Saturday, January 31, 2009

Troubled Teen (1)

According to the National School Safety Center in Westlake Village, Calif., be concerned if your child (my comments are below each bold bullet):

* Has a history of tantrums or uncontrollable angry outbursts ---
While this might be "cute" when they're little, angry outbursts are usually signs of a serious underlying issue, including, but not necessarily limited to, depression, anger, emotional difficulty, possible addictions to a variety of items, poor relationships with peers and/or adults, etc.

When angry outbursts occur with some regularity, be quick to seek the source of anger through questioning your child, his/her Principal, teachers and other school officials, church workers, and others who are acquainted with your child.

If all else fails, get your child to a professional therapist as soon as possible, as unaddressed anger issues will continue to build and fester and then become major issues that will retard later development.

* Uses abusive language or calls people names ---
Similar to the above-referenced advice, abusive language, unless you tolerate, promote, and model such behavior, is often a call for help! My advice: Do not allow your child to engage in the use of abusive language for any purpose. Of course, parental modeling of proper language would be a big help.

However, if abusive language persists, since it is most likely a call for help, get immediate help from your support group up to and including professional help.

* Makes violent threats when angry ---
Have you ever been physically threatened by your child? I certainly hope not. However, from my years as a Principal and Teacher, I can tell you with certainty that it is not an isolated incident when a child threatens his/her parent. If your child threatens you, he/she might need to be removed from the home for a brief period or longer.

I am reminded of one particular parent who told me that she was never sure that she would awaken each morning, because she feared that her son was going to kill her while she was sleeping! He had threatened to kill her while she slept and so, instead of getting him the necessary help, she chose to sleep in fear each night.

No, no, and NO - do not tolerate this behavior. Your child (and perhaps others) needs immediate help. Do not wait for another second. Call your child's school, friends, church, etc. for professional references.

Be prepared on this one: If your child has escalated his/her intolerant behavior to the point of physically threatening one or both of the parents, the "cure" will not come soon. Rather, it might take years before the reasons for the behavior are discovered and properly weeded out!

As some have expressed in the past, I know that many of these stories can be disturbing. However, although there are multiple homes that function on a great level every single day, there are also several homes that have to deal with these issues on a continuing basis.

So, hang in there, love your kids, and use all of your resources to help them to properly be prepared to enter adulthood!!

(Please come back next week for Part 2)

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Your Kids Are Watching You!!

Do your kids ever receive mixed messages from you? As with all cases, consistent and persistent messages from you, followed by consistent and persistent behavior from you, is one of the strongest and most dynamic methods by which you can convince your kids to avoid the life of the Use of Illicit Substances (UIS).

For example, do you daily preach the evils of UIS and then occasionally come home from a party in an inebriated state? Do you sternly lecture your kids about the dangers of UIS and then fill the air of your basement’s back room under the stairs with cigarette smoke? Do you strike fear in your kids about the perils of UIS and then rent a movie that glorifies drug use (there are certainly plenty of movies out there for this purpose!)?

You are an adult and you can make adult choices. Therefore, I am not utilizing this passage to pass along my views on how a parent should go about their personal business. However, I will tell you this: Your spoken words to your kids are very important. They will internalize your words, as well as their intent, and they will make life decisions based upon the direction that you give to them.

However, your actions speak much more loudly and with more clarity than your words ever will! While your words are important, over time your kids will respond and shape their lives in accordance with your actions more than with your words.

In simple terms, if you want your kids to avoid the dead-end road of “Use of Illegal Substances”, your actions will need to be consistent with your words 100% of the time with no exceptions!

Nobody ever said that parenting would be easy!

Yes, somebody is watching you, but it's not Big Brother ..... it is your children!!

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, January 17, 2009

TV/Movies = Sex?

In the mid to late 1960’s, the mere mention of brief nudity or a partially clothed bedroom scene was enough to stir the masses. One little scene was the talk of the town, television and radio talk shows, and newspaper articles!

Well, we’ve come a long way in 40+ years! These days, it’s a real challenge to find a movie that does not contain nudity or sex, whether graphic or implied. Many of the scenes leave nothing to the imagination, and that’s only PG-13 or R movies. A night at the movies with my wife has become a real challenge to avoid such inappropriate scenes. Taking my kids to the movies is much more difficult to do. While I can remember going to the movies several times a year as a kid, my own children might go once or twice per year, as there is simply too much filth that is ready to permeate their brains.

Your children are also heavily influenced by the graphic and implied images that they see in movies, ads for movies, or on the videos that you watch at home. And, yes, the slick producers are able to make these images most enticing to your children.

Further, the print and visual ads for these movies are equally as enticing to your kids. And, of course, peer pressure contributes to your kids’ desire to see these movies. To give you and example of the slick ways that Hollywood slips sexual content into the movies, courtesy of, read the following notes of the sexual content in two movies: (see if can you guess the titles of the movie after reading the clues):

*A woman gets the impression that her husband is suggesting that they have sex on their dining room table; she guzzles her wine (and her husband’s) and unbuttons her sweater vest, giggles and says “It’s not even Saturday.”

*A priest ogles a woman in a bikini.

*A woman wears a bikini in a tanning bed, exposing cleavage, bare abdomen and bare legs

*A man pulls his pants down and we see his bare buttock.

*A woman’s low-cut pants show the top of her thong and buttock cleavage, and a woman’s dress reveals cleavage.

If those descriptions were from movies that you and your spouse were to view after the kids went to bed, that would be a choice that you made. However, the descriptions were from a two PG movies entitled, “Christmas with the Kranks” starring Tim Allen and “Freaky Friday”, with Lindsay Lohan (a teen favorite!).

Again, these types of inappropriate sexual content were slipped in comedies, starring everybody’s favorite tool man and a new favorite actress of middle school kids! After all, how could the movies possibly go astray? While I have not actually seen either movie, just those little snippets of sexual content, however brief they may be, are enough for me to know that I do not want my kids exposed to these movies. And, remember, Hollywood has produced these movies to target your child!

If you were not thoroughly disgusted by the content in these reviews (an understandable reaction, as we might have become desensitized to this type of junk), read them a few more times. By the 3rd reading, knowing that these movies were geared specifically for your kids, you just might become sick to your stomach.

Keep an eye on the movies that your kids watch - the sex and nudity can become as addictive as alcohol and drugs for your child!

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, January 10, 2009

TV/Movies - Watch Out!!

Many of the middle school children with whom I have had experience over the past 20 years have seen movies, with their parents’ permission, that would have brought me great trouble from my parents if I had seen them as a youth. And, yes, my own children would receive a consequence if they were to ever watch such inappropriate movies.

However, with the slick ads and peer pressure, the “cool” kids always have to see the “cool” movies. In other words, there is abundant pressure on your kids that, to be “cool” with their peers, they must watch the “cool” movies that are laced with sex and nudity.

As I have previously stated, early interest in sexual images and nudity on the screen can lead to a sexual addiction, whether in minor or major form, wherein kids will begin to crave more and more of the inappropriate movies and perhaps will even attempt to venture toward “R” or “X” movies.

As difficult as it might seem to believe, a significantly high percentage (too high for my taste) of my good students over the years have shared that they have regularly viewed “R” and “X” movies, sometimes with their parents’ knowledge, but mostly without. As I’ve often told my own children and several adolescent children over the years, if you would not watch a particular movie in front of your parents, then don’t watch it alone, because it most likely contains inappropriate elements.

As I further explored this issue with the students, without fail they were able to list several PG-13 movies that they had previously viewed before venturing toward harder material.

Also, without fail, it appears as though the less parental involvement and monitoring of the adolescent child’s behavior, the more often the kids watch movies that are laced with sex and nudity.

Therefore, the challenge and answer to this dilemma are both obvious:

1) DO NOT let your children go to the movies unless you fully understand the content, either by first seeing the movie yourself, checking with trustworthy friends who share your same values and concerns, by reading articles that contain pertinent content information, by watching movie ads that provide clues (the kind of clues that are used to entice our kids!), or by checking websites that specialize in providing you with movie content (such as,, or

2) Be careful of the videos that you bring in to your home. As a longtime educator of middle school children, I can tell you this: No matter how clever your hiding places might be, your kids WILL find the videos, watch them, and discuss them with their friends! And, if you have a 5-day rental, they might even share them with their friends! Lesson: If you don’t want your children to watch inappropriate movies, don’t bring them in to your home.

3) Be careful of the movies that you watch in your home. If you are watching a movie that you do not want your child to see, be sure that you view it in closed quarters at a time when they won’t see it. I wish that I had a dollar for each time that a middle school child told me that they saw their parents watching a movie that was filled with sex and nudity. This event usually occurred in the living room or family room after the kids had gone to bed ….. and then sneaked down to watch without their parents’ knowledge! Be careful!

Keep any eye on the movies that your kids view. The sex and nudity can be as addictive as alcohol and drugs for your kids!

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Influence Of Kids' Friends

Your children have Friends and Acquaintances (F&A). Hopefully, you are personally aware of many, if not all, of their F&A. However, just as it is with your life away from the family, they also have many F&A of whom you are not aware. Your goal needs to be to meet as many of your child’s F&A as possible and seek to influence your child’s interactions with the unnamed F&A.

For example, answer the following questions:
1) With whom does your child eat lunch everyday (name every single person)?
2) By whom does your child sit in each of his/her classes?
3) Name every child with whom your son/daughter interacts on a daily basis.
4) Name every single child who your child observes each day and considers to be a role model.
5) Name each child who has won the admiration of your son or daughter.
6) Name each of your child’s friends.
7) Name each of your child’s F&A who has visited your home.
8) Name each person to whom your child has spoken on the telephone over the past six months.

Well, how did you do? If you’re like most parents (the ones who do not follow their kids around 24 hours a day, including their classes and lunch periods), you probably answered in the following manner:

#'s1-5 = There is no possible way to answer these completely. So, don’t feel too bad!

#'s6-7 = Hopefully, you were able to answer these two without consulting your spouse or child!

#8 = Hopefully, you can answer this one to a great extent. If you can answer it 100% accurately and completely, then you definitely deserve a gold medal! However, if you can name most of them, you’re still in the game!

O.K., you’re asking, what does it all mean? Well, it means that the Friends and Acquaintances to whom I alluded in items 1-8 are directly, strongly, and perhaps irreparably influencing your kids on a regular basis on such topics as behavior, sports, class work, fashion, vacation, music, television, movies, books, friends, other relationships, family, and books. And, as we determined, you can’t even name the kids from #'s1-5 (Don’t fret, I can’t name them all, either)!

These kids are exerting tremendous influence over your children every single day, some of it positive, but some of it might also be negative.

For example, does the person who sits in front of your child in second hour mathematics class talk about his positive Sunday church experience on every single Monday? Does the person three seats away in Science class discuss the cerebral benefits of being cool by watching MTV every waking moment? Does the “coolest” kid in the school wear t-shirts that contain inappropriate slogans? Does the person at the end of the lunch table talk about her enjoyable family outings?

All of the aforementioned scenarios, and hundreds more, are probably played out each day in your child’s life. To whom does your child listen? Your influence at home and your control over external forces that surround your child on a daily basis will greatly determine the influence that your child’s F&A have.

To whom does your child listen? In order to continue to raise your child correctly, you need to learn the identity of his/her F&A, as well as the messages that your child is receiving. Of course, you’re thinking, “How in the world can I do that”? Well, as challenging and time-consuming as it will be, it can be done! In fact, in order to prevent your child from falling victim to the wrong influences of his/her F&A, it MUST be done!

First of all, have your child invite his/her friends over to the house on a regular basis (Yes, I know that this means that you will have to clean your house on a regular basis, but it will be worth it!). By having your child’s friends over to the house on a regular basis, you will be able to witness the type of people to whom your child is attracted. Of course, while you won’t be “spying” on conversations, you will be able to pick up tips as to the kind of friends that your child has.

Other tips to learning the identity of your middle school child’s Friends and Acquaintances include attending school events (both during and after school), serving as the carpool driver on a regular basis, asking other parents, and asking your child on a regular basis and logging the names that come up regularly!

But, please remember that your middle school child’s Friends and Acquaintances are heavily influencing him/her every single day. Take the necessary steps to get to know as many of them as possible.

Paul W. Reeves