Book Review: Hunt, Gather, Parent

Hunt, Gather, Parent

I grabbed this book from the library because I read parenting books like a starving person might go after food. As you may know, I’m not a parent myself, but I’ve been a nanny, a preschool class teacher, and now a therapist who has spent a great deal of time working with children and their parents.

Side note: I became a therapist partly (mostly) because even as a child I naturally gravitated to the relationship books. Imagine an elementary school kid passing over the fun books to grab a fat stack of dating, marriage, and parenting books. Anyway, I’m fairly certain I’m in the right career path.

The book promises to give a new look on parenting strategies based on those found in more traditional cultures around the world. But unlike most other books on traditional parenting, this author wrote the book with the goal of translating these traditional techniques into something usable by fully modern parents. It’s refreshing to see how these skills are used in tiny villages and how the author then uses them back in San Francisco.

If you’re like me and devour parenting books for breakfast, you’ll recognize many of these skills like allowing kids to follow their natural helpful instinct, managing your own anger and frustration so things don’t escalate, and giving kids space to practice growth on their own.

While the skills may not exactly be new, the presentation is fresh because the author was (and is still) in the middle of raising a toddler. The author’s description of her own childhood experience of growing up in a yelling home shows her struggles to adapt to parenting from quiet and calm. Readers who come from a similar childhood home may relate. But even for those of us who grew up in peaceful homes, it can still be a struggle to keep a sense of calm in the face of a screaming, crying, hitting toddler. And yes, this book goes into managing that kind of kid.

The narratives are engaging and worthwhile reading, but for parents needing immediate help (or for readers needing a quick reminder), each section concludes with a helpful boxed summary with practical tips to implementing these new strategies.

Interested? You can find the book here on the publisher’s website.

Need parenting help as you work through this book? Many parents use therapy as a space to get coaching, support, and education as they manage their own unique families. Contact me for any questions or to get started.

Therapeutic Journaling

Keeping a journal can be very beneficial for your mental health, but not all journaling gives you the benefits you’re looking for. If you want to make the most out of your writing time, try these tips to make sure your journal is a therapeutic part of your day.

Know your focus. Journaling for therapy benefits is different from simply keeping a daily diary. Dedicated therapy journals should focus on the issue you’re dealing with. If you’re trying to be more outgoing to improve your dating life, your therapy journal should focus on your thoughts, feelings, and dreams about dating as well as reminiscing about past dates, family attitudes about dating, and your ideal dating life.

Keep it secure. One of the major drawbacks of traditional journaling is that your intimate details are open to the world. Whether you lock it up, hide it away, or use a private online journal, it’s important to keep things secure. Journaling for therapy is most beneficial if you can be completely honest and get everything out, but you won’t want to do this if you’re worried about someone else getting access. Find a secure place to keep your journal so you can get the most by being the most honest.

Stay in the habit. Just like traditional therapy is most effective when you go weekly, therapeutic journaling is most beneficial when you practice often. Regular journaling is the key to noticing trends in your thoughts and emotions. This is most important if you’re using journaling to help track depression or anxiety. The more you can observe yourself and your processes that might be fueling your negative emotions, the easier it will be to learn how to interrupt those processes and overcome the cycle.

Check in with how you feel. For the most part, therapeutic journaling is highly beneficial. But if you notice yourself feeling more angry, tense, or sad after you spend time writing, you might be using your journal time wrong. If your journal is just a repeat of the negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences you had in your day, it might easily make you feel worse by the end. This is a sign you need to change up your focus. Instead of writing down why everything is the worst, use your journal space constructively to challenge your negative thoughts and reframe them to something more positive and helpful.

 

Was this helpful? Look out for future series on journaling tips just for anxiety, depression, parenting, and relationships!

What is Prepare/Enrich?

Prepare/Enrich is an assessment tool to help couples and parents discover what their relationship needs to grow.

I am a certified Prepare/Enrich facilitator. I offer Prepare/Enrich (P/E) as a lower cost alternative to couple and family therapy.

Prepare/Enrich uses solid research into what makes a strong relationship and developed an assessment to show you your areas of strength and growth as a couple. The assessment is based on FACES, the Family Adaptation and Cohesion Evaluation Scale.

After our initial consultation, I’ll send you links to take the assessment at the Prepare/Enrich website. You’ll each take the test individually- the results will be much better if you don’t work together and if you feel like you can be honest about your answers.

After you take the assessment, I’ll get your results about each area- expectations, intimacy, chores, family, and more. During our sessions, we’ll go through each of these areas, focusing on areas of growth. With this system, you can expect to have 6-8 sessions together, each targeting needs indicated by your assessment results.

At the end, you’ll get your copy of the results along with practical suggestions to grow and develop your relationship. If you feel like you need more support based on your results, I also provide couple’s sessions using the Gottman method.

Ready to take the assessment or have other questions? Contact me today for a free 15 minute consultation or to schedule an appointment.

Parenting Teens by Parenting Toddlers

Parenting teens is a lot like parenting toddlers. Their process of individuation through saying no, isolating, or outright rebelling is frustrating and difficult to work with. And how you work through this process with your teen affects how they will grow up.

Toddlers and teens may not seem like they have much in common, but developmentally, they’re going through a very similar process both biologically and psychologically.

Toddlers are going through the process of individuating, or discovering who they are aside from their parents. You may recognize this as the main task of the “No!” phase. While infants are generally happy to go along with their caregivers, toddlers are learning that they have their own preferences and individuality. They’re becoming more aware that others are separate people with their own thoughts, emotions, and preferences.

Parenting toddlers in this phase requires patience and gentle boundaries. You want your child to explore and grow while still making sure they are safe. Most parents are familiar with how to support toddlers through the difficult phase of individuation. But even though teens are very similar to toddlers in their needs for individual development, parents are often reactive and fearful about the teenage years.

Teens are going through the exact same process as toddlers, although they aren’t small and cute anymore. They may or may not be saying, “No!” out loud, but they are separating from their parents either through isolating and withdrawing or joining with outside social groups. After puberty, many teens look more like adults than children, so it can be hard to remember that they still need the patience and gentleness their parents gave them as young children.

Consider these scenarios:

  • A two year old doesn’t want to stop playing with her toys to go to the store with her family. When her parents insist, she throws a tantrum.
  • A sixteen year old doesn’t want to leave her bedroom to go to her cousin’s birthday party with the family. When her parents insist, she refuses to go.

It’s hard for most parents to treat the sixteen year old with the same compassion and patience as the two year old. We expect tantrums and explosions from toddlers, and most parents know how to hold quiet boundaries while they cry and throw things until they are able to calm down and get back on track. But the sixteen year old has the same needs as the toddler in this case- to establish herself as an individual with her own preferences. She wants to be heard and respected. The parents have the same task as well- to help her express her thoughts and feelings so she feels heard and supported while maintaining adult control and ensuring the toddler and teen follow the rules and expectations of the family.

Parenting teens ideally should look a lot like parenting toddlers. Parents need to learn how to navigate teen individuation with the same patience, modeling, and safety with which they navigated the toddler years.

With that in mind, here are 3 lessons from parenting toddlers you can use in parenting teens through their second individuation phase and managing their withdrawing, sulking, and rebellion.

  1. Safety first. Too many parents of teens get caught up in the trap of focusing on power and control instead of safety. The goal of parenting is to raise an adult, not to maintain control forever. When a baby is learning to walk, we expect them to fall down and make sure their environment is safe enough they can fall without injury. Likewise with teens, as they learn how to make adult decisions, we can expect them to fail at times. Let them fail without stepping in to help, but make sure they are able to fail in a way that doesn’t injure them.
  2. Don’t take it personally. Your teen’s rebellion is not a challenge to your parental authority but their way of testing boundaries and developing independence. Neither isolating nor arguing are about you as the parent, they are a way for your teen to explore their identity apart from you.
  3. Keep seeking connection. Nearly every teen I’ve talked to in therapy has told me they wish they could talk to their parents about big things in their life. They want to talk through major life decisions with you. They want to process their feelings about their friends, about drugs and alcohol, about cutting and suicide, and about self-esteem. Teens often test their parents by bringing up small issues to see how you will react before they’ll risk venturing into deeper waters. If you want to keep communication open, watch how you respond in the little things to make sure they will feel safe talking about big things.

Who Owns Your Feelings

Do you find yourself saying things like “You make me so angry!” Stop blaming others for your emotions and take control of your own feelings.

In therapy, we have an idea called the locus of control. 

Locus means “position, point, or place,” and your locus of control is basically the place where your emotional control comes from. Your locus of control can be internal or external, but everyone has one.

Having an external locus of control means that whatever is controlling your emotions is outside of your own self. An external locus of control makes statements like “You make me so angry!” or “I get sad when you don’t listen to me.” Do either of these sound familiar? An external locus of control relies on others to feel okay.

An internal locus of control means that you are the one in charge of your emotions no matter what happens around you. You are able to respond appropriately to events, but you are able to choose how you feel. If the two statements above were reworked to have an internal locus of control, they would acknowledge the same emotion with a different reaction.

The first statement “You make me so angry!” could turn into a direct request- “When you come home late, please text me so I know you’re okay,” or “Please clean your room the first time I ask. If you can’t clean it by lunch, we’ll donate the toys you can’t find a home for.” The statement “You make me so angry!” doesn’t tell the other person what needs to be different. It’s also inaccurate. You are the only one with control over yourself and your emotions. Nobody else has the power to make you angry, only you can do that. In addition, nothing gets solved. An internal locus of control acknowledges that you’re feeling anger in response to the situation, whether it’s because your partner is late or your child isn’t cleaning their room, but instead of reacting in anger you’re able to proactively ask for change that can resolve the situation.

The second statement is one I hear a lot from parents. They’re trying to emotionally manipulate their children or partners into behaving the way they want. The problem is, we can’t control others and most people resent being manipulated. “I get sad when you don’t listen to me” doesn’t teach your child or partner to listen to you, it only teaches them that they can easily control your emotions with their actions. An internal locus of control sees the sad feelings that come up when others seem not to hear you, but it doesn’t blame others for your sadness. Instead, an internal locus of control would say something like “This is really important to me and I’d like to talk to you without the TV on” or “When we need to leave the park, I’d appreciate it if you would come and help me pack up the toys when I ask you, especially when I’ve given you a five minute warning.”

During the process of therapy, I teach people how to move their locus of control from external to internal. This is especially important for people who are sensitive to the emotions of others or who tend to overreact to situations.

Say to yourself, “I am in charge of how I feel.” Try to notice when you make statements that give others control of your emotions. With your observations, pay attention to who has control of your feelings if it’s not you. Many times, we have a certain person we give control to. It’s usually a parent, partner, or child- someone close to us who knows how to push our buttons.

Carefully consider how you are going to take back control of your emotions. When you are feeling calm and separated from the situation, look back and try to figure out what you really want and come up with a way to ask for what you need without giving up control of your emotions. Whether you need better communication, firmer boundaries, or just some peace and quiet, you are the only one in charge of your emotions and you are the one responsible for making sure you get your needs met.

Just like you can’t control others, they can’t really control you- it just seems like they can sometimes. Others can’t read your mind to know what you want out of a situation, you need to ask for what you want in a way that doesn’t blame them for what you’re feeling.

Childhood Friendships and Fights

Children’s friendships can be turbulent. Here’s a quick guide to how and when to intervene.

I get a lot of questions from parents of elementary aged children about what normal childhood friendships look like. Whether you see your child making bad friendships, getting bullied by friends, or consistently having fights with friends, it’s hard to know when and how to intervene as the parent.

Here are three strategies to avoid and three to employ:

Don’t:

  1. Tell your child to stop hanging out with a bully or bad friend. Why? If it was that easy, they’d do it already. There’s something about that particular person that keeps your child coming back. It is important to figure out why your child can’t get away from the bad relationship and address that as the core issue. Friends who bully are usually hot and cold- one day your child is this kid’s best friend and everything is great, then suddenly everything changes. It’s almost like gambling.
  2. Jump in immediately to fix the situation. Let your child come up with the ideas about what to do with a bad friend or a nasty fight. Use your judgment to help guide them toward effective, appropriate solutions, but the child should be in the driver’s seat when it comes to the solution. Why? Because you’re not going to be there at school or on the playground with your child. If they come up with the solution, they’re more likely to try it out.
  3. Ask the teacher to monitor the situation. Teachers have a job to do aside from reporting on individual students’ behavior. If something big happens that you need to know about, the teacher will probably tell you.

Do:

  1. Point out aspects of good and bad friendships whenever they come up. If your child shares a story about how Ron shared his sandwich with someone whose lunch fell in a puddle, make a big deal about how Ron was a good friend by showing kindness and sharing. And when your child tells you about how Sarah wouldn’t include Tiffany in tag at recess, it’s enough for you to comment that Sarah wasn’t being a good friend and how excluding people is unkind. You can also do this as you’re watching TV with your kids. It’s actually a bit easier with TV because the simple storylines almost always end with good outcomes for good behavior and negative consequences for bad behavior.
  2. Model good relationships. When you have a fight with your children, how do you repair the relationship? When Mom and Dad are mad, how do they treat each other? The way you act is what the child sees. If you have turbulent, dramatic relationships with your friends and spouse, your child is more likely to see that type of relationship as normal and even positive.
  3. Listen well. Without interrupting. Without offering your opinion. If your child feels truly heard, they’re more likely to talk to you. Playground drama doesn’t seem like critical information, but it opens the door for your child to express their thoughts and feelings. Listening without judgment shows your child that you can handle their difficult situations. And when you demonstrate that you can hear elementary problems without reacting, they’re more likely to confide in you as a teen.

Kids choose to stay with bad friends for a few reasons.

First is the helper personality. This child feels like it’s their duty to monitor and control the behavior of their classmates. If this is your child, work with them to understand boundaries. They need to know that there are things outside of their control and that they are not responsible for other kids’ behavior. They need to let go.

Second is the victim mentality. This child doesn’t think they deserve to have good friends, or perhaps they think that this is how real friends act. If this is your child, boost their sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy (no, this won’t spoil them). Some of these kids may not be able to find friends in their peer group because of their reputation as someone who can be easily bullied. It may help to get them involved in extracurricular activities with a different group of kids.

Third is the imitation factor. Even if you’re modeling healthy relationships, the media has a major influence on what kids (and adults) consider normal. If your child’s fights with friends seem like something out of daytime television, make sure you know what they’re watching, playing, and reading. You don’t have to get rid of the TV or the tablet, but make sure to have a conversation about how the characters in your favorite show are just characters. The things they do are funny and exaggerated, but they’re not real. Follow up with a discussion of how you (or another real person) would handle the situation.

When is Medicating Your Child a Good Idea?

It’s hard to know when medication is the right step for you and your child. This guide will walk you through the main issues to consider.

Mental health is a delicate balance of the holy trinity- biological, psychological, and social factors. Medication acts primarily on the biological side.

If only it were that simple. Mental health medication is still highly stigmatized. I’m sure we’ve all heard horror stories of the kid who was put on something that turned him into a blank zombie. Sure, he wasn’t bouncing off the walls anymore, but he also lost his personality.

On the other side, maybe you’ve seen the kid whose parents chose to give her only natural medicine for her ADHD. She’s completely unable to focus in class and she’s falling farther and farther behind grade level each year.

Or maybe you know a kid whose medication is helping him get through seventh grade. For the first time, he’s able to be present and participate in class. Too bad it couldn’t have happened earlier. His parents have been trying different meds and combinations since kindergarten. Between the nasty side effects and ineffective dosages, he’s been held back already, and he’s missed a lot of school.

Here are some guidelines I use when suggesting that medication might be the next step in mental health care:

  1. You’ve tried therapy. Therapy can be great. As a therapist, it’s my go-to solution. But therapy should show progress after a few months of consistent sessions with a person your kid has a good relationship with. This is why it’s important to set concrete goals with tangible benchmarks- so you’ll know if there’s change.
  2. Your child is not able to perform normal tasks of daily life without assistance at a level compared to other children of the same age. They should be able to follow a string of logical instructions- for example, asking your child to finish their bath, brush their teeth, change into pajamas, and then come tell you they’re done so you can read a story. If you need to remind your child of their tasks every few minutes, there’s a problem.
  3. They’re falling behind in school. This is the most important reason I recommend medication. Being held back affects a child’s self-esteem, their peer group, their reputation, and their sense of self-efficacy. It’s one of the most damaging and devastating experiences at that age. Many of my adult clients who have been held back listed it as a pivotal event, even as young as kindergarten.
  4. They are isolated from friends. Kids who have dramatic outbursts from ADHD, bipolar, psychosis, and other disorders tend to attract labels, and not very nice ones. This keeps them from normal social activities with peers and may make them a target for bullying- or turn them into a bully if loneliness shifts to anger.
  5. They recognize there’s a problem and want a solution. Lots of kids I’ve talked to over the years have told me they want to be able to sit down and concentrate on their work but they just can’t. This is the big difference between the class clown’s acting out and the disruptions from a mental disorder. Most children don’t want to interrupt, do poorly, or fail classes. When there’s a problem, they know.

Medication isn’t all-or-nothing. It’s possible to give your child a dosage that will take them through the school day and wear off in the evening. Many kids take medication holidays when school isn’t in session. Some kids need the additional help so they are able to try therapy and are able to stop the medication once things are under control.

But advice from the internet can only be vague. I don’t know your child or your situation. The best way to find out how medication could work for your family is to talk to someone in person.

The first person I always suggest is your pediatrician because they know your child and they know about normal child development. Doctors aren’t as well trained in mental health as a therapist or psychologist, but they can diagnose and prescribe psychiatric medication. You can ask during your child’s routine appointments, and this is usually covered by insurance.

The next person to talk to is your school’s psychologist, if your child qualifies for services through a 504 or IEP. These services are usually free through the district. Although the school psychologist won’t prescribe medication, they can assess your child, describe the diagnosis, and discuss the possibility of medicating.

The last person I recommend is a psychiatrist. This is because most communities have very few psychiatrists, so it can take months to get an initial appointment, if you can get one at all and aren’t placed on a waiting list. When you get there, the psychiatrist likely doesn’t know you or your child, so you have to explain the history of the problem. And if there are any issues with the dosage or side effects, it can be a while before you can get in for a follow up appointment.

You can talk to your regular therapist about medication too. Therapists in California are trained in psychopharmacology- knowledge of medications for mental health issues. But therapists can’t prescribe medication or even suggest medication. They’re available for you to talk about your thoughts or feelings about medicating your child, and they can help you find local referrals for doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists.

Parenting Online

In the modern day, your children are growing up with phones, video games, and the internet. As the parent, you’re responsible for teaching them appropriate use. Here’s our guide for how to set boundaries at every age.

There’s a whole lot of information out there about violence and video games. Some say that gaming is responsible for most of the youth violence out there. Others say that violence and video games are unrelated- plenty of people play video games and never hurt anyone else. And everyone seems to blame the parents for either allowing too much screen time or being overly restrictive.

As the parent, you need to set limits around all of your child’s activities. When it comes to video games and unsupervised screen time, it is especially important to create house rules that scale down as your child ages and matures. Having a decisive policy also helps your child by giving a reason for the rule. Children aren’t born with internal senses of moderation and control. External rules give them structure until they develop their own internal sense of what is appropriate. As they mature and show signs of taking on responsibility and modeling appropriate behavior, parents relax the external rules, trusting the internal locus of control to start taking over.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “more is caught than taught,” and this also applies to screen time. When a parent brings a child into the therapy room for gaming addiction or for spending an inappropriate amount of time online, I always ask the parent about their own habits first. If you are glued to your phone, a young child or teen who is trying to be more adult will likely model after you. If you are able to let your phone go, model reading books, and have real world hobbies, your child is more likely to have similar behavior.

Very Young Children

Infants and toddlers love screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics previously recommended no screens at all for children under two, but has recently relaxed the guidelines to say that 18 months is okay. Children at this age should have very limited, totally supervised screen time limited to video chat with parents or other relatives, educational television shows like Sesame Street, or videos of animated children’s songs. Parent interaction is important, so sing along and clap with the song, repeat key words or phrases for your child, and make screen time a two person activity.

Preschoolers

From three to five, children should have no more than one hour a day of screen time. Electronics should be limited to certain rooms of the house like the play room or the family room, and they should not be allowed to have devices at meals or in bed. Children in this age group are highly conscious of fairness, and parents can help model good habits by not bringing phones or devices to meal times.

Elementary Age

Most modern elementary schools involve children using laptops or tablets during the school day. They are learning how to use cloud drives to collaborate with others, programming simple games, typing with a keyboard, and playing topical games. Some elementary schools give students a tablet to take home to complete their homework.

This is the age where some of your child’s friends may have smartphones or a tablet. If you haven’t given your child their own phone yet, expect them to start asking. Decide with your partner when you want your children to have phones. Before you give your child their own phone, make sure you have the phone password protected with an additional, separate password for parent controls and the phone’s wallet so your child can’t purchase new apps or in-app extras. Some phones have the ability to display a separate home screen for children. Know your phone and its child proofing capabilities. Set rules for appropriate use, consequences for not following the rules, and behaviors or grades the child needs to maintain in order to keep the phone. If you do not plan on allowing your child to have a phone until later, be able to explain your reasoning.

Video games for this age group are typically rated C (early childhood) or E (everyone 6 and over). Older elementary children may also find appropriate games under E10+ (for ages 10 and up). The ratings may also include content information that explains the reasoning behind the rating. These include “mild lyrics,” “fantasy violence,” “simulated gambling” and others. These content descriptions are more important than the rating. Decide with your partner what you will allow your child to see or hear. Some parents may be okay with mild profanity but not violence, or blood but not nudity. If either of the parents plays higher rated video games, keep them out of the child’s access and limit playing those games while the child is near.

Junior High

At this age, preteens and teens typically have a strong identity with their social group. Puberty leads to budding sexuality, and teens do not always consider how their social media use may have consequences for the future. Most children at this age have a phone or non-phone device. If you are planning to wait until high school or driving age to give your child a phone, be prepared to explain your reasoning firmly, but also be aware that your child will probably still use social media through school computers and friends’ phones. Some children have told me that when they were not given a phone from home or had a phone taken away, another friend would “lose” their phone, get a new phone, and give the “lost” phone away for use as a wifi-only device.

Parents need to adjust the elementary school aged rules to allow for developing individuality while still keeping an eye on use. Talk with your child about appropriate posts, cyber bullying, and nudity. It is critical to make sure your child knows that any distribution of nude photos is a criminal act, even among minors. Having or sending nude photos counts as child pornography possession and distribution, and can lead to charges, even for the one who took the picture.

Here are signs that your child is being bullied online:

  • withdrawing from family life or reluctance to participate in school activities
  • displaying unusual sadness after using the internet
  • secretive about online activity or unusually protective of the device
  • nervous about getting notifications
  • unwilling to use the device even for schoolwork
  • change in grades, mood, activity level

You can help by being aware of your child’s online activity, keeping the lines of communication open, and protecting your child by blocking the bully and reporting the bullying where appropriate. If you discover that your child is the bully, set limits on online activity and have a discussion of the real world effects of online harassment. Many children have a sense that the online world is somehow different or separate from the real world. It’s easier to say mean things online than in person.

Your child may want to participate in creating online content through a blog or a video channel. These can be great creative outlets for your teen as well as a way to interact with others. Know the content of the channel and ask to follow them. Offering to help by holding the camera or taking pictures is a great way to monitor the content without being too intrusive. Operating a blog or channel also invites severe criticism. People are not always kind on the internet. Following the blog allows you to look at negative comments together. There are several videos from content creators that discuss dealing with harsh negative criticism from strangers.

Video games for this age group include the T (teen 13+) category in addition to the previous categories of E and E10+. T is a broad rating category for teens 13-17, so not all T games will be appropriate for a 13 year old. Again, use the content information guide to determine which T games are okay for younger teens and which will have to wait. Make sure your consoles and cloud accounts are password protected so teens are not able to purchase or download new games without your knowledge. Don’t share accounts with your teen if you play Mature or Adults Only games.

High School

As your older teen is preparing to go off to college and become a legal adult, your job as the parent is to give them increasing responsibility for their own choices and consequences. Overprotectiveness at this age does not help them develop an internal locus of control. They will make poor decisions at this age, but they need to be ready for adulthood where they will be making most or all of their decisions unsupervised.

From freshman year to senior year, older teens should be increasingly allowed to manage their own screen time, homework/play balance, online presence, and phone. You should be stepping in to manage them less and less. They should also be expected to take increasing responsibility for their consequences. This is another good time to remind your teen about the legal consequences of taking nude photos and sending them.

While your child should be able to manage their own phone and internet use at this age, here are three warning signs that you need to step in:

  1. They are unable to turn away from the internet to do any school work or get appropriate sleep
  2. They are identifying with bad groups online such as racist hate groups, suicide pact groups, or significantly older adults
  3. They are using their online presence to bully or harass others

Model good phone and internet behavior to your teen as well as a healthy balance of outdoor activity and screen time. Keep the lines of communication open as much as you can so your teen feels comfortable talking to you about issues they experience online or at school.