Teen Therapy Center Blog

"Can you shed some light on the effects of participation trophies on kids?"

The idea of giving participation trophies has always been a topic of debate since it was first introduced. Some think these trophies help validate kids for simply trying, while others believe it teaches kids the wrong lessons about reward and hard work. This week’s Tips on Teens parenting question asks about more insight into this hot topic. Here it is:

"I coach my 9 year old twin daughters in little league. They are very good and it’s important to me that they understand that hard work leads to success. I have a problem with participation trophies. I think that it’s undermining kids’ ability to connect hard work with success because now everyone wants a pat on the back for every little thing they do. I think if you don’t win the championship then you don’t get a trophy. Maybe that will make kids work harder next season to achieve their goals. I’ve brought this up with the little league leadership and it fell on deaf ears. Tryouts are coming up and I want my girls to play to win. At the end of the season, if they have not earned first place, I want them to not accept their participation trophies at the team banquet. My wife disagrees with me. Can you shed some light on the effects of participation trophies on kids?"

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"How long should we stick with our daughter’s therapist before we call it quits?"

It’s often difficult to know if and when therapy is being effective. How can you know, as a parent, if your teen’s therapist is the right fit? This week’s parenting question touches on that topic. Kent offers his advice on this multi-layered question! Here it is:

"My daughter has been seeing the same therapist for about 6 months. We like her a lot, but I wonder if we are really accomplishing anything. My daughter seems a tiny bit better, but I'm not sure if we are getting our money's worth. How long should we stick with this therapist before we call it quits or turn to someone else for help?"

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"What can I do to help my son get over his shyness?"

Shyness is not always a bad thing, in fact it’s often quite normal to a degree. However, what can a parent do when severe shyness causes their child to be totally isolated and alone? Kent offers his advice on how to best help a teen who is overly shy. Here’s the question:

"What can I do to help my son get over his shyness? The only time he hangs out with anyone is when his older brother has his friends over. He has no friends his age. He is extremely shy and afraid to even talk to anyone his age. It’s like he has zero confidence and I have no idea where that comes from. His mother and I are very outgoing, as is his older brother. We thought he’d grow out of it but he hasn’t. It’s concerning because if he stays this way he won’t be able to get anywhere in life and I imagine he’ll be very lonely as well."

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"How do we get our son to see that his girlfriend is using him?"

It's the holiday season... which means extra expenses. But what do you do when your teenage son or daughter wants to spend a lot of money on his or her partner? For this week's Tips on Teens, we received a question from a dad who isn't sure how to handle this situation. Here's the question:

"My son is convinced that he needs to buy his girlfriend something really expensive for Christmas. He’s afraid she’ll be upset with him if the gift isn’t something really nice. My wife and I think it’s pretty ridiculous and we know this girl is just using him. How do we get him to see that?"

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"Social norms are changing because of technology, but is it good for personal development?"

It's no secret that teens are isolating (at least physically) more and more as a result of electronics and technology. We received a very thought provoking parenting question and Kent will be giving his insight on this matter for this Tips on Teens. Here's the question:

"This current generation of young people is not only okay with identifying as “not liking people,” but it is actually celebrated to be anti social. It’s like a badge of courage to not socialize at all face to face. I’m not saying force kids to get out of the house but... I realize social norms are changing because of technology. But is it good for personal development?"

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"My daughter is about to flunk Algebra 2. How do I get her back on track?"

Dealing with homework and school grades has always been a major point of anxiety and stress for most parents.  This week's Tips on Teens answers a question from a parent who is very worried that her daughter will flunk one of her classes. Here's the question:

"My daughter is a junior in High School and she’s about to flunk Algebra 2.  She’s never had a problem with math before. I’m so stressed out and worried about this I almost can’t even sleep.  She’s been doing very well up until this point and junior year is the most important for college applications.  It’s frustrating me so much because she’s squandering her opportunities to get into a good college.  How do I help her get back on track?"

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"Is there anything I can do to help my son enjoy family time?"

It's not uncommon for teens to despise family gatherings, but what can parents do to help? This week's Tips on Teens addresses a question from a parent whose son is miserable at family get togethers. Here's the question:

"I’m not sure what to do with my son at family get togethers anymore. He was miserable at Thanksgiving with all the family and company over. We have a big family with lots of cousins and friends who come to our house for holidays. Christmas and New Years are around the corner and he is dreading it. He tells me he doesn’t like everyone asking him awkward questions, but I don't get it. His brothers seem to do fine and everyone there loves him. Is there anything I can do to help him enjoy family time or at least not dread it?”

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"What can I do to support my sister's family who lost their house in the fire?"

The recent fires in California have been devastating for many families. We received a very sad question from someone whose sister lost their house in the fire, so for this week’s Tips on Teens Kent offers his advice and help on this timely topic. Here’s the question:

"My sister’s family lost their house yesterday in the Thousand Oaks fire. I feel so bad for them. What can I do to support them?”

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"Am I worrying too much that my daughter is obsessed with Justin Bieber?"

In today’s society, many people become obsessed with celebrities, whether they be actors, singers, youtube stars, or even twitch streamers. Today’s Tips on Teens question comes from a mother who is worried about her daughter’s seemingly unhealthy obsession with Justin Bieber. Kent offers his input on the topic. Here’s the question:

"Am I worrying too much that my 14 year old daughter is obsessed obsessed obsessed with Justin Bieber? It’s seriously not normal. She knows everything about him. She is part of at least 5 different fan groups and a few of them even try to track where he is at all times. She’s asked me to drive her to LAX just for a chance to see him. It’s actually disturbing. It’s a very sensitive topic too… if my husband and I ever try to voice our concerns or ever say no to her crazy requests, she goes berserk, cries, screams, breaks things. We thought she’d grow out of it with age, but it’s been at least 5 years. I’m at a loss…"

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"How do I protect my son from the new crowd that he has glommed onto?"

Many parents worry about the friends their child has and whether or not they are a good or bad influence. This week on Tips on Teens, Kent answers a parent wondering how to protect her son from new friends that she doesn’t seem to like very much. Here’s the question:

"How do I protect my son from the new crowd that he has glommed onto? He started at a new high school and I don’t like his new friends. I’m worried that he is going to get caught up in smoking dope and flunking school."

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"What can we do as parents to help manage our daughter’s school stress and help her not burn out?"

This week’s Tips on Teens addresses a question from a mother who wants a bit more insight into our topic from last segment. She wonders how to help her daughter with the intense amount pressure from school. Kent is here to offer some advice! Here’s the question:

"Thank you for your video the other day about getting kids to understand the importance of school. It struck a cord in me and while my daughter is only eleven, I can see the stress she is already under in middle school to achieve. I don’t want to put a ton of pressure on her, but our school makes it seem like it’s crucial for her to study hard. They put huge emphasis on choosing the right high school and they’ve even started some college prep… in middle school!! What can we do as parents to help her manage the stress and help her not burn out?"

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"How do I get my son to understand the importance of school?"

School and homework are known by many parents to be the source of inevitable arguments and feuds. This week’s Tips on Teens features a parenting question from a mother who has become very frustrated with her son’s performance in school. Here’s the question:

"No matter what we do, our teenage son is not doing well in school. At this point, I’m exhausted because we’ve literally tried everything. We took away his electronics, took away TV, regulated his time with friends, tried to offer allowances for getting better grades… NOTHING WORKS. It’s driving us crazy. It’s almost like he’s getting Cs and Ds just to spite us at this point. How do we get him to understand the importance of school?"

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"Any discussion about politics gets ugly and I feel it’s tearing our family apart. What can we do to get back to sanity?"

Political discussions have a tendency to stir up all sorts of emotions and can get out of hand quickly. It can be even more heated when discussing these topics with family. For this week’s Tips On Teens, Kent will be answering the following parenting question from a mother who is getting tired of the political arguments in her household:

"My husband and two sons used to have great conversations at dinner about politics and current events. With the recent shift in the political climate, any discussion about what’s happening in the news gets ugly and I feel it’s tearing us apart. My husband and I have never agreed politically, but it was never a problem until now. We can barely talk with one another before it gets into why one of us is wrong. My boys are also ideologically opposite and it's causing them to say such awful things to each other. What can we do to get back to sanity?"

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"My daughter wants to go to a hip-hop concert with music we don’t like. Should we let her go?"

This week's Tips On Teens question comes from a mother who is concerned about her daughter’s taste in music. Many parents struggle with this same problem and have no idea how to handle it! Kent is here to give some insight into this topic. Here’s the question:

"My 17 year old daughter wants to go to a concert with friends. The performer is a hip-hop artist, and we don’t like this type of music, both for the lyrics and the content of some of the songs. My daughter argues that just because she and her friends enjoy this music, it doesn’t mean that they will do the things the songs are sometimes about, or use the language that is so prevalent. She has not given us reason to distrust her. I’m honestly torn. It may not be my preference of music I’d like her to listen to, but I know she has to start making decisions for herself and discovering who she wants to be. Any Insight would be appreciated."

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"I’m scared of my son… What can I do about this?"

It's not uncommon for parents to be afraid of their kids. Some are worried about being too strict, while others are simply scared of their kid having a tantrum and breaking things. Kent answers this question from a parent who is afraid of her son and feels like she's lost all sense of control in today's Tips on Teens:

"I'm scared of my son and I feel like a failure. It's just him and me, his father has been out of the picture since he was little. If I say anything about homework, helping out around the house or asking where he is going or who he's with, he goes on a crazy rampage... he'll break stuff, yell, scream, cry. I'm scared to be a parent to him but I'm also scared of what he is turning into. I know that he feels bad about how he is treating me, he cries on my shoulder sometimes and says he hates himself, but the next day it starts all over again. What can I do about this? I've lost all sense of control."

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