They wear uniforms at all times, they have daily inspections, parades and regard staff as higher-ranking officers. In a military high school, the discipline activities only take place when the cadets are meeting which may be once a week. Uniforms are only worn when the cadets meet and the only staff in the school with a rank are those involved with the cadets.

The emphasis on academic matters is far stronger in a military boarding school. A military high school may well have an excellent academic program but it almost certainly won't have any regular after hours compulsory study period every school day under supervision from staff. The strong aim of the military boarding school is to enable its students to gain entry to prestigious colleges and universities across the country. In a military high school, after hours study is usually paid for by the students if they are willing and able to find staff to assist.

Discipline is given more weight in a military boarding school. With the students in uniform, there are strict rules for preparing your room, attending parades and respecting officers and orders. Failure to follow the rules will mean punishment which, if repeated failures occur, can result in expulsion. The discipline in a military high school varies from school to school but minor infractions do not carry the same consequences.

Extra-curricula activities such as sports, outdoor education and the performing arts are, generally speaking, given far more emphasis in a military boarding school. The facilities are usually first class and with students living on the school campus, there is far more opportunity for training and rehearsals. Teams and ensembles don't have the problem of missing members who have to go home. There are likely to be more field excursions in a military boarding school and more interaction with the school's local community.

Of course the major difference of the living location is one which all students and their parents need to address. Living at home with your family and going off to school every day is greatly different from sleeping in school dormitories and walking to and from school on the same campus. Whatever else may be the difference, choosing a boarding school with a military background is a way of life which suits many but not all. It takes consultation between the teen, their parents and the school to find the best outcome.

Home School - How Can I Fit More Hours in My Day?

Life is hectic, and running a household full of kids can be a real challenge. Add the responsibilities of educating your children at home and you might feel overwhelmed. To some extent, homeschoolers will ALWAYS feel like there aren't enough hours in the day! It's part of parenting, and even more a part of homeschooling. There are some things that can help. I read the book "Managers of Their Homes" and it really helped me. It is a book about scheduling your homeschool, so that you do the most important things FIRST. Determine what your priorities are, and then start with priority #1. The less important things may need to be less frequent. A schedule will sometimes tell you what is going wrong.

Sometimes parents will tell me what they are "trying" to do each day. When I add it up, they are doing too much! I remember one mother I met had scheduled nine and a half hours a DAY on academic subjects with her 9th grader. Maybe you are simply trying to do too much! So prioritize, and make sure you aren't biting off more than you can chew.

When we were homeschooling, it always felt like we were being asked to do "more." It became a struggle to keep a balance between what was important and what was "urgent". Sometimes it became necessary to cut back on some of the activities we did outside the home. You might also consider eliminating things like co-op classes, sports teams, music lessons, volunteering, employments, Boy Scouts, and even church activities. Sometimes it's all just too much! Again, try to decide what you really need and what's important to you. Scale back your activities if you can. I encourage you to have your teen be part of the conversation, though. Their interests should carry a LOT of weight.

Finding the right pace for your homeschool requires a lot of planning. Failing to plan your high school is one of "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make WhenHomeschooling High School." Learn how to avoid all 5 mistakes in my free e-mail mini-course.