Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: Teenagers

Tips For Buying Your Teenagers Their First Car

(contributed post)

It can be a tough thing to accept when you realize that your kid is slowly becoming an adult. One of the biggest milestones, in their eyes, is finally being able to drive. They’ve passed their test, got their license, and given you puppy dog eyes as they begged for a car. Of course, buying your kids their first car is a big deal. There’s a lot to be considered when you buy yourself a new vehicle, so you’re probably going to put in ten times as much thought when it comes to your child (even if they’re no longer a “child”). In this article, we’ll talk about some of the things you might want to consider doing when buying your kid the first car.

Weigh up insurance options.

The first thing to weigh up is the cost of insurance. It differs based on age and experience, so you can’t base this on your own policy; the cost will, most likely, be very different for your teen. They’re a first-time driver, and they’re young. You’re going to have to do some digging to make sure you get a fair quote for them. You might want to check out a site such as cheapautoinsurance.co for a comparison of the most popular auto insurance providers out there. This is a good way to find the cheapest and most suitable policy for your kid.

Suggest an additional driving course.

Even if your teenagers have passed their driving test, you might need a little more reassurance before you buy them a car. After all, driving independently is very different to driving with an instructor sitting in the passenger seat. Obviously, letting your kids drive you around is a good way to get a first-hand perspective and weigh up their abilities. But you could take this one step further, as mentioned previously on this blog, by getting them involved with a program that’ll help reinforce the importance of safe driving.

Essentially, you need to make sure that your teenager appreciates the importance of sitting behind a wheel. Even if they’re driving their friends around, they can’t let distractions get in the way. It’s important that they know not to use their phone or simply that they shouldn’t drive recklessly just to impress their buddies. We’ve all been that age; it’s easy to do silly things, so you really need to make sure your teen knows how to drive responsibly before you even think of buying them a car.

Choose a reliable car.

This goes without saying for anyone buying a car, but it’s particularly important to choose a safe car for a first-time driver. They’re nervous and inexperienced, so they need a vehicle that’ll provide them with protection on the road in the event of an accident, even if it’s a minor bump. Big and heavy cars are well-suited to younger drivers. As explained over at blog.allstate.com, it’s not just that they provide better protection; statistics have shown that teen drivers are less likely to crash heavier cars. And as mentioned over at bankrate.com, you should also think about the safety features that come with a specific car; if the crash test results are good, then it’s worth considering.

This is one of the biggest purchases of their lives, and if you decide that they are not just going to get the “hand-me” down car, then the links above will help you make some important decisions. Even if they do get an older car, they will still need the insurance and safety driving skills. Best of all–good luck. And those of you that have been through this, let us know what other tips you’ve discovered along the way!

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4 Clear Signs Your Teenager is Ready for a Car

(contributed post)

You’ve been sitting in the passenger seat while you supervise your teenager driving for months now, and you suddenly notice how well they’re driving without you needing to guide too much anymore. It’s a big step and a big deal for this to be recognized because it means that the time you’ve spent teaching them and the test that they passed means that yes, they can comfortably drive their own car.

It can be difficult to let go of your teenager and let them drive on their own, particularly when you know the need for an accident attorney is high among teenagers due to the accident rates in cars. Car crashes are a number one killer of teenagers, and it’s important that your teenager is truly ready to take the wheel before you purchase a car for them to use. So, here below you’ll find four clear signs that your teenagers are ready to take the wheel of their own vehicle and go the distance as a safe driver.

They Have A Licence. Obvious? Yes, but it’s more than that. A licence doesn’t make a good driver, but there are plenty of support courses that a young driver can take to make sure that they are great on the road and know that they are doing well with their technique while they drive.

They Commit To Safe Driving. Teenagers of all ages need to commit to learning the rules of the road, and they also need to have it drummed in to them that they are responsible for more than just themselves when they choose to drive. There is this program  that can help your teenager understand the importance of their commitment to being safe drivers on the road.

You’ve Communicated. As a parent, you want your teenagers to be as safe as possible. Make conversation about their driving skills and strategies, not lecture them about what to do in certain situations. Talk to them, not at them, and celebrate their accomplishments while they learn their way.

They Ditch Their Cell Phones. If there is one lesson you can teach your teenager, it’s putting their cell down when they drive. Tell them to put it in the trunk of the car before they climb into the driving seat. This way, there is no temptation to answer a text or take a selfie or Snapchat their car journey. There is no feasible reason for cell phones to be in their hands while they’re driving, and this is one of the most important lessons you could impart on your teenager.

Your teenager needs to have their freedom, sure, but you need to make sure that you are setting them out onto the road with the right knowledge and the right smarts to be behind the wheel. You don’t want to send your child out into the road if they don’t know how to take responsibility for themselves. Be proud they’ve reached this point in their maturity: you’ve done well!

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Ways To Help Your Child Improve Their Self-Esteem by Charlie Baulm

Charlie Baulm is a researcher in the fields of addiction and mental health. After battling with addiction himself and finding sobriety, Charlie aims to discuss these issues with the goal of reducing the stigma associated with both. Follow him on Twitter! 

When your child has self-esteem issues, it’s not going to be as simple as a positive affirmation to solve the problem. Low self-esteem is defined as a condition when your child views himself or herself as inadequate or who can’t do anything right. This thought process is repeated until it permeates through the whole being. Unfortunately for us parents, we can unconsciously exacerbate the situation with our words and actions.

Many psychologists now are in agreement that low self-esteem is a disorder, much like body dysmorphia, which is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms are quite similar to the whole alphabet soup of conditions. The problem is that low self-esteem is such an abstract concept to be treated, which contributes to the misdiagnosis.

What the Statistics Say About Low Self-Worth

According to a study commissioned by Park Nicollet Melrose Center and titled, “Teens, Social Media And Body Image,” 8 in 10 women are not satisfied with the way they look, while 7 in 10 who actually have normal weight want to become slimmer. More than 8 in 10 girls who are 10 years old have an unusual fear of becoming fat.

More than half of 13-year-old girls are not satisfied with their bodies. In fact, a typical 10- to 14-year-old girl today could already be on a diet. By the time they hit 17 years old, the number balloons to more than 7 in 10.

Children with low-esteem problems are vulnerable in the sense that they tend to go out of their way to please everybody. They can easily be manipulated this way.

 Tips in Helping Your Child With a Low Self-Esteem

Here are some ways to help your child:

      • Positive affirmation – Avoid negative words when talking to your child and comparing them with more accomplished siblings and friends. However, be realistic with your praises.
      • Get their input in the decision-making process – This is one way for your children to forge their identities. When they realize that their voices matter in the home, they become more confident about speaking up.
      • Encourage them to learn new things – It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture like learning ballet. Even riding a horse, kayaking, or painting the shed will be enough. The important thing is you are there with them.
      • Don’t box them in – We always think that our kids are the smartest and the most beautiful small persons ever. But don’t reward their effort by equating it with a certain quality (smart, genius, strong-willed, etc.). Let them have their own identity without your constant pressure.
      • Lead by example – You can talk a good game all you want, but your child will always look at your actions first. They observe more than you think they do. How do you deal with your body image? Do you use negative self-talk in front of them?
      • Let them make a mistake – This is another way they can develop their own identity. They have to make a mistake in order to learn from it and build on it going forward. They are going to make bad decisions sometimes, don’t reprimand them for it. Rather step back and ask them what they think is the best way to handle the situation.

Unfortunately, low self-esteem can lead to addiction. Young people turn to drugs and alcohol as an outlet when they are feeling down about themselves. Another study affirms this as it claimed that girls with a low self-worth tend to engage in harmful behaviors. There are rehab facilities that help your kids manage the substance dependence but in some cases, it can take a lifetime of follow through and counseling for your child.

As parents it is important to pay attention and listen not just to what your kids are saying but more importantly, to what they are not saying. Verbal cues are important, but many times it is the subtle signs of low self-esteem that are easier to spot. Many people who struggle with low self-esteem are not comfortable talking about their issues, even with their parents. Most importantly, continue to encourage your children and speak highly about them, let them know that they are just as capable as anyone else in terms of accomplishing their goals and building their own lives.

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Teenage Kicks: Creating a Bedroom for Your Teen

(contributed article)

Even if you enjoy decorating and creating fresh and new interior designs in your home, you might not feel so excited about the prospect of redesigning your teenage childrens’ bedrooms. It’s not the actual decorating that puts off most parents – it’s the fact that their tastes might differ wildly from those of their children, and this could create some very stressful disagreements and arguments. But when your teenager outgrows her princess theme or his transportation craze, redecorating their space becomes a must! 

Thankfully, though, decorating a teen’s bedroom doesn’t always have to end in tears. Here are some great tips that can help you through it.

Talk To Them

No matter what you do, you really need to discuss the decorating project with your child. This gives you each the chance to swap ideas and inspiration. It also lets you both get anything off your chest, such as things that you don’t want to see in the bedroom. Talking openly before you start all the work will prevent any arguments from breaking out further down the line, as you can discuss differences in opinion.

Go Bright

Next, you need to think about a color scheme. Your teenager will of course have a favorite color, and hopefully, it’s an acceptable one to put on the walls. But, as it is your home, you should have the final say – that will prevent them going wild and asking for their walls to be painted black, for instance! As this is a room for a teenager, you should try and give the overall decor a youthful and playful feel, which can easily be achieved by using a bright color scheme. You can find out more about color scheme ideas at thespruce.com/.

Keep It Practical Yet Comfortable

The bedroom needs to be a comfortable space that promotes sleep. However, you should also create a practical room that is suitable for them to study in and hang out in. So, as well as adding something from comfysacks.com/, you should also consider adding practical items, such as a desk and office chair. That way, you teenager’s new bedroom can serve more than one purpose. Just remember, though, that you might not get them out of it again if they enjoy being in it so much!

Don’t Forget Storage

You should also aim to add plenty of storage to your teenager’s bedroom. All parents know that their children can accumulate a lot of stuff in a short amount of time, and they will need plenty of space to accommodate for it all. If you don’t add adequate storage, then their room will just come across as very cluttered and messy. If there isn’t much space for a dresser or chest of drawers, you should look for furniture that has hidden storage built into it, such as beds with drawers underneath.

Creating a new bedroom for your teenager doesn’t have to end in such an ordeal – the above tips can really help!

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