Guide to Dealing with Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is a very serious issue. Whether it was an isolated incident or a series of events, no one ever deserves to be sexually abused. If you or your family are in immediate danger, call 911 for help.

This guide will help you to understand:

  • what types of acts or behaviors constitute sexual abuse
  • what are the different kinds of sexual abuse
  • how to cope with being sexually abused
  • where to go for guidance and support

Sexual abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse, and is one of the least reported. In fact, it’s been estimated that 63% of sexual assaults are never reported to the police and 88% of child sexual abuse goes unreported.

These statistics are even more shocking when the frequency of these acts is taken into account. One in five women, for instance, will be raped in her lifetime according to experts. Beyond that, almost half of all women and 20% of men have experienced some form of sexual assault at one point in their lives.

Since this type of abuse is so often unreported, the victims will rarely get the help they need to overcome the emotional damage it has caused.

What Kinds of Sexual Abuse Are There?

Listed below are three categories that many instances of sexual abuse fall under:

  • Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is defined by the United States Department of Justice as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” It can include acts such as fondling, groping, attempted rape, and forced masturbation.
  • Rape: Rape is a type of sexual assault that usually involves some degree of sexual penetration or intercourse and is performed without one person’s consent.
  • Child Sexual Abuse: Child sexual abuse can be physical and non-physical. All sexual touching between an adult and a child or between a significantly older child and a child is considered child sexual abuse. Non-physical acts of child sexual abuse can include acts such as exposing oneself to a child, child voyeurism (spying without consent), exposing inappropriate sexual material to a child such as pornography or overly sexual language, as well as the viewing, creation, and distributing of child pornography.

It is also important to remember that there are other types of sexual abuse that do not fall into these categories. Verbal sexual abuse, for instance, is also quite common and can be just as damaging as physical abuse. Some examples are catcalling and sexual harassment.

Acts known as “revenge porn” are also a form of sexual abuse. This is a term used to describe sharing explicit material (such as photographs or videos) of intimate partners or ex-partners to other people without their consent. It usually occurs after a separation and can be spread through the Internet.

In many states, any type of sexual abuse, whether it be physical, verbal, or otherwise, is illegal and is punished with tough penalties, fines, prison time, and may require the offender to be listed on a registry of sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is more common than most people think. Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted, and over 321,000 people aged 12 or older are sexually assaulted every year in the United States. Furthermore, experts estimate that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.

Another alarming fact about sexual assault is that the attackers are usually someone that the victim knows. In fact, only 3 out of 10 sexual assaults are committed by a stranger, leaving 70% of the assaults perpetrated by someone the victim knows.

One type of abuse that accounts for a large portion of sexual assault cases is “date rape”. Also known as “acquaintance rape”, date rape is a form of rape that occurs between individuals that may have had a romantic or potentially sexual relationship. It is most prevalent on college campuses and can go hand in hand with drug and alcohol use, sometimes resulting in the victim being raped while unconscious.

No matter the situation, any type of sexual behavior that occurs without both parties’ consent and should be taken very seriously.

What to Do If You’ve Been Sexually Assaulted

If you have been sexually assaulted, it is important that you follow these steps:

  1. If you are still in danger, CALL 911.The most important thing to do after being sexually assaulted is to make sure you are out of harm’s way by finding a safe location such as the home of a friend, family member, or trusted individual. A medical facility or police department would also be a safe place, if you know that you want to report the assault.
  2. Contact a local sexual assault crisis center or a national sexual assault hotline such as the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). They can help connect you with a local crisis center and give you information on what to do next.
  3. Consider reporting the incident to the police. If you decide to report the assault, you need to be guided to a facility that will utilize a rape kit to help preserve any DNA evidence that can be used against your attacker.
  4. Consider scheduling a medical examination as well to check for internal injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, or pregnancy. The more your medical practitioner knows about the situation, the more they will be able to help you.

Support After Sexual Assault

Sexual assault can cause serious emotional and psychological problems for victims, which is why it is important to build a system of support. Confide in friends and family who you trust to be there to help you.

You can also utilize the following resources to help you cope with the lasting effects of your sexual assault:

Additionally, you can perform an online search for the terms “sexual assault support” and “rape support” in your zip code to find other resources and support groups that are ready to help you recover.

Sexual Abuse in a Relationship

Sexual abuse doesn’t only occur among acquaintances or strangers. In fact, 1 out of 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner and 15.8% of women and 9.5% of men have experienced some form of sexual abuse by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.

Also known as intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV), this type of sexual abuse can be particularly devastating, as many victims don’t even know that they are being sexually abused at all. However, it is important to realize that any time a participant in a sexual act does not give consent, even if this act is with their sexual partner, that act is still considered sexual assault. You should never be forced into a sexual situation unwillingly.

Some examples of intimate partner sexual violence include:

  • forced sexual acts such as vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
  • forced sexual acts with others
  • unwanted touching or groping
  • forced masturbation
  • emotional abuse as a result of not giving in to sexual demands

Taking Action Against Sexual Abuse in a Relationship

Many victims of intimate partner sexual violence choose not to seek help due to the nature of their relationship. It could be because they are concerned with their safety and the safety of their family members, they do not want to hurt their partners, or they don’t even know that what is happening to them constitutes abuse.

It is important to realize that sexual abuse is an enormous risk factor for physical abuse, emotional abuse, and possibly homicide. In fact, a physically abused woman who is also sexually abused is 7 times more likely to be murdered than other abused women. That’s why taking the steps to either seek help or end the relationship is so critical.

Support for Victims of Sexual Abuse in a Relationship

If you are suffering from sexual abuse in your relationship, reach out to friends and family for emotional support. You should also contact the RAINN national helpline for sexual abuse at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for professional advice.

You can also find more information and support groups through the following resources:

Additionally, you can perform an online search using the terms “domestic sexual abuse”, “partner sexual abuse”, or “intimate partner sexual violence”to find even more information and support.

Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is more common than most people would like to think. For instance, the National Center for Victims of Crime reports that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are the victims of child sexual abuse. Furthermore, some studies show that 5% to 10% of adult males and 20% of adult females recall a childhood sexual assault or incident of sexual abuse.

Just as with other forms of sexual abuse, the attacker is most often someone that the child knows. They can be a family member, neighbor, teacher, coach, friend of the family, or a child that is significantly older (usually 3 years or more).

Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children

Recognizing the signs of sexual abuse in children is a crucial step. Use the lists below (provided by ParentsProtect.co.uk) to help you determine if someone you know and care about may be the victim of sexual abuse. Keep in mind that these signs may be caused by a variety of factors and may not point definitively to sexual abuse.

  • Non-Physical warning signs of sexual abuse in children
    • Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects
    • Nightmares, sleeping problems
    • Becoming withdrawn or very clingy
    • Becoming unusually secretive
    • Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings, and seeming insecure
    • Regressing to younger behaviors, e.g. bedwetting
    • Unaccountable fear of particular places or people
    • Outburst of anger
    • Changes in eating habits
    • New adult words for body parts and no obvious source
    • Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts
    • Self-harm (cutting, burning or other harmful activities)
    • Running away
    • Not wanting to be alone with a particular adult, child or young person
  • Physical warning signs of sexual abuse in children
    • Pain, discoloration, bleeding or discharges in genitals, anus or mouth
    • Unexplained soreness or bruises around genitals or mouth, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy
    • Persistent or recurring pain during urination and bowel movements
    • Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training

Support for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

If you or someone you know has been the victim of child sexual abuse and needs help on who to talk to or what steps to take, call one of these national helplines:

  • RAINN Helpline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • Darkness to Light National Child Sexual Abuse Helpline: 1-866-FOR-LIGHT (367-5444)
  • National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678)
  • National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AC-HILD (422-4453)

You can also find more information on the subject as well support groups using these resources:

You can find more information online by conducting a search for “child sexual abuse support”.

If you are an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, use the resources below to find additional information and support groups.

http://pandys.org

DISCLAIMER: This guide is provided only for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for legal or other professional advice. This guide does not contain nor is it intended to provide legal or other professional advice for any specific situation and readers should not take action or refrain from taking action, based only on the information provided in this guide. Goldberg & Osborne has attempted to provide accurate and current information in this guide, but cannot and does not guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up to date. This guide may contain links and/or search terms that will lead to external websites as a convenience to the reader, but Goldberg & Osborne is not responsible for the content or operation of any website other than its own website. The presence of a link or a search term does not imply and is not an endorsement by Goldberg & Osborne of the website provider or the information contained on any linked website or on any website contained in search results from a search term provided in the guide.

Guide to Traveling Outside of the U.S.

It is vacation time and you’ve decided you’re taking a trip overseas this year. So much fun awaits you: new food, new people, and new sights. In fact, there are so many new things, you may feel a bit nervous. Not to fear. This guide provides plenty of information to help you manage foreign currencies, foreign languages, foreign food, and foreign weather like a local.

First Things First: Safety

Our U.S. Department of State provides critical information regarding areas of the world that may pose a threat to your safety and security by issuing travel warnings and alerts on their website under the “Travel Alerts & Warnings” portion of their webpage at U.S. State Department. There is also a search bar so that you can enter the name of any country for more information. It is important that you check this website to understand any health and safety risks associated with the county you plan to visit.

Get a Passport

If you don’t have a passport, get one. If you do have a passport, make sure it hasn’t expired and won’t expire within six months after your travel dates. Without a passport, you cannot enter another country. In fact, in many countries, your passport serves as your main form of identification. It takes about six weeks to receive your passport after submitting the application, so begin the process as early as you can. Expedited services are available, but at a much higher fee.

The United States Department of State offers international travelers a wealth of information on its site. Start by printing and completing the application linked above, but do not sign it until asked to do so by an authorized agent, per the passport form instructions. You will need to provide proof of citizenship, such as an original, government issued birth certificate or certificate of naturalization (the hospital version is not acceptable). If you don’t have a government issued birth certificate, one can be obtained from the Department of Vital Statistics of the state in which you were born. In addition, you need a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or military ID, as well as a single-sided photocopy of the front and back of your identification.

When submitting your application, you must also provide a recent color photo that measures 2 inches by 2 inches. It should include a full-face view with a neutral expression or natural smile, with both eyes open. You can usually get a photo made at stores near a Passport Acceptance Facility. Request extra copies and attach them to the passport cover. Some countries request them, and you may need one for a visa as well.

The cost of a passport plus execution fees is around $135 as of 2016.

Deciding Where to Go

You may already know where you want to go, but some people may actually only have a vague desire “to travel”. Here are some pointers to help with your decision:

  • Research the destination to understand any health, safety and weather risks in the area.
  • Choose a place with good public transportation. You don’t want the expense of a car rental or the fear of driving in another country. Most countries’ driving laws vary widely from America’s.
  • Base your stay in a city to truly immerse yourself in a new and different culture. You can, and should, travel around and outside the city, but cities make great base camps.
  • Consider the local cuisine, and ask yourself if you can handle eating it for the entirety of your trip.
  • When conducting your research (see the next section) discover when the tourist season happens, and then consider avoiding visiting during that time. The prices are higher, and the sheer number of people makes enjoying your trip more difficult.

Next, you need to choose housing for your visit. Hostels are a popular, low-cost option that are especially popular with young people. You may also choose to camp, either in an organized site or out in the wild.

Hotels and home/room rentals through sites such as AirBnB are other popular options. You can also find free lodging with couchsurfing.org. On the other hand, there are typically luxury resorts, boutique hotels, quaint inns, villa rentals and all-inclusive locations also available.

Research, Research, Research

When you’re home, you don’t have to think about things like:

  • How much colder does it get at night?
  • Does it rain a lot in March?
  • How much is this in U.S. dollars?
  • Does anyone in here understand English?
  • What happens if I get hurt, can I go to the doctor?

The fact that you don’t need to think about these things means that you don’t typically think about these things when planning to travel. You know that $5 is $5, that it’s about 20 degrees colder at night where you live, and that everywhere you go, people speak English. Answering these questions before traveling, though, makes a huge difference in how much you enjoy your trip.

Look up the weather in your country of choice; don’t expect it to mirror yours. For example, if it’s August in Melbourne, Australia it is winter, so pack accordingly. And, if you’re going to Europe, plan on rain no matter what time of year it is.

Look up exchange rates, as well. You’ll need cash for some activities; not everyone accepts credit cards. With a basic knowledge of the exchange rate, you also know the approximate price in dollars and won’t panic when you see a trinket in Mexico priced at 100 Mexican pesos, because you’ll know that’s only about $ 5.30 in US dollars (subject to exchange rate changes).

On the subject of money, call your bank and credit card companies before you leave. First, you need to let them know to expect, and approve, foreign charges. Second, most countries no longer accept credit card with only a magnetic strip and not a chip.  Most U.S. financial institutions have issued chipped cards, but some have not. Request one if you don’t have one.

As for the language barrier, try to learn a few basic phrases before you go. The first should be, “Do you speak English?” In most countries, you’ll find plenty of people who speak English, but it’s always polite to ask in the local language. Making an effort to learn and use basic pleasantries in the local language can help break down barriers and connect with the locals. You should learn how to say things like “Please”, “Thank you”, “Good morning”, as well as helpful words and phrases such as “Where is the bathroom?”, and “Police”, “Emergency”, etc.

For medical emergencies abroad, you may need to look into supplemental insurance.

You also need to worry about different laws and rules when you travel. For example, some countries require both a visa and a passport. The U.S. State Department  provides a lot of these answers. Just click on the country you want to visit and it shares everything from embassy information, restrictions for entering and leaving the country, whether you need vaccinations, and much more.

What to Pack

You know the weather from your research, so pack accordingly. If possible, use only carry-on luggage that holds enough essentials for a week. If you need to check luggage, look at the airline’s weight restrictions. First, weigh yourself. Next, weigh yourself while holding your suitcase. The difference is what your luggage weighs. In addition, if you check your bags, pack enough clothes for 24 hours in your carry-on bag.

The weather isn’t the only thing dictating what you wear. Be respectful of the local culture and dress appropriately. In addition, pack clothes reflective of the country you’re visiting. Most cultures are a bit more formal than Americans are when it comes to dress.

Don’t forget items like chargers and converters so you can plug them in. Also, packing a few snacks for the plane as well as the hotel room is always a good idea.

International Flights: What Should You Expect?

Before your plane takes off, save yourself a bundle on roaming rates and switch off your mobile data. You’re on vacation anyway. Upload all of your selfies after you get home, or use public Wi-Fi.

This is likely a long flight, so dress comfortably. You can change before landing if you prefer. Pack items that help you relax or fall asleep, like a neck pillow or eye mask. You also want something to occupy your time.

During the flight, the airline may try to help passengers avoid jetlag by dimming cabin lights to match the sleep time of your destination city, and even serve meals the same way. Feel free to walk around occasionally to remove stiffness, but try to remain quiet if other passengers are attempting to sleep.

Before landing, most airlines provide passengers with the required customs forms to complete before deplaning. These usually include questions about the flight number and departure city, as well as recent travel and whether you packed anything unusual.

Act Like a Visitor, Not a Tourist

There is nothing wrong with being a tourist, visiting the big tourist attractions, and taking pictures. However, recognize that tourists get a bad reputation in nearly every country and probably even in your hometown. Not for being tourists, but for acting like tourists.

So, how do you act like a visitor instead? Be humble and curious with the people you meet. You’re visiting another country; take an interest in the people living there. Listen to them and be open to the differences you’ll find. Just because they do some things differently than in America, that doesn’t make them weird. They’re just different.

The locals know the best restaurants, the best shops, and the best attractions, so ask them. Then give their recommendations a try. By adapting and adopting the local attitudes, and living life at their pace, at least during your visit, you seriously increase the odds that you’ll have a great time.

We would like to thank Covington Travel for providing their professional input for this Guide.

DISCLAIMER: This guide is provided only for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for legal or other professional advice. This guide does not contain nor is it intended to provide legal or other professional advice for any specific situation and readers should not take action or refrain from taking action, based only on the information provided in this guide. Goldberg & Osborne has attempted to provide accurate and current information in this guide, but cannot and does not guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up to date. This guide may contain links and/or search terms that will lead to external websites as a convenience to the reader, but Goldberg & Osborne is not responsible for the content or operation of any website other than its own website. The presence of a link or a search term does not imply and is not an endorsement by Goldberg & Osborne of the website provider or the information contained on any linked website or on any website contained in search results from a search term provided in the guide.

Arizona Car Accident Deaths Increase Over Seven Percent in 2016

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has released a new report showing a discouraging trend in Arizona car accident deaths.

In 2016, 962 people lost their lives in the state as a result of injuries sustained from an automobile or vehicle accident on highways or streets. That’s 65 more deaths in 2016 versus 2015 or a 7.3 percent increase, and the second straight year traffic-related deaths have increased.

Of the 962 deaths last year, 250 or over 25 percent were the result of the driver or passenger not using a seat belt. That’s a decrease of eight deaths compared to 2014.

Crashes involving impairment due to alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medication resulted in 406 deaths.

On average a motorist or passenger was killed every 9.11 hours in 2016.

Despite the fatality increase in Arizona car accidents over the past two years, historically traffic-related deaths are down from the previous decade where the all-time record was set in 2006 with 1,301 fatalities.

Visit the full ADOT motor vehicle crash facts report for more Arizona Car Accident death statistics.

Please drive safely and keep your eyes on the road and away from distractions such as cell phones.

Apple to Combat Distracted Driving with “Do Not Disturb While Driving” iPhone Feature

“When you’re driving, just drive.” That’s Apple’s new mantra to combat distracted driving following a much-needed new feature coming soon to iPhones.

As part of Apple’s upcoming newly announced iOS 11, the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature will block all incoming calls, text messages, and notifications. Those trying to contact a person who has the feature activated will receive a short, polite and automated response notifying them that the party is unavailable while driving.

When this optional mode is activated by the driver, the iPhone will automatically lock when the car is in motion or the iPhone is connected to the car via a cable or Bluetooth. However, someone else in the vehicle could unlock the iPhone and use it while the driver continues to drive.

The iPhone lock won’t restrict visibility of Apple Maps so that a driver can still receive directions. They will not be able to input new directions as someone else in the car would need to disable the feature and perform that task.

Apple CarPlay will still work in vehicles that support the hands-off feature allowing voice-activated calls and texting while driving.

“Do Not Disturb While Driving” comes at a crucial time when distracted driving injuries and deaths are on the rise, especially for younger drivers. The feature will release this fall with iOS 11, and will rely on the driver’s responsibility to themselves and others on the road to activate and use it on their iPhone.

Goldberg & Osborne continues to support distracted driving awareness through our Don’t Text and Drive Scholarships.

Guide to Dealing with Your Teenager’s Challenges

As most parents know, raising a teenager can be a challenge. In a landscape riddled with social and emotional landmines, unprovoked outbursts, irrational thinking, and a bevy of new and possibly harmful experiences ahead, it’s no wonder that many parents feel overwhelmed when it comes to providing guidance for their teenage son or daughter.

But as any good parent knows, in order to better raise your growing child, you need to grow along with them. That means switching up your parenting and discipline strategies, learning to give your teenager a bit more independence, and, most importantly, actively developing patience and an understanding of their issues.

Before getting into the techniques and strategies you can use to make dealing with your teenager’s challenges easier, it’s important to understand a bit of background on the changes they’re going through.

Understanding Developmental Changes in Teenagers

As with any developmental period, the more you know about what your teenager is going through internally, the better equipped you’ll be to help them overcome the obstacles of this particularly difficult stage of growth.

When it comes to physical changes in the body, the teenage years are especially bumpy. Puberty, the physical maturation of a child, usually begins around the ages of 10 to 14 for girls and 12 to 16 for boys. It’s during this stage that their sexual organs, as well as their secondary sexual characteristics, begin to develop. For girls, that means the growth of breasts and body hair along with the widening of hips. Boys will experience a deepening voice, increased body and facial hair, and broadening of shoulders.

For many teenagers, these rapid and noticeable changes can be a great source of embarrassment. Both early and late bloomers might find themselves insecure about how different they now look from their peers, and they may even be subjected to teasing and bullying at school because of it.

Beyond that, teenagers will usually experience quick bursts of intense growth, sometimes shooting up several inches in just a few months. With such a short period of time to get used to their new body, many teenagers will feel clumsy and uncoordinated while they adjust, leading to even more insecurity.

While the hardships that come with these observable changes might be difficult for your child to get used to, some of the biggest changes actually occur in the mind. Although your teenager might be taller than you and appear to be almost an adult, the truth is the human brain isn’t fully developed until the age of about 25.

For adults over that age, most of our decisions are based on the thought processes controlled by the frontal cortex, a region dedicated to rational thinking and predicting the consequences of our actions. For teenagers, however, their frontal cortex is still in the developmental phases. As a result, teens tend to react to situations with their amygdala, an almond-sized structure in the brain that’s responsible for immediate reactions like fear and aggression.

What does that mean for teenagers? In addition to the raging hormones and social pressures that these years bring, your teenager is also stuck making decisions using an emotional brain rather than a rational one.

The takeaway from this is that your teen son or daughter is experiencing a flurry of new emotions, impulses, desires, and insecurities during this period. Consequently, their actions and reactions might seem a bit over-the-top to you. But if you make an effort to be especially patient with them and try to connect as much as possible, you and your teenager will both be happier because of it.

A great resource for finding out more about your teenager’s intellectual and emotional development is the National Institute of Mental Health’s publication The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction.

Bonding with Your Teenager

One of the great challenges of parenting during these years is finding a way to maintain a connection with your teenager. This can be especially difficult as it was likely just a few years ago that your son or daughter was a happy little kid that wanted nothing more than to have your undivided attention. However, if you maintain a good, respectful relationship and an open line of communication as they grow up, it can make things easier through the teenage years.

But between the fierce new independence, the social groups that they just won’t stop talking about, and their unwillingness to communicate as much with you, it can be tough to actually have a conversation with your teenager. With a little patience and persistence, however, connecting with your teen can help them to overcome their obstacles and help you to better understand what’s going through their head.

One of the best ways of opening up your lines of communication is by finding a common ground with your teen. It could mean a love of cooking or action movies, an interest in sports or theater, camping, or even just a hobby like video games or knitting. The key here is to find something that you can do together. Finding a way to create more face-time with your teenager can do wonders for your relationship. It will give them more opportunities to open up about issues that might be on their minds.

If your teen does decide to open up to you about an issue, it’s important that you listen to them without offering advice or judgement. Unless they specifically ask for your two cents, or they are in a particularly dangerous or inappropriate situation, your teenager is most likely just looking for someone to listen to them or is trying to include you in their life. If you criticize them, they might not be so willing to open up in the future. Asking helpful questions or offering them food for thought may help them come to healthy conclusions to issues they are dealing with, on their own.

Another tip for communicating is to be fully present in the moment. While you might be tempted to check emails or read the newspaper during family breakfast or dinner, this is actually the best time to check in with your teenager about what’s going on in their life. Try to make these gatherings as distraction-free as possible (e.g. no phones, TV, or magazines). Choose to be fully committed to family time.

One of the best tips for communicating with your teen son or daughter is get used to (and get over) being rejected. Teenagers are always trying to assert their independence and, as a result, will typically recoil from their parents as much as they can. Even though your son or daughter might seem distant and indifferent, every child needs to feel loved. Simply making the effort to be available to them lets them know you care.

If you need advice on how to talk to your teenager or want to learn more about what they might be going through, feel free to call the National Parent Helpline at 1-855-4A PARENT (1-855-427-2736) or head over to the Teen Health & Wellness organization’s website where you can find a variety of resources to help you understand issues such as bullying, school violence, and sexuality.

Disciplining Your Teenager

As every parent knows, no matter how strong your bond might be, you’ll eventually have to discipline your teenager. Some people find this aspect of parenting to be especially difficult during the teen years either because their son or daughter is particularly defiant, or the parent is being too lax in order to get on their good side. Either way, your role as a parent is to protect your teenager (within reason) and ensure respectful obedience.

In order to do that, you must create rules and structure for your teenager to follow. Curfews, bedtimes, electronic device regulations, chores, and academic expectations are all ways that you can add structure to your teen’s life and help keep them from neglecting their duties. As long as these rules are within reason (e.g. no 7 o’clock bedtimes) and are communicated, it is your responsibility to stick to the punishment associated with not following them.

When it comes time to discipline them for not obeying the rules of the house, there are two crucial tips for dealing with the aftermath: keep your cool and give them some space. Just as you likely won’t be able to make the best decisions when you’re upset, your teenager might just need to rethink their actions once they have a clearer head. Both of these strategies will ensure that both you and your teenager don’t make the situation worse by entering into an emotionally charged debate. If coming home after curfew (without a really good reason) means not going out the following weekend, stick to that rule and follow through. You are likely to have less pushback and can avoid a debate if the rules and consequences have been established. Knowing there are consequences to bad decisions will hopefully steer your teenager toward making good decisions.

Beyond simple obedience, the structure you create will also give your teenager something they can rely on. In a world of chaotic feelings and social relationships that change from hour to hour, having the stability of dinner at 6:30p.m. or family night every Tuesday can mean the world to a teen.

Where to Seek Help

Parenting can be tough job. And if you are raising a family by yourself, the burden can be even heavier. But when your teenager begins to exhibit especially troubling behaviors like heavy alcohol and drug use, violent actions at home or at school, or threatening physical harm to others, it may be time to seek professional help.

That’s why it’s important for you to realize that there are options to help you manage an especially troublesome child. In addition to the helplines referenced above (the National Parent Helpline at 1-855-4A PARENT (1-855-427-2736) or the Teen Health & Wellness organization’s website), parents can also choose to seek professional family counseling.

Doing so will not only give you an objective perspective on your troublesome teenager’s actions, it can also help facilitate communication between family members and give you access to expert advice from a qualified professional. A good place to start is GoodTherapy.org, where you can use their counselor locator to find help near you.

Parents can also choose to use residential programs that will house your teenager over an extended period of time. Boarding schools, summer programs, and short retreats can all give your difficult teen the professional help they just might need. Have a look at P.U.R.E. (Parents Universal Resource Experts) for more information on these programs.

Anyone looking to find more information on the topic can use the search terms “teenager advice for parents,” “raising teens help,” or “teenager behavior tips.”

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