Four Tips for Vacationing with Teens

Ara is a 16-year-old from Edmonds, WA. She enjoys blogging, spending time with her family and hopes to somehow incorporate her passion of writing into what she does in the future.


Vacationing with teens, traveling, parenting, tips, teens, teenagresParents often cringe at the thought of vacationing with teens, for multiple reasons. But, contrary to popular belief, most teens actually like spending time with family. Just like parents, teens want to make vacationing with their family as stress free as possible. That’s the point of a vacation anyway, right? With spring break just around the corner and summer fast approaching, it is helpful to keep in mind ways to help accomplish this.



  1. Decide on a place that the whole family agrees on, including your teen. Although this may seem like a daunting task, it is definitely possible. It is helpful to talk to your teens and find out what they would be interested in doing on a vacation and what sort of locations would be ideal to them, along with taking into consideration yours and the rest of the family’s opinions.


  1. Give them their space. Giving your teen their space is extremely important, especially because on a lot of vacations parents and teens share a room together in a hotel or lodge. Therefore, entire families are together almost 24/7. Allow your teen some time to relax by themselves in the hotel room or keep an eye on them as they explore the location.


  1. Consider letting them bring a friend. It is an easy solution to ensure they have fun without being too cost-prohibitive.


  1. Plan to do things that they are interested in also. Taking scuba diving lessons? Swimming? Camping? Get your teens’ input on what they would like to do also—after all, it’s their vacation too!

Overall, just try to relax and enjoy yourselves. Vacations are meant to be a time away from work, school and other stressful factors— so have fun and don’t over-plan or worry about it too much!


Photo credit: Kevin Dooley from Flickr

Healthy Tips for Teens

Dana is a 16 year old from Hi-nella, NJ. She loves to write and enjoys reading, singing, and shopping. Her goal is to help others through her writing, and bring attention to important topics.

Health, tips, teensIt is said that as time progresses America’s youth gets bigger, literally. The obesity rate in children is increasingly larger than what it used to be and parents are constantly being criticized for not providing an active enough lifestyle for their children. However, I think that efforts over the past few years made by the consumer industry are really helping out the problem. For example, the weight of kids in America went up when they were sitting around all day doing what kids like to do, playing video games. Now, though, we have things like the Wii (an interactive game system), calorie counting apps for the iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, or laptop, teen weight loss support groups, etc. Here are some healthy tips that worked for me and I believe will work for any teenager; and get this, they’re all “cool” ways to do it that are even fun for your child. This article isn’t aimed at weight loss, it is so teens and kids alike can achieve overall health in trendy ways.

Exercise at least 30-60 minutes a day.
In the world we live in today, I’m sorry, but there is absolutely no reason teenagers cant exercise daily, and I’m not just talking about parking your car a little further so you have a hike to the store your going in. I am talking real exercise. Even if it is just going for a run or a brisk walk, make sure you get your exercise for the day completed. If you have the Wii system, honestly, in my opinion, it is one of the most awesome weight loss tools. I buy fitness and interactive games for it that gets me moving. I use a game called Zumba and it helped me shed 50 pounds over the last year, and it can work for you too! There are also the Just Dance games that are greatly helpful in getting your butt up and moving! Weather you go running, Zumba, jogging, or something else just make sure you get at least 30 to 60 minutes of real exercise a day.

MyNetDiary app for the iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, or even just online!
Have an iPod or a computer? That was sort of a dumb question, huh? These days it’s rare that a teenager doesn’t, but that is also why this tip is so useful and effective. When my friend told me about it, I’ll admit, I thought it was stupid. I thought if you just cut certain things out of your diet and exercise daily you don’t need to do that, which is mostly true. While it may not be totally necessary I really think it can help you out. For me, it actually made me think about what I was putting into my mouth and made me realize some things that I think are healthy really aren’t, most of the time. It really opened my eyes to the fact that it’s not always how much you eat (because I’ve never been a big eater) but mainly what you eat and how much you exercise. You set up your profile by putting your current height and weight in, then your goal weight. It calculates how many calories you can have per day in order to reach your goal; it even tells you the exact date that you will reach your goal weight if you follow your calorie plan. When you eat something you type in it the search and the nutrition facts come up for what you are about to consume, then you decide if it is worth it or not. In my opinion it is a highly effective tool that can do wonders for you if used properly. Even when you reach your goal it will tell you how many calories you need to maintain that weight. If you don’t need to lose weight it is still a great way to watch your sodium, saturated fat, carb intake, etc.

No Soda!
You may think nothing of grabbing a canned soda out of the fridge or putting a liter or two of it in your shopping cart, but soda is probably one of the worst things that a person can put into their body and it is often one of the most common. Trust me I was one of those people. I used to love diet cola and drink it all the time. I figured hey its diet, can’t hurt me right? WRONG. It may have been diet but it still contained sodium and was a carbonated beverage. When I gave it up for a trial period of time I saw an immediate difference in my face and even my fingers! Everything was less puffy. I did research and learned what effects soda was having on my body and could have on my teeth thus I made the decision to live without it. If soda is one of your favorite things it’s okay to indulge and have a cup on occasion just don’t go crazy and try to find a substitute for it in the mean time. For example, instead of diet soda when I crave something other than water I reach for my diet green tea. It gives me that good taste in my mouth and helps keep my away from other drinks harmful to the healthy body I’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Set Goals!
I find that when I set goals for myself I always work harder in order to reach them. By setting a goal I am making the future I want closer. Example, I’m not saying I want to cut my sugar intake in half someday I’m saying by this time next month my daily sugar intake will be at least 50% less than it is right now. I am making realistic goals for myself and following through on them, which is one of the basic keys to good health. While diseases such as diabetes are very prevalent today, one should use every helpful tip to keep healthy as possible.

In conclusion, the above tips are ones I found extremely beneficial to me and my family’s health. However, before starting vigorous exercise or eliminating things out of your diet, it is always best and strongly advised to check with your doctor first. Being healthy is not a vanity issue although it is sometimes looked at that way. There are unhealthy thin people and there are unhealthy overweight people. Health does not always revolve around a person’s weight. If you happen to be on the heavier side don’t misconstrue this article. I am not giving you tips so you can just lose weight and “look hot”. No, I am giving you tips so you can feel better, be more capable, and practice physical fitness; an essential factor to longevity and a better lifestyle.

Photo Credit: Mandi Frediani from Flickr

10 Tips for Making the Most of a College Visit

Neyat is an Eritrean-American girl who is an aspiring writer. She enjoys reading teen fiction, looking up obscure music artists and celebrities on Wikipedia, and traveling. She hopes that one day when you teens are tired and middle-aged, you will walk into your local bookstore (to get away from your spouse and kids) and you will notice a book on the front display with her name on it as the bestselling author.

As many of you approach your junior and senior years of high school, the time for creating lists of possible college choices arrives. Part of narrowing the options on that list is to actually visit a few of the schools, and see if you can picture yourself at any of them. This process is quite similar to buying a home; college visits are like open houses, a chance to view a place before committing to it. So, after having experienced several college visits, I thought I’d provide 10 tips for making the most of all of your future visits!

1.      Pack a notebook and pen, in order to jot down notes about the school (write down the small tid bits of information that are crucial, but you probably won’t remember).

2.      If you’re going to a school in another state, try flying during a month that’s free of major holidays (this makes for cheaper plane/hotel tickets). Additionally, make sure to check what the weather will be like when you arrive…this way, you can avoid showing up to a blizzard in a summer dress.

3.      Bring a camera. Take pictures of the buildings, dorms, classrooms, etc. so that you can compare all of the schools, once you finish with your visits (you’d be surprised how much you forget after touring many campuses).

4.      Before visiting any school, make sure to check if it even has the major (s) you’re interested in (no need to visit a place that doesn’t have what you need).

5.      Go on college review sites and make a list of all of the pros and cons of the school you are about to visit. Then, when you arrive at the school, ask your tour guide about them, so that you know the pros actually exist…also, you may find out that some of the cons have been taken care of.

6.      Make a list of all of your necessities in a school (it’s really easy to get intrigued by any school when the tour guide is selling it so well, but don’t give in unless you can check of all of your needs.

7.      Try not going alone. Bring a parent (or any guardian/trusted person). It’s always great to have a second opinion…but, remember, in the end, where you get a higher education is 100% your choice.

8.      Schedule an interview. Most schools offer on-campus interviews, so you might as well have one while you’re there. You learn more about the school and you show the people at admissions that you’re interested.

9.      Plan an overnight stay. A lot of schools allow prospective students to stay overnight in actual dorm rooms. This really allows you to picture yourself at a school.

10.  ASK QUESTIONS! (Trust me, you’ll regret it if you don’t)

Well, there you have it; hope your college visits are successful! Happy, college campus hunting!



10 Tips for a Safe Road Trip: Teen Edition

Alekxa is a 16 year old from Los Angeles, CA. She enjoys running, yoga, eating, volunteering, and being with her friends.

1. Bring food and water
Make sure you have plenty, especially water. My research has brought me to conclude that you should bring at least double if not triple the amount of water you think you will need. This may be an over precaution-but it is certainly one you will be grateful to have taken. High-energy food such as, power bars, yogurt, and almonds are simply, healthy ways to stay alert and awake.

2. Travel with a friend
Two heads is better than one. You can watch out for one another, less chance of getting lost, easier to remain calm with a companion, and it is going to be much more fun with a friend. Particularly with road trips, the more the merrier.

3. Take a pass on hitchhikers
Offering a ride may seem like the easiest way to help out a stranger. But what it comes down to is they are a stranger. Whether they appear harmless or not, the reality is our world is a scary place. Travel with
at least one friend.

4. Don’t seem like you are “new in town”
Never tell a stranger you are lost. The potential of a predator taking advantage of you and your situation far outweighs being temporarily geographically confused. Asking for directions is alright and encouraged, as long as you do so safely. A respected business owner in front of many people is definitely a better option.

5. Bring a cell phone
Take advantage of the amazing technology we now have to confirm you and your party is safe. It is not a bad idea to call at rest points, and especially when you have reached your final destination.
6. Know where you are going
Road maps are your best friend. However, I strongly recommend a GPS as you cannot be fumbling around with a map while driving. With constant new updates to show weather conditions and traffic issues insures accuracy while driving safely. GPS systems are easy to plug in, if not already in your car. There are also free downloads from virtually all cell phones.
7. Make sure to Drive Safely!
Make sure the driver is well rested before hand. It is also not a bad idea to switch drivers once in awhile. Control your road rage as it can be detrimental to your safety as well as to your fun. Above all, no drinking and driving. This is extremely dangerous and selfish as you are not just hurting yourself but potentially others cars as well.
8. Check your car’s:
breaks, tire pressure, oil, and water/coolant carefully before and during your trip. Although tedious, skipping over these vital steps can be very hazardous. Teens should talk with a parent or an adult about these things to double check the car before the trip.
9. Pay attention to the weather
Rain can mean slippery roads and this means an exceeding amount of accidents. If it is snowy, make sure to clear the snow and ice from the windows, hood, lights, and roof. Even if what seems to be perfect weather, sun glasses can be helpful on car rides as sun can seriously obstruct your vision and be possibly dangerous.

10. Have fun!
You are only a teenager once! Keep these safety tips in mind and live it up!

Finding the Parenting Style Most Effective for Your Teen

Michael is a 17 – year-old from Orange County, CA. He is a social entrepreneur, public speaker, and truly enjoys helping other’s better understand teen related issues.

What does a 17-yr old have to say about parenting strategies? Quite a bit actually. Parents raise their children in various ways, some arguably more effective than others, I see the results from my fellow teen’s perspective. I don’t have any hesitation in stating my opinions on mistakes that parents commonly make. It is more important today than ever before that parents have access to feedback from teens, which because they aren’t their own kids, will be more objective in what they say. Unfortunately, many teens respond with anger and apathy when dealing with their parents. This, after all, is only normal when a teen is completely fed up with a situation. My hopes are that by reading and understanding these problematic strategies, you will be forced to rethink yours, from not only your viewpoint as a parent, but also from your own teen’s perspective.

1. Stop: Grounding Your Teen Arbitrarily

Grounding seems to be the default thing to do when a teen does anything wrong these days. This practice makes absolutely no sense. Here’s why:

  • Hopefully you’re trying to teach your teen to be mature and act like an adult. Unless you know adults who ground each other for things they do, I would start thinking about a method of punishment that models the consequences one receives in real life situations. For example if your teen breaks curfew, instead of grounding them, set out a punishment plan. The next time they go out, require them to be home an hour earlier than they would usually have to be. If they make the same mistake again, then tell them they can’t go out for one week, and then when they do go out, require them to be home an hour earlier again. Assuming that they do this, then you can give back the freedom of being out earlier. Give them an incentive to make the right decision so they they learn to respect the rule, rather than write it off as pointless. So them that you are not an arrogant stiff parent, but rather someone who grants freedom in return for respect of the rules.
  • Grounding is too big of a variable to enforce. Getting grounded rarely has any significant effect because inevitably your teen will still do things that they aren’t supposed to be doing while grounded, so instead target the specific behavior that has caused the problem.
  • Teens fail to identify the reason why they are grounded, or mix it in with other punishments and soon grounding becomes a catchall without any specific negative reinforcement. (Negative reinforcement is something sliked that happens in order to promote the desired behavior)
  • Being grounded is repressive; you are prolonging bad behavior rather than giving your teen a clearly defined path to regaining your trust and or respect.

2. Stop: Thinking You Know Your Teen

The truth is that your relationship with your teen is only as good as the honesty and accuracy they provide you with about the events going on in their life. Attempting to ask too many leading questions with your teen will cause them to shut down and become annoyed at you. Make it so that they know you are there to talk to, but don’t try to understand them as another teen would, there are too many barriers that will cause you to either misinterpret them, or pass inaccurate judgments on them that will then make them feel as though they have been labeled by you. Instead, pay attention to changes in attitude, behavior, and social patterns, these can be the best indicators of your teens current feelings and often help a parent to identify any serious problems if an inconsistency presents itself.

3. Stop: Making Excuses for Your Teen’s Behavior

Not everything can be attributed to a bad day, hormones, or stress. Many parents fail to recognize the signs of depression, learning disabilities, and self-inflicted harm. These and many other serious conditions, if identified early, can be effectively dealt with and addressed in a caring and positive manner.

4. Start: Treating Your Teen as an Equal

Being a parent of a teenager, your goal should be to prepare them for the adult world. In order to do this you must treat them as you would any of the adults in your world. Respect is earned, not granted. You may be saying, well, my kids have to respect their parents on a higher level then they do their peers. This is a bad way to think about things. By demanding more respect as parents than anyone else they encounter in their lives, you are only reinforcing a double standard when dealing with adults and teens. Saying things like “because I said so”, shows your teen that they can use the same tactic on you when asked they are asked to justify their actions. Equally as important is taking responsibility for any disrespect you show your teens, this includes, but is not limited to, swearing, yelling, and other forms of physical or degrading abuse. You should be building your teens up, not putting them down.

5. Start: being an authoritative parent, not an authoritarian parent

An authoritarian parent is demanding and gives orders, which they expect will be followed without objection or question. I’m your Mom, you should listen to what I tell you to do and do it because I’m your parent. Authoritative parents, while they can be demanding, are highly responsive and can provide justification for the things they ask their teens to do. They can be assertive, but are not intrusive and respect their teen’s personal lives without becoming a part of them. They teach their teens to be morally and socially responsible by providing accurate explanations to requested tasks. Authoritative parents have more self-confident teens that learn to better think critically on their own. After all, shouldn’t that be the main goal for anyone parenting a teen?

I hope this has helped, and may it be my wish that you find parenting a teenager to be an opportunity looked upon with optimism, rather than a dreaded duty.

I think I am really bad at…

For my New Year’s resolutions I wanted to make my website, RadicalParenting, give more to our readers.  I decided to start with what I am bad at.

  • I think perhaps we could do a better job picking article topics you would like to hear about.
  • I seem to pick the wrong topics to write ebooks about.  I want to write about topics that will really inform and help our readers.
  • Do I need to do more reviews or give-aways? I see a lot of other blogs doing that and do not want our readers to feel we are not giving enough back!
  • We want our webinars to be relevant and although we have a lot being purchased people are always asking for more ‘relevant’ topics, I am just not sure what they are.

I am open to suggestions and like to be very open about what needs improvement. I want this blog to be helpful and relevant for you.  Please let me know what else you want from us.

Comment or even better email us any ideas:

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