7 Strategies for Highly Successful Teens


A life changing program for your teens.

I am so excited to announce I have a new program for Teens, Parents and Teachers.

In this fun, entertaining and inspirational talk I go over the 7 strategies for highly effective teens.

This is nothing like your typical high school presentation.

Here are some highlights:

  • Groundbreaking research insights about the teen brain and behavior
  • Hilarious and inspiring videos
  • Immediately applicable action steps to motivate and encourage teens from all levels
  • Relatable stories for teens to feel engaged and understood

I can’t give too much away, but in this talk we delve into both the lighthearted and serious issues teens face including:

  • Effective communication with peers, parents and teachers
  • Mastering the online environment–preventing cyberbullying, staying savvy online and building a digital reputation that lasts
  • School – life balance, reducing stress and finding the right outlets
  • How to have healthy relationships with the important people in a teen’s life
  • Planning for the future, smart college applications, resume building and finding your life passions

I am stoked about this new talk and have already booked out January, February and March at High Schools, youth conferences and Parent groups around the US.

Please contact our manager Lynn Campbell for pricing and date availability:


*Yes, of course, we have a tween version!

4 Ways Parents Can Help Teens Relieve Stress

stressed, stressed teens, anxiety, anxious, overwhelmed

Vatsala is a 16-year-old from Amritsar, India. She enjoys listening to music, reading books, writing, doodling and her favorite subjects are English and Math. She wants to grow up to be a TV Journalist.

Stress is something that everybody has on their minds and, if not catered to properly, can turn out to be really bad for a person’s mind. Teens these days have a million worries—social, academic or familial problems, fitting in, getting bullied, relationships and popularity! Everything can stress a teen out. They can always turn to their friends, but the satisfaction they can get by talking to their parents is something friends can’t provide. Here are a few ways parents can help their stressed teenagers relieve that stress.


1) Talking

Talking might sound like a cliché, but it is really effective. Make them tell you their woes and their problems. Give them the advice you think will help them.

2) Family Time

To get their mind to something else, plan family time once in a while! Play, laugh and celebrate without any reason! Be spontaneous!

3) Freedom

Give teens a little freedom and space to go out with their friends and be alone for a while! Hanging out with friends can be peaceful.

4) Don’t Impose

Don’t impose your own pressures on them. Keep the atmosphere in the house calm and happy. The atmosphere affects the mind and sets the mood.

Teens might not come to talk to you, but try to indulge in their lives because in the end parents are the ones who come to their rescue!

Want to see 90210 star Shenae Grimes in a dramatic leading role? Check out the latest movie by executive producer Elliott Broidy called “Sugar”. Shenae’s leading role takes her to Venice Beach, California where she ends up making lasting relationships with other homeless teens. Rotini Rainwater and Elliott Broidy’s Sugar is inspired by real events and has goals to educate people on homelessness in America. Watch the trailer below!

Photo Credit –  Photo Literacy


Talking to Kids About Drinking And Driving

On June 22, 2013, drunken driver Matthew Cordle hit and killed Vincent Canzani. In a somber YouTube video, Cordle publicly confessed to causing the fatal crash and pledged to accept responsibility for his actions.

This tragedy sends chills down the spines of parents everywhere. How can parents protect their children from drunken drivers, and how can we help our youth understand the importance of driving sober?

Cordle’s YouTube confession, with 2 million views and counting, gives parents an impetus to have a difficult but necessary conversation with their children. Here are some tips for broaching this sensitive topic with clarity and poignancy:

1. What do they know?
When you first sit down with your child, it is important to find out what they already know and have heard about drunken driving. This is important for all ages, because it allows you to dispel any myths and work off what they have already heard at school or from friends. Here are some questions you can ask depending on your child’s age:

  • Do you know what it means to drive drunk? To drive under the influence?
  • Have you ever talked about drunken driving at school?
  • Have you heard stories about drunken driving? What do you know about it?
  • How do you think drunken driving happens?

Read the rest of my article at HLN!

What’s the big deal with failure?

ID-100177579By Jackie Charley, Author of ‘Unlock the Cage: Empowering parents to step out of fear into freedom’

Why are we all so afraid of the ‘F’ word? It seems to be the one thing we run from, or cover up at any cost.

What is the big deal with failure?

It’s always portrayed as such a negative thing. Even schools, which are supposed to be the seat of learning, make harsh distinctions between a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Yet why categorise something as ‘failed’ when it represents such a brilliant opportunity to learn? That’s not failure, that’s an open door.

“Endlessly protecting young people from any experience of failure is unhelpful. It means that failure becomes shameful, incomprehensible and much harder to bear when it happens.” Nick Luxmore, Psychotherapist and Counsellor at King Alfred’s Academy, in the UK.

The thing is nobody likes to fail, even less to be seen to have failed. But my feeling is that we need to stop running from failure.  We need to stop pretending that our kids will never fail, and we need to stop trying to protect them from doing so. Failure is a fact of life. Let’s stop treating it like the big dark bogey-man, the elephant in the room, the one thing we hope will never happen.

Let’s just take away failure’s power to scare us by holding its hand. It will be our constant companion for as long as we have breath in our bodies, so let’s take the sting out of its tail and sit down, as if with a friend, and learn what it can teach us.

How do we do that with our kids?

Well, there are quite a few things that can be done to turn failure into your best weapon, but here are two great ideas for starters:

  1. Empathise.

Let your kids know that you really understand how disappointed or frustrated they feel when things don’t go as they’d planned.  Often we so desperately want to fix things for them, to be the time-travelling hero who puts it all right again.  But even if that were possible it would be giving them a very unreal picture of the world.  What they need to hear is that we understand.  Of course, that doesn’t take away from the fact that failure can really hurt. It stings, it cuts and it thumps us in the chest. So let your kids acknowledge their emotions and cry, shout and stamp about.  That’s OK. In fact, if we truly acknowledge strong emotions they normally only last for about 90 seconds, so let them do just that and then they can move on, sit down with this ‘new friend’, and learn.

  1. Teach them that there is no failure only feedback

Read, repeat and inwardly digest this phrase. In fact, why not make it a family mantra since all our failures and mistakes are simply telling us how not to do something; we just need to work out what to do differently next time round. Let’s join the ranks of Thomas Edison who ‘failed’ 999 times before he found the right filament to make his light bulb work. Or Michael Jordan who missed 9000 shots and lost 300 games during his career but went on to be the greatest basketball player of all time. If these guys had taken failure too seriously they would have just given up. But they didn’t. They just learned from what didn’t work until eventually they found out what did.

Failure is a means, not an end

“There’s a common misconception that children develop resistance by encountering failure. That’s a myth. Children develop resilience by dealing successfully with failure.” Dr Laura Markham

Their persistence, their willingness to try again and again produces a tough internal characteristic psychologists call ‘grit’. It’s earthy, it’s real and it’s nurtured by sweat and tears. As Dr Christine Carter of Raising Happiness says: “We humans develop grit by encountering difficulty and learning to cope with it.”

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if our homes became complete ‘no blame’ zones? Places where our kids made mistakes but weren’t blown out of the water for them. Places where they dared to try new things, to discover, to mess up, and for it all to be part of the fun of learning. In this kind of home kids would learn how to look at failure without fear. They’d learn that experimenting and working out what went wrong when the honeycomb toffee hit the ceiling instead of just bubbling slightly in the pan, was just par for the course. And they’d try again. They’d become resilient and learn how to deal with disappointment. They’d learn how to adapt and change. These skills will serve them well both in their personal lives and in their future employment. What boss wouldn’t value someone who’s prepared to pick themselves up when things go wrong, who has a fearless desire to learn? Hey, what robust and independent young people we can help them become.

So, I dare you to add ‘the love of failure’ to your family’s list of values.

You up for it?

Let me know.

Image used courtesy of stockimages/ freedigitalphotos.net/

Contact details:

Jackie Profile PicWebsite: www.unlockthecage.com

Email: Jackie@unlockthecage.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreetoParent

Teen Voluntourism: A New Teen Travel Trend

Courtesy of Flickr User Mike Baird
Courtesy of Flickr User Mike Baird

Are you looking for a different kind of vacation opporuntity for your teen? A new trend called Voluntourism provides an amazing opportunity for young people to do good with their vacation time and give back while exploring the world.

Families can pick a destination and type of project. Here are some example voluntourism trips:

  • Wildlife conservation in Peru
  • Endangered species work in Africa
  • Building Schools in Southeast Asia
  • Helping Orphanages in South America

How can parents and teens voluntour successfully? Here are some tips for you:

1. Don’t Expect Luxury

Voluntourism is about helping others–it’s not about luxury hotels or big buffets. So be sure to get in the right mindset.

2. Practice A Language

While many trips do not require foreign language skills. if you took Spanish or French in High School consider signing up for a trip in a country that speaks that language. This can help you practice and your connection with local people.

3. It’s Not Free!

Usually voluntourists pay for travel expenses and sometimes even lodging or food. While this is far less than a vacation, think about it as part of your investment in doing good.

4. Safety First

Check the political climate and area crime reports before booking your trip. Also be sure to get immunizations and a full medical check-up before leaving.

5. Do Your Due Dilligence

Make sure your program is legitimate and has had success in the past. Go through a reputable organization and get references from past participants. Here are some great programs for teens.

Voluntourism Trips for Teens

Body Language for Back to School

Are there any body language tips for back to school time? Of course! Here are a few tips for parents to make the transition from summer to school easy:

Relaxation is Contagious
Most people don’t realize that body language is contagious. Just like when you see someone yawn, you yawn. This is because of our mirror neurons. We have mirror neurons that like to copy those around us. So, as the first day of school approaches be sure to keep yourself relaxed and calm. If you are nervous, your kids will feel it. So when talking about school keep “relaxed body language” so your kids mirror that. This is relaxed body language:
  • Keep your shoulders loose
  • Use normal volume
  • Don’t cross your arms
  • Head held high
Be Confident Before You Walk In
Most people don’t know that not only do our emotions change our body language, but also our body language changes our emotions. Researchers from Harvard Business School have found that when you have confident body language you begin to feel confident. If you have nervous body language you begin to feel nervous. So, before kids go to school consider pumping them up with the following tips. You can do this by playing some favorite music on the way to school or over breakfast to get kids loose and moving.
  • Smiling
  • Feet firmly planted
  • Hands above head or spread wide
  • Shoulders back and head up
Body Language for Bullies
What should a kid do if he or she has a bully? Above all else they want to avoid “victim” body language. This is the body language we all do when we lose a race or feel sad. Bullies sniff this body language out. What to avoid:
  • Head hung low
  • Body hug
  • Tucked feet
  • Knees turned in
  • Blocking behavior
Then there is winner body language and this is what kids should practice doing to show strength and confidence–remember it helps them feel this way too:
  • Find the sun (chest and head up).
  • Leave torso open
  • Shoulder width feet
  • Arms loose
Again, you mirroring good body language is best of all. We lead by example.
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Five Ways to Help Your Teen Daughter Feel Good About Herself

teen diariesThis guest post is by: Lori Ferraro is the author of the blog onceuponaproduct.com where she writes about her life long obsessions with make up, food and Mick Jagger and her past obsessions with big hair and boys. She is an actor who has been heavily involved in theatre since her parents took her to see Sarah Jessica Parker star in Annie on Broadway when she was eight years old. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon and is mom to two boys, five and eight – she hopes her house will become hang out central in the future.

How I perceived myself during my tween/teen years can be summed up in three little words:

Not. So. Great.

All you have to do is look back to my childhood/teenage diaries to see exactly what I’m talking about:

When I look back at family albums at pictures of myself there really wasn’t anything at all wrong with me. Yes I was a little overweight, but it was nothing to be overly concerned about. Yes I wore a ton of black eyeliner and dressed like Madonna, but so did all of the other girls back then.  And yes my hair was gi-normous, but it was the eighties and I was living in New York and Florida – what did you expect?

Tell her she’s beautiful.

Even if at the moment you’re not so sure – maybe she has some questionable fashion choices, wears black lipstick or has dyed her hair some insane color. She’s still your girl and she’s in there – buried – but there. She’s exploring, experimenting, expressing – figuring out who she is and where she fits in. As frustrating as it may be to you and to Grandma, it’s sooo normal. When my parents were overly concerned about my bad makeup choices in the seventh grade, my mom sneakily took me to the mall where we made a pit stop at the Clinique counter for an appointment with a woman in a white lab coat. It was my makeup intervention! I still wear Clinique’s Raspberry Glace lipstick to this day thanks to that lady in the lab coat.

teen self esteemHave her friends over.

My house was hangout central, where all the girls and guys liked to gather after school and on the weekends. My friends loved my parents – Mom and Dad took the time to get to know them, from where they grew up to who they had crushes on. My mom gave my girlfriends manicures and my dad rented horror movies for us to watch and popped popcorn with lots of butter. Our house is where we would eat pizza on a Friday night and where couples gathered to have homecoming and prom photos taken – because we all enjoyed being there. I credit my mom and dad for making “Lori’s house” the place to be/meet/hang.

Don’t deny her of the good stuff.

Short and sweet – give her the sweets. I was tormented for years, watching my girlfriends eat good old fashioned old ice cream while I sat with my little plastic cup of – blech- ice milk. Do they even make ice milk anymore? I don’t think so and I hope not, because ice milk sucks. Give your daughter ice cream. Not  the carton with a spoon – a bowl. Give her real yogurt and real sour cream too. The good stuff in moderation is so much sweeter than the bland stuff every day. 

One on one time.

During the tenth grade I was having a really hard time – my weight, my grades, my boy troubles – the usual. I remember specifically my mom taking me out to breakfast one Sunday right after church. It was out of the normal routine and weird that my dad and brother were going home rather than coming out with us. She recognized that I was struggling and had a conversation with me about what was going on, plain and simple. No talking down to me or anger over a failed test, less like a parent and more like a friend which sometimes is needed. That breakfast has always stuck with me as something special my mom did for me.

Encourage her.diary

I know – no brainer right? Whatever she’s interested in, wherever her passions lay.  In high school I tried out for pretty much everything until I found my “people” in the drama club. I ended up majoring in theatre in college and my parents supported me, never saying, “What are you going to do with a theatre degree?” and drove two hours to see me in every production I did away at school.

These are exciting years – and difficult years, full of change and growth. With support, understanding and love you will both get through them. Who knows – those questionable fashion choices may lead her to be a future season finalist on Project Runway.










Best Parenting Books for Parents of Tweens

best-parenting-book-badge1We love supporting authors and readers and we have selected our top five books for parents:

Best Books for Parents of Kids and Tweens

Smart Parenting for Smart Kids: Nurturing Your Child’s True Potential by Eileen Kennedy Moore, PhD Mark S Lowenthal, PsyD

I love how this book approaches talking to kids about achievement in success–without pushing perfection. A great read, inspiring stories, and helpful advice.

What Kids REALLY Want to Ask: Using Movies to Start Meaningful Conversations‹A Guidebook for Parents and Children Ages 10-­14 by Rhonda A. Richardson, PhD and A. Margaret Pevec, MA

“What Kids REALLY Want to Ask provides an ingenious, fun, and effective way for parents and young people to connect. And it takes exactly this connection for adult wisdom to flow to kids–and for kids to offer their insights to parents.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross

I love that this book is about simplifying the lives of parents and kids. If you want to strip down to basics and leave a calmer life, this approach to parenting is for you.

Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder by Mariah Bruehl

This author is a former teacher and knows exactly how to engage kids to learn and be excited about learning. Her ideas really resonate with both parents and kids.

No Regrets Parenting: Turning Long Days and Short Years into Cherished Moments with Your Kids by Harley Robart, M.D.

If you are not a big reader, this short and sweet book is for you. With some easy lessons and inspiring moments this book can kickstart your bonding with your kids.

Best Books for Parents of All Ages:

NurtureShock: New ThinkingAbout Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

This is an amazing book for parents that uses scientific studies to bust parenting myths and help give tools that actually work.

Scream Free Parenting by Jenny Runkel

ScreamFree Parenting is a new approach to parenting that parents rave about. The focus is on creating responsible, caring adults through improving your relationship with your child rather than just trying to “get them” to do the right thing. It contains universal principles, which teach parents to become the calm, cool, and connected influencers in their homes rather than trying to simply be game wardens or gate keepers.

Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes our Souls by Gary L. Thomas

Sacred Parenting is unlike any other parenting book you have ever read. This is not a “how-to” book that teaches you ways to discipline your kids or help them achieve their full potential. Instead of discussing how parents can change their kids, Sacred Parenting turns the tables and demonstrates how God uses our kids to change us.

Real Love and Real Love in Parenting by Greg Baer, M.D.

Greg Baer holds nothing back. Some of what he says might feel a little harsh, but can be a real wake up call to be REAL about our responsibilities and our role in our kids’ lives. Tweens and Teens of parents applying these principles will love the change they see in their parents and how they feel happier, receive more respect, autonomy, and skills to prepare them for a lifetime of powerfully REAL relationships and happiness.

Just Tell Me What To Say: Sensible Tips and Scripts For Perplexed Parents by Betsy Brown Braun

This book provides hands-on, just give-it-to-me-straight tools so that parents gain the skills and confidence they need to handle the sometimes challenging situations that inevitably accompany raising children ages 2-6 and beyond. Hailed by the New York Times as a “parenting guru,” Braun’s down-to-earth advice is derived from her expertise working with thousands of children (from toddlers to teens) and parents for over three decades.

Have you seen our other top picks? 

5 Best Board Games for Teens: Ages 13-18

best board games, best games, best board games for teens, best board games for tweens, best board games for kids, best board games for toddlers, best board games for families, best bonding board games
These games are Teen Approved by our teen interns!

At Radical Parenting we believe that board games are a great way for families to bond and connect. We highly encourage our readers and teen interns to buy board games as gifts, bring board games on family vacations and always keep a board game on hand during free time.

We have chosen 5 of our favorite board games for teens.

5 Best Board Games for Teens: (Ages 13-18)

Teaching kids about money, best board games for teens, best board games for families
One of my favorite games of all time!

1. Ticket to Ride

This game is surprisingly engaging and fun. It is a newer game but absolutely worth trying out–your family will soon be addicted! Teens also love playing this themselves as the strategy and take-overs of rail lines are similar to risk and monopoly combined.

Description of Ticket to Ride: October 2, 1900 – it’s 28 years to the day that noted London eccentric, Phileas Fogg accepted and then won a bet that he could travel “Around the World in 80 Days.” Now, at the dawn of the century, some old friends have gathered to celebrate Fogg’s impetuous and lucrative gamble – and to propose a new wager of their own. The stakes: $1 million in a winner-takes-all competition. The objective: to see the most cities in North America – in just 7 days. Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure game. Players collect train cards that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who can fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway. For 2 to 5 players ages 8 and older. Playing time: 30-60 minutes. Comes with: 1 Board map of North American train routes, 240 Colored Train Cars, 110 Train Car cards, 30 Destination Tickets, 5 Wooden Scoring Markers, 1 Days of Wonder Online access number, and a Rules booklet.

2. Say Anything

I love games that get people talking and communicating. This one is hilarious and helps players get to know each other. Say Anything is a great social skill builder game and get to know you game if teens aren’t talking as much as parents would like!

Description of Say Anything: From the makers of the award-winning Wits and Wagers comes the next great party game – *Say Anything*. Say Anything is a light-hearted game about what you and your friends think. It gives you the chance to settle questions that have been hotly debated for centuries. For instance, “What’s the best movie of all time?” or “If I could have a BIG anything, what would it be?” So dig deep into your heart or just come up with something witty – this is your chance to Say Anything. Say Anything combines the best elements of Wits and Wagers and Apples to Apples. 1) Ask any question from the card you draw, such as “What’s the best movie of all time?” or “If I could have a BIG anything, what would it be?” 2) Everyone else writes an answer and turns it face-up. 3) Secretly choose your favorite of these answers. Then everyone tries to guess which one you picked. Play *Say Anything* – and find out what your friends really think. Ages: teens and adults. Players: 3 – 8. Teach time: 2 minutes. Play time: 35 minutes.

3. Cashflow Game! 

This is one of the most amazing board games I have ever played. It might seem a little expensive but it is amazing–not just for your kids, but for you as well. It is played in schools across the country and is the most fun way I have found to teach (and learn) about finances.

Description of the Cashflow Game:  The Board Game USA Today Calls “Monopoly on Steroids”. It’s Time to Get Out of the Rat Race. What’s your dream? Freedom of time? Unlimited resources to travel the world? Whatever it may be, CASHFLOW 101 teaches you how to get out of the Rat Race and onto the Fast Track, how to make your money work for you Ð not the other way around. CASHFLOW 101 is an educational board game that simulates real life financial strategies and situations. As a simulation, you learn valuable lessons and gain priceless insights into personal finance and investing without having to put your actual money at risk. Developed by Robert Kiyosaki, author of the #1 personal finance book of all time, Rich Dad Poor Dad, CASHFLOW 101 is the ultimate realization of Robert’s vision of an interactive tool for financial education, and the fulfillment of his belief that we learn best by doing. With CASHFLOW 101 you: Practice real world investing with play moneyLearn the differences between an asset and a liabilityDiscover the power of understanding your personal financial statementPlan your strategy with Opportunity Cards that include Big and Small DealsChoose your dream, learn the secrets of the rich, and get on the financial fast track. CASHFLOW 101 is an educational board game that teaches accounting, finance, and investing at the same time – and makes learning fun! 

4. Settlers of Catan

My sisters and Dad love this game so much they actually travel with it. Great for strategizing and thinking critically. It is a more modern game of Risk.

Description of Settlers of Catan: The Settlers of Catan from Mayfair Games is an award-winning strategy game where players collect resources and use them to build roads, settlements and cities on their way to victory. The board itself is variable, making each game a little different from the next. Each round of The Settlers of Catan is intended to keep three or four players ages 10 and above engaged for up to 90 minutes. It’s easy to see why The Settlers of Catan has been recognized as a best-selling Game of the Year in both Germany and the U. S. We found this game to be fun and engaging for both children and adults, and the variable nature of the playing field really made us want to play again and again. When we started pausing to contemplate our opponents’ strategy and factoring the probability of different dice rolls into our moves, the game sometimes took longer than expected, but we were so engrossed we didn’t even notice until it was all over.

5.  Scrabble

This is, of course, an oldie but goodie. We have to encourage kids to spell–and think, and grow their vocabulary! Scrabble is a great way to get teens thinking about words and strategizing in their heads. Have a dictionary handy to avoid fights!

Description of Scrabble: The all-American classic crossword game. Your Scrabble words won’t be slip slidin’ away, thanks to this board’s clever “tile-lock” design. There are also soft pads on its bottom that allow you to effortlessly slide the board across a table or rotate it for a better view. And, the compact size of the board, tiles and racks, make the game ideal for travel. You can play Scrabble in a car, train, plane or boat with no worries.

Board games are an awesome way to learn strategy and bond with family and friends. Try having a game night in your house or hosting a game night for your child and their friends.

Have you seen our other top picks?