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Posted: Aug 19, 2014 13:52

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Woodbury Reports, Inc
Bonners Ferry, ID

A Survival Guide to
Parenting Teens

Lon Woodbury, MA, CEP, IECA

Joani Geltman, MSW
Parenting Expert and Author

August 18, 2014

With a title that catches a parent's eye: "Survival Guide to Parenting Teens: Talking to Your Kids about Sexting, Drinking, Drugs and Other Things That Freak You Out", our guest today on LATALK Radio~ Parent Choices for Struggling Teens was author and parenting expert Joani Geltman, MSW. Joining host Lon Woodbury, Joani, a virtual ball of energy, stated quite frankly that "today's parents are overwhelmed!" and with her vast experience in working with young people, as a social worker, therapist, student advisor and adjunct professor, she is quite aware of the struggles parents are facing today with this generation of teens. "In my book, I give parents tips that cover the problems they are having with their teen. The kind of problems that they face on a daily basis. I give them the words to say and I give them activities to do with them…it is what I call a 'soup to nuts' approach."

"The biggest change that is occurring with teens today is the internet and the multitude of things to distract them while online. Addicted to their phones and social media, they don't have the ability to connect and attend. Parents need to set limits with the amount of time their kids are on their phones…and yes, the kids will go ballistic, but parents are the role models in their children's lives- therefore, they need to put away their phones too." The national statistic for the amount of time teens are online or on their phones is 7 hours a day- after school. Teens on all of their social media sites: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snap Chat, to name a few, are focused on themselves on their posts, looking to see how many likes they get, how many friends they have and what others are saying about them. These teens get pumped with their importance and are the center of their own fan club, not to mention the selfies they are taking and posting or the sexting that is going on. "Parents need to take control, because kids take longer to gain the self-control to monitor themselves. They are not thinking…they're feeling! They are living in this 'awesome brain'. For kids that are 13-17, they need to earn a certain amount of time on their devices until they can show some responsibility and self-control. Parents can actually set their children's devices to turn off with the way sophisticated the carriers are now. They are set up like a DVR.

With middle schooler's, they "act as if" they are older…experimenting with the stuff, that teens in high school are doing. These kids are not ready for it and that is when the risky behavior happens." They "play out sexual activities or have alcohol and parent's need to be supervising more with this age group. This can be a very painful time for young teens- some are just not ready or interested in the 'older teen activities' or of acting more 'teenagery", so a lot can happen with friendships…not being included in certain parties or events and for the ones not invited, it feels as if their friends have left them behind to do the older kid thing. This age group often experiences too much too soon, meaning too much information before they are ready for it.

There are some precautions parents can take in dealing with their teens:
Parents need to have their kids passwords- it is a safety issue and you need to make sure they are using their electronic devices correctly. If they will not give them to you- take away their smart phone and give them an old fashioned flip phone- with no bells or whistles.

No cell phones to take to bed- night time is when the 'stuff' happens, in their rooms while their parents are asleep…sexting, texting and bullying

Parents need to monitor- and do it together with your child rather than in a sneaky way- which can lead your child to mistrust you

Monitor their posts- this is when they talk trash about peers- "a pack mentality" that happens. They also need to know that what they post is online permanently- for college admissions counselors to see, future bosses and once again- bullying.

Parents can be the sole person to have the ability to download certain 'apps' There are too many apps available and kids can get lost in all of it- in both time and presence on the sites.

Create a relationship with your teen- (that is why I wrote the book). It is about communication: Let them know you know how important their phone is to them, you get it…but I need to see that what you are doing is safe. This approach should be started at an early age.

Watch for signs of isolation, more secretive, lying to parents or hanging in their room alone.

Let them know you are worried about them and that if you need to, you are going to monitor what they are doing on their phone.

Teens really feel that the parents are clueless and therefore, nothing is going to happen to them. They are banking on the fact that parents don't know what's going on! "Parents…you can't be clueless and a non-involved parent!" Find something with them you can do that is on their terms. Watch a show they like and talk about it with them. Parents need to get engaged.

For more tips and information from this interview please go to our website to hear this interview in its entirety.

To listen to the full interview go to A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens on LATalkRadio.

Lon Woodbury is the owner/founder of Woodbury Reports Inc. and He has worked with families and struggling teens since 1984 and is the host of Parent Choices for Struggling Teens on

Joani Geltman is a parenting expert, speaker, and designs and presents parenting and education leadership workshops. She is the author of A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens. For more information, go to

How To Be Noticed! We are looking for guests and sponsors for our Internet Talk Radio shows. Give a listen on Monday noon PT on and Tuesday noon PT on Our reach to listeners, in addition to the traffic to, include podcast listings on, iTunes, Stitcher Radio and iHeart Radio Network. For more information, contact Lon at 208-267-7717 or, or Kristie Campbell at 208-267-5550.


Author of Parent Empowerment Handbook on

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