Conditional Thinking

    Parenting Adolescents – Tips That May Help Your Parenting Experience To Be A More Positive One.

    Having worked with 8yr-18yr for the past 8 years, I have put together a few tips that may help your parenting skills. Learning what is going on in the heads of tweens and teens over the past number of years helps me to stay up to date on the many issues and problems they may face on a daily basis.

    I am also the mum of 4 daughters (12yr – 20 yr), there have been plenty of ups and downs along the way but I have learnt what battles to pick, what is most important to them, what may add fuel to the fire during the many disagreements along the way, and how important it is to keep communication open and to have mutual trust at any cost.
    Adolescents need to establish themselves as their own person – separate to, but yet part of, the family, connected to – but independent from their parents. I have learnt many lessons from my own mistakes – after all this is how we all learn!
    PICK YOUR BATTLES
    Parenting a tween/teen means facing many issues that can either result in all our war or maybe with a little less ‘reaction’ and a little more understanding, the result may be a more peaceful one. Try to remember what was important to you at their age, fitting in, feeling grown up and responsible, thinking you knew it all, believing your parents could not possibly understand what you are going through (they rarely believe we were ever teenagers). Try to pick the battles that really matter – take a breath before you launch in with your words of wisdom. I understand this is not easy but it really does make a huge difference.
    EVENT + REACTION = OUTCOME

    TRUST THEM UNTIL THEY GIVE YOU A REASON NOT TO.

    Without trust the relationship between parent and tween/teen is very tricky. Trust is the bond that keeps the relationship strong. I would suggest you trust your own child (regardless of other peoples opinions) until they give you a reason not to. Talk to them about the importance of trust within your family. When tweens/teens believe you do not trust them, they feel they have nothing to break, when they believe you do trust them they are less likely to break that trust. I see this over and over again – setting boundaries (realistic to their age group) and sticking to them, helps the child to understand their boundaries. You know your child better than anyone else, if they have never given you a reason not to trust them – why would you question their trust.

    COMMUNICATION
    Communication is vital to any relationship – this is the same for the parent-child relationship, try to keep communication open at all costs. When you cannot speak to them, text them, write to them – it does not matter how you communicate with them – once you do communicate. They are at a stage when they want to feel independent, capable of making decisions on their own, testing their boundaries – this is all ‘normal’ behaviour for a tween/teen. Their behaviour and the person they are is not the same thing. Try to separate the behaviour (typical to their age group) and the person. They are going through so many changes, physically, emotionally and psychologically, they are very often on emotional overload. This may cause the irrational
    behaviour, silly decisions – try to separate the two, let a lot of the irrational behaviour go over your head and try to understand what might really be going on;
    did they have a tough day at school
    did they have an argument with a friend
    has their skin broken out (big deal to them)
    are they over tired
    are they stressed over exams
    are they lonely/not fitting in with they peer group
    It is so important that you try to see beyond the behaviour and cut them a bit of slack. Im not saying accept rudeness or lack of respect but the general moodiness, lack of chat – try to ignore.

    EXPLAIN THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR FAMILY VALUES
    What are your family values? Explain the need for values and what they mean. This is an area that I work on a lot when working with teenagers – it explains a lot of issues they face when it comes to;
    peer pressure
    family issues
    friendship issues
    Think of your relationship within your home like a tree:
    the roots are the things that hold you together;
    communication – love – trust – responsibility – traditions — whatever is important to your family, the branches are the many changes that will occur
    during your parenting years but whatever happens if you stick to your values, the roots will remain strong and in tact and will hold you together.
    Parenting is the most important job anyone will ever have and yet the only job that comes without any training – ask for help and support, it does make a difference.
    “The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behaviour.
    The sign of truly great parenting is the parent’s behaviour.”

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    PEER PRESSURE – HOW CAN WE HELP AND TEACH OUR TEENAGERS THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKING GOOD CHOICES FOR THEMSELVES AND NOT FOR THEIR PEERS. (Teens aged between 13-16 years of age)

    I have run a number of workshops in schools over the past 12 months. The issues I see coming up over and over again that really concern me are:

    peer pressure,
    social media addiction,
    exam pressures,
    friendship issues,
    family expectations,
    sexual expectations,
    lack of communication at home,
    being judged by family (because of peers behaviour not their own) – this was a big one.

    Yes, peer pressure and many of these issues have been around since we were growing up but there are a few changes:
    Social Media
    Expectations (family and friends)
    Family communication
    Sexual expectations (a lot of this I blame on our boys learning from porn sites)
    and everything starts younger – much younger than our day.

    I am going to go through a few of the Q & A here to try to support parents, to help them to understand what the teens are thinking and what their main concerns are.

    15/16 year olds (starting 3rd year and 4th year)

    Q Do you control your phone or does your phone control you?

    A 70% said they controlled their phone/30% phone controlled them

    By the end of the workshop this changed to 50/50 – we discussed in length how their phones effect
    Friendship
    Family relationships
    Study
    Image concerns
    Confidence
    Mindset and so much more

    In my opinion we need these lessons as part of our curriculum, kids are crying out for support. How are they supposed to know how to live safely and healthily in this world run by technology if they are not shown?

    Q Do you think it is harder being a teenager now than in your parents time?

    ( I am going to write a few of their exact answers so ignore some grammar etc)

    A Yes, because things such as drinking, smoking are happening at much younger age and there is so much pressure to do it.

    Yes, more pressure.

    Because not everything was on social media so you are judged by social media accounts.

    Yes, because there is so much more pressure because of school exams.

    Yes they had no worries ( I had to smile at this one!)

    Yes because of the internet/social media being available to us an an early age.

    Yes, their life was not on social media.(over 50% of answers)

    Our kids are battling daily with so many pressures, we need to get them the support the need and deserve.
    Q Do you have any regrets over the past year or two?

    A Yes not doing as well as I would like in school and doing some stupid things I didn’t realise were wrong.

    Yes making stupid mistakes – e.g.. drinking.

    Not working as hard as I could in school – caring too much about boys.

    Yes embarrassing myself in front of people – trying to keep others happy

    Yes spending too much time on my phone

    Yes not doing the best for me always – trying to please my friends
    There is a lot of confusion around boys, drinking, smoking, friends, but I do find when we talk about these issues they do tend to see reason. They are very clever and open to advice, in fact I would go so far as to say they are crying out for it. (Again our curriculum fails them)

    As a mum of four I realise parents are not always the best people to talk to them about these issues. Although we have their best interests at heart, it doesn’t always come out the way we intend. Hence the reason why I set up these workshops.

    If anyone has any queries about any of the above or would be interested in organising a workshop for a group of teens, please contact me by email eileenkeanehaly@gmail.com or 08.8112110.

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    HOW DO WE RAISE BRAVE, CONFIDENT KIDS?

    What did we do for fun when we were kids?

    Did we come home from school, spend 1/2 hours on homework and then take to the screen (phone, tablet, laptop)?
    Did we spend hours during our holidays chatting with our friends online, playing games online,
    relying on internet to communicate and entertain ourselves?
    Did we lean much of our behaviour and language from online games and shows?

    Little did we know the hours we spent building tree houses (not necessarily in trees), making up imaginary games with our friends or at times on our own, climbing trees, cycling our, walking half a mile to our friends house, baking cakes with mum (dad!!) or playing house for hours, truly believing those dolls were real babies – all of these activities taught us something.

    The benefits to this type of play;
    we learnt how to use our imagination
    we played how to play with our friends by using our imaginations
    we learnt how to beat our fears and eventually succeed in climbing that tree
    to entertain ourselves without the help of technology
    to be kids, to have fun, to be ourselves, to take chances and to be brave.

    What has happened over the past 15/20 years. Kids need to have freedom to develop
    emotionally and psychologically, they need to play with each other to learn the meaning of winning and losing and taking chances, they need freedom to learn how to be brave and to cope when things might not work out, kids need time without parents, to learn who they really are. We have become so obsessed with safety, work, academia and money and sometimes
    over parenting that many of our kids are losing out. Kids need to be allowed to feel independent (age relative), to stretch their limits and be allowed to fall occasionally but they will always pick themselves up – they are very resilient little people – if they are allowed to be.

    Try to encourage you daughter to climb that tree, to play on that new swing in the playground – without automatically warning her of the dangers. We tend to be more careful with girls, why is that? – some of the strongest, bravest people I know are women. If we want to raise brave
    confident, successful, happy kids, we need to teach them and allow them to be brave, to try new things, to make mistakes and more importantly to teach them how to deal with those mistakes and to learn from them. We must allow them to be themselves even if that may be someone we did not expect (the singer rather than the gaa player, the artist rather than the accountant!). Try to help them to get to know who they really are. Teach them about life without technology and social media. They do need reminding as this is the world they are growing up in – what seems normal to them is not necessarily right. Help them to understand the reality of that online world to be able to balance their online world and their real world. Set age appropriate boundaries in your home, that suit your family, you know your kids better than anyone. But, most importantly, try to ensure that they have ‘time’ to be kids, to play, to explore, to use their imagination, to learn from their mistakes, and to appreciate life.
    Our kids need to be brave and confident to survive this ever changing technologically run world. Try to give them the freedom they need to grow, show them how to enjoy life, to laugh out loud, to beat their fears, to be honest, loyal and trustworthy, show them by example – you will always be your child’s number 1 role model.

    10 Things I Want My Kids To Know – findingjoy.net
    1. Be Yourself
    2. Don’t Waste Time Worrying
    3. Appreciate the Little Things
    4. Stand Up For Your Friends & Family
    5. Don’t Whisper About Others
    6. You Are Not Your Emotion
    7. Always Be Willing To Learn
    8. Pick Your Battles
    9. Surround Yourself With Those Who Respect You
    10. Be Brave

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    WHO CARES ENOUGH ABOUT WHAT OUR KIDS ARE LEARNING – TO LOOK FOR CHANGE? The Politicians? I think not.

    I recently asked my daughter (Leaving Cert student) to show me her Irish prose/short stories – to say I was horrified was an understatement. The depressing tone was just insane. She has been very frustrated this past year telling me she is tired of learning off ‘stuff’ just to regurgitate it for an exam. This is not just in Irish.

    The world has changed so much over the past 10 years yet our curriculum has not. The recent changes made to the English exam this year are another example of no one caring! My Junior Cert daughter (yes 2 exam students in our house this year) came out of her pre-english exam really not understanding what it was all about. No one could finish the exam as it was not timed out correctly and the questions did not help our kids to open their imaginations and think for themselves.
    My 6th class daughter spends hours each week ‘learning off’ Irish essays (sometimes understanding what she is learning, sometimes not) and the pressure to regurgitate these essays on Fridays is ridiculous. What happened to learning vocabulary and putting together an essay using their minds.
    LEARN OFF AND REGURGITATE is the message I am seeing.
    I see many kids aged between 8-18 years of age, male and female and the common thread for many of them is that they are creative. This creativity can have its setbacks as our curriculum is not open to much creativity. Academia is the ‘in phrase’.

    I ask you…….
    What good is academia to the student who cannot communicate with others?
    What good is academia to the student who cannot speak up for himself?
    What good is academia to the student who is inherently unhappy in that world?
    What good is academia to the student who wonders why she is not fitting in as there is no balance between academia and creativity?

    We have to fight for change. Our kids are growing up with a constant influence in the form of technology.
    Recent workshops I held with a group of 6th year students (mixed school) showed me the need for a balance. Kids are crying out to be supported on how to live in this world happily, confidently and safely.
    Over 90% of these students said their biggest regret over the past 5 years was using their phone too much.
    It effected their studies, their relationships, their sports, their mindset and so much more, and not in a positive way. There are many positives to technology but unfortunately there are also many negatives.

    I am fully aware that schools find it very hard to fit anything else into the curriculum as it is. The good teachers are amazing and need to be reminded of the impact they have on each and every student they teach.
    School is the only place where we can reach all kids – of all backgrounds – with all types of parenting. To ensure our younger generation get the support they need we HAVE to seek change in the curriculum so it does include ‘self-development’, ‘communication skills’, ‘self-esteem building’ and so much more – if only to counteract what they are believing and seeing daily on social media.

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    “I want better education regarding sex for both boys and girls [and] information about pornography, and the way it influences harmful sexual practices.”

    This post comes from an article originally posted on Collective Shout by Melinda Tankard Reist.
    “[I want] better education regarding sex for both boys and girls [and] information about pornography, and the way it influences harmful sexual practices.”
    These are the words of Lucy, aged 15, one of 600 young Australian women and girls who took part in a just-released survey commissioned by Plan Australia and Our Watch. The survey, conducted by Ipsos, gathered responses from the girls and young women aged 15-19 in all states and territories.
    In the survey report, entitled Don’t send me that pic, participants reported that online sexual abuse and harassment were becoming a normal part of their everyday interactions. And while the behavior seemed so common, more than 80% said it was unacceptable for boyfriends to request naked images.
    Sexual bullying and harassment are part of daily life for many girls growing up as a part of this digital generation. Young girls are speaking out more and more about how these practices have links with pornography—because it’s directly affecting them.
    Pornography is molding and conditioning the sexual behaviors and attitudes of boys, and girls are being left without the resources to deal with these porn-saturated boys.
    If there are still any questions about whether porn has an impact on young people’s sexual attitudes and behaviors, perhaps it’s time to listen to young people themselves. Girls and young women describe boys pressuring them to provide acts inspired by the porn they consume routinely. Girls tell of being expected to put up with things they don’t enjoy.
    Some see sex only in terms of performance, where what counts most is the boy enjoying it. I asked a 15-year-old about her first sexual experience. She replied: “I think my body looked OK. He seemed to enjoy it.” Many girls seem cut off from their own sense of pleasure or intimacy. The main marker of a “good” sexual encounter is only if he enjoyed it. Girls and young women are under a lot of pressure to give boys and men what they want, to become a real life embodiment of what the boys have watched in porn, adopting exaggerated roles and behaviors and providing their bodies as mere sex aids. Growing up in today’s porn culture, girls quickly learn that they are service stations for male gratification and pleasure.
    When asked, “How do you know a guy likes you?,” an 8th grade girl replied: “He still wants to talk to you after you [give him oral sex].” A male high school student said to a girl: “If you [give me oral sex] I’ll give you a kiss.” Girls are expected to provide sex acts for tokens of affection, and are coached through it by porn-taught boys. A 15-year-old girl said she didn’t enjoy sex at all, but that getting it out of the way quickly was the only way her boyfriend would stop pressuring her and watch a movie.
    7th grade girls are increasingly seeking help on what to do about requests for naked images. Receiving texts like “send me a picture of your tits” is an almost daily occurrence for many young girls. The girl asks: “How do I say no without hurting his feelings?”
    As the Plan Australia/Our Watch report found, girls are tired of being pressured for images they don’t want to send, but they seem resigned to send them anyways because of how normal the practice has become. Boys then typically use the images as a form of currency, to swap and share with their friends. Often times boys will use the revealing pics to humiliate girls publicly if there is a bad break up.
    7th grade girls are asking questions about bondage and S&M. Many of them have seen 50 Shades of Grey, and wonder if a boy wants to hit me, tie me up and stalk me, does that mean he loves me? Girls are tolerating demeaning and disrespectful behaviors, and thereby internalizing pornography’s messages about their submissive role.
    Girls describe being groped in the school yard, and being routinely sexually harassed at school or on the school bus on the way home. They are saying that boys act like they are entitled to girls’ bodies, like girls are only there to pleasure them. It is partially true what defenders of porn often say, porn does provide sex education—but not in the way they think. It teaches middle school boys that women and girls are there for his pleasure and that they are always up for sex. To them, no just means persuade me.
    Girls describe being ranked at school on their bodies, and are sometimes compared to the bodies of porn stars. They know they can’t compete, but that doesn’t stop them from thinking that they have to. Requests for genital surgery have tripled in a little over a decade among young women aged 15-24. Girls who don’t undergo porn-inspired waxing are often considered ugly, dirty, or gross by boys, as well as by other girls.
    Some girls suffer physical injury from porn-inspired sexual acts, including anal sex. The director of a domestic violence centre on the Gold Coast wrote to Collective Shout about the increase in porn-related injuries to girls aged 14 and up, from acts including torture:
    “In the past few years we have had a huge increase in intimate partner rape of women from 14 to 80+. The biggest common denominator is consumption of porn by the offender. With offenders not able to differentiate between fantasy and reality, believing women are ‘up for it’ 24/7, ascribing to the myth that ‘no means yes and yes means anal,’ oblivious to injuries caused and never ever considering consent. We have seen a huge increase in deprivation of liberty, physical injuries, torture, drugging, filming and sharing footage without consent.”
    The Australian Psychological Society estimates that adolescent boys are responsible for around 20% of rapes of adult women and between 30% and 50% of all reported sexual assaults of children. Just last week, Emeritus Professor Freda Briggs argued that online pornography is turning children into copycat sexual predators, acting out on other children what they are seeing in porn.
    A 2012 review of research on “The Impact of Internet Pornography on Adolescents” found that adolescent consumption of internet porn was linked to attitudinal changes, including acceptance of male dominance and female submission as the primary sexual paradigm, with women viewed as “sexual playthings eager to fulfill male sexual desires.” The authors found that “adolescents who are intentionally exposed to violent sexually explicit material were six times more likely to be sexually aggressive than those who were not exposed.”
    The proliferation and globalization of hypersexualized imagery and pornographic themes makes healthy sexual exploration almost impossible. Sexual conquest and domination are untempered by the bounds of respect, intimacy and authentic human connection. Young people are not learning about intimacy, friendship and love, but about cruelty and humiliation. As a recent study found:
    “Online mainstream pornography overwhelmingly centered on acts of violence and degradation toward women, the sexual behaviors exemplified in pornography skew away from intimacy and tenderness and typify patriarchal constructions of masculinity and femininity.”
    It is intimacy and tenderness that so many girls and young women say they are looking for. But how will young women find these sensual, slow-burn experiences in men indoctrinated by pornography? Psychologist Philip Zimbardo says of young men: “They don’t know the language of face to face contact … Constant arousal, change, novelty excitement makes them out of sync with slow developing relationships – relationships which build slowly.”
    Most importantly, it’s young people themselves demanding change. Josie, 18, is quoted in the Plan Australia/Our Watch report:
    “We need some sort of crack down on the violent pornography that is currently accessible to boys and men. This violent pornography should be illegal to make or view in Australia as we clearly have a problem with violence and boys are watching a lot of pornography which can be very violent … This is influencing men’s attitude towards women and what they think is acceptable. Violent pornography is infiltrating Australian relationships.”
    Girls like Lucy and Josie deserve our response. It is wrong to leave sexual formation in the hands of the global sex industry. We need to do more to help young people stand up against warped notions of sexuality conveyed in pornography.
    Fight the New Drug is all about pro-love and pro-healthy sexuality. That is why we are anti-porn. Porn is full of ideals and beliefs that are completely opposite of what real relationships, real sex, and real love are like. Healthy relationships are built on equality, honesty, respect, and love. But in porn, it’s the reverse; interactions are based on domination, disrespect, abuse, violence, and detachment. Our generation is the first to deal with the issue of pornography to this intensity and scale. And, as we’ve seen with today’s society, if we don’t take a stand, the problem is only going to get worse and worse. By being informed and understanding porn’s harmful effects, we can make a much needed change to our perceptions about love, sex, and relationships.
    not trying to ban porn

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    PARENTING ADOLESCENTS – TIPS THAT MAY MAKE A DIFFERENCE

    Having worked with 8yr-18yr for the past 6 years, I have put together a few tips that may help your parenting skills. Learning what is going on in the heads of tweens and teens over the past number of years helps me to stay up to date on the many issues and problems they may face.

    I am also the mum of 4 daughters (12yr – 20 yr), there have been plenty of ups and downs along the way but I have learnt what battles to pick, what is most important to them, what may add fuel to the fire during the many disagreements along the way, and how important it is to keep communication open and mutual trust at any cost.

    Adolescents need to establish themselves as their own person – separate to but part of the family, connected to but independent from their parents. I have learnt many lessons from my own mistakes – after all this is how we all learn!

    PICK YOUR BATTLES

    Parenting a tween/teen means facing many issues that can either result in all our war or maybe less reaction and more understanding, can result in a peaceful solutinon. Try to remember what was important to you at their age, fitting in, feeling grown up and responsible, thinking you knew it all, believing your parents could not possibly understand what you are going through (they rarely believe we were ever teenagers). Try to pick the battles that really matter – take a breath before you launch in with your words of wisdom. I understand this is not easy but it really does make a huge difference.

    EVENT + REACTION = OUTCOME

    TRUST THEM UNTIL THEY GIVE YOU A REASON NOT TO.

    Without trust the relationship between parent and tween/teen is very tricky. Trust is the bond that keeps the relationship strong. I would suggest your trust your own child (regardless of other peoples opinions) until they give you a reason not to. Talk to them about the importance of trust within your family. When tweens/teens believe you do not trust them, they feel they have nothing to break, when they believe you do trust them they are less likely to break that trust. I see this over and over again – setting boundaries (realistic to their age group) and sticking to them helps the child to understand their boundaries. You know your child better than anyone else, if they have never given you a reason not to trust them – why would you question their trust.

    COMMUNICATION

    Communication is vital to any relationship – this is the same for the parent-child relationship, try to keep communication open at all costs. When you cannot speak to them, text them, write to them – it does not matter how you communicate to them once you do communicate. They are at a stage when they want to feel independent, capable of making decisions on their own, testing their boundaries – this is all ‘normal’ behaviour for a tween/teen. Their behaviour and the person is not the same thing. Try to separate the behaviour (typical to their age group) and the person. They are going through so many changes, physically, emotionally and psychologically, they are very often on emotional overload. This causes the irrational behaviour, silly decisions – try to separate the two, let a lot of the irrational behaviour go over your head and try to understand what might really be going on;
    did they have a tough day at school
    did they have an argument with a friend
    has their skin broken out (big deal to them)
    are they over tired
    are they stressed from exams
    are they lonely/not fitting in with they peer group
    It is so important that you try to see beyond the behaviour and cut them a bit of slack. Im not saying accept rudeness or lack of respect but the general moodiness, lack of chat – try to ignore.
    EXPLAIN THE IMPORTANCE OF VALUES IN YOUR FAMILY

    Think about what are the values in your family. Explain the need for values and what they mean. This is an area that I work on a lot when working with teenagers – it explains a lot of issues they face when it comes to;
    peer pressure
    family issues
    friendship issues
    Think of your relationship within your home like a tree:
    The roots are the things that hold you together;
    communication – love – trust – responsibility – traditions — whatever is important to your family, the branches are the many changes that will occur during your parenting years but whatever happens if you stick to your values, the roots will remain strong and in tact and will hold you together.

    Parenting is the most important job anyone will ever have and yet the only job that comes without any training – ask for help and supportt, it does make a difference.

    “The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behaviour.
    The sign of truly great parenting is the parent’s behaviour.”

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    TEENAGERS ARE CONSUMING A BATH FULL OF SUGARY DRINKS A YEAR

     

    Teenagers are drinking the equivalent of almost a bath full of sugary drinks every year, a charity has warned.
    New figures from Cancer Research UK suggest those aged 11 to 18 each drink just over 234 cans of soft drink a year – or one bathtub full.
    Those aged between four and 10 are having almost half as much. And even children under the age of three are consuming high levels of sugary drinks – equivalent to almost one third of a bath, the report shows.

    In March, the Government announced it will introduce a tax on soft drinks with added sugar.

    Fruit juice is exempt from a planned sugar tax CREDIT: PA
    Drinks with 5g of sugar per 100ml will face a lower rate of tax , while those with more than 8g per 100ml will face a higher rate.
    The Office for Budget Responsibility estimates the levy could add 18p to 24p to the price of a litre of fizzy drink if the full cost is passed on to the consumer.
    Pure fruit juices will be exempt as they do not carry added sugar, while drinks with a high milk content will also be exempt due to their calcium content.
    Watch | Budget 2016: Sugar tax on soft drinks

    A 330ml can of cola can contain 35g of sugar.
    This exceeds the maximum sugar recommendations for a five-year-old (19g of total sugar per day) and for a child aged 11 and over (30g per day).
    The new Cancer Research UK data was based on data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey.
    It found that adults and young children currently consume twice the maximum recommended amount of added sugar. And 11 to 18-year-olds eat and drink three times the recommended limit, with sugary drinks being their main source of added sugar.
    Alison Cox, director of prevention at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s shocking that teenagers are drinking the equivalent of a bathtub of sugary drinks a year.

    “We urgently need to stop this happening and the good news is that the Government’s sugar tax will play a crucial role in helping to curb this behaviour. The ripple effect of a small tax on sugary drinks is enormous, and it will give soft drinks companies a clear incentive to reduce the amount of sugar in drinks.
    “When coupled with the Government’s plan to reduce sugar in processed food, we could really see an improvement to our diets.
    “But the Government can do more to give the next generation a better chance, by closing the loophole on junk food advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed. The UK has an epidemic on its hands, and needs to act now.”
    Cancer Research UK estimates that a 20p-per-litre sugar tax could prevent 3.7 million cases of obesity over the next decade.
    It follows international research which shows British children are among the least active in the world – and fitness levels are plummeting.
    Experts said the results were alarming, showing that movement was being “stripped out” of modern  lifestyles, with children weaned on screen-time and starved of outdoor activity.
    Research comparing 38 counties across the globe placed England, Scotland and Wales among the worst for physical activity.
    Overall, England and Wales were both scored D minus, the third worst grade in the rankings, while Scotland was joint worst, with a grade of F.
    Earlier this month, Tesco announced that it has cut sugar levels in its own brand soft drinks, while Suntory, which makes Lucozade and Ribena, has also promised reductions.
    Watch | How much sugar is in the food and drink you consume?

    Levels of obesity in England have soared from 14.9 per cent in 1993 to 25.6 per cent in 2014.
    Child obesity levels have reached a record high, while two thirds of adults are either overweight or obese.
    Forecasts suggest that by 2050 nearly 60 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women will be obese.
    Soft drinks other than fruit juice are one of the largest sources of sugar for adults, and the largest single source of sugar for children aged 11 to 18 years.

    from Breaking News 22-11-16

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    THE IMPORTANCE OF GRANDPARENTS IN OUR KIDS & TEENAGERS LIVES

    Those of us lucky enough to have grandmothers and/or grandfathers know how influential they can be in our lives. If you already are or soon to be a grandparent, you most likely appreciate this role, perhaps more than any other you’ve ever had. It’s a well known fact that grandchildren provide a focus for many older adults- grandparents can have a huge impact on their grandkids lives.

    We (the parents) all have some memories of our Grandparents role in our lives but did we ever appreciate it enough at the time?
    For me, my grandmothers provided a huge basis for my self-belief, manners, values and respect. One grandmother, a self-made successful business woman taught me how to believe in myself, how to celebrate my uniqueness and how I shouldn’t try and ‘blend in’. She taught me resilience and how nothing in life comes easy – hard work and self-belief will always win out in the end. In my teenage years I loved spending time with her and often choose a night with her over a night out with friends. Although looking back my friends often ended up in her house, where, we had to admit we had more fun than a night on the town! She had a wonderful young heart and a genuine interest in everybody she met, young or old/rich or poor. She also taught me to never judge a book by its cover – she would say “give everyone a chance or you will loose out on a lot of valuable experiences.” This I found to be very true and has stayed with me to this day. I enjoy people, first and foremost, where they come from, what career they have, their social standing has never held any importance to me whatsoever.
    My other grandmother instilled table manners in me from a very early age ( Im not saying it didn’t drive me nuts at times but…), she taught me the importance of respecting ourselves and others. She taught me the basic understanding of manners in all aspect of life (an art that is dying today). These lessons have taken me a long way, they have given me confidence in so many social situations over the years that I will be forever grateful to her.

    I am writing this article because it saddens me to think that so many kids and teenagers do not have the opportunity to learn from their Grandparents the way our generation did. In a recent workshop I ran, so many teens admitted to staying on their phones while they were visiting their grandparents or just to not having a lot of interest in talking to them, believing they had nothing much to talk about. After the workshop many of them wrote on their evaluation forms that they were going to try talk to their Grandparents and value their time with them, try to get to know them better, and, believe it or not, turn off their phones when they were with them.

    Kids today have a constant voice in their heads that we never had – the ongoing persistent voice of social media, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They need the voice of reason to help them to balance this and who better to give it to them but their ‘grandparents’.
    Sometimes kids will listen to grandparents in a different way to the way they listen to their parents. Grandparents have so much to share with their grandchildren – relationship stories, career stories, friendship stories, boyfriend stories and so much more.
    To the parents – try to ignite a relationship between your parents and your kids from a very early age – a relationship based on fun, chat and trust. Try not to let your kids believe visiting their grandparents is a chore, give them time together without you, let them get to know each other. Do not underestimate the importance of this relationship in your kids lives.
    To the Grandparents – it is never too late to leave your mark. Many grandparents do not realise the importance of the role they have in the grandkids lives. Make the time to sit down and talk to them, take an interest in what they are doing (even if you do not always agree), show them you have lived and you have a lot of interesting things to share with them. Take the opportunity to do the things with them you may regret not doing with your own kids. A grandparent is NOT a parent – try not to lecture them, that’s their parents job! Have fun and watch a very special relationship grow. Whether you teach them how to cook, how to sew, how to keep accounts, how to love nature, how to fish, how to sail, how to kick a ball, how to respect themselves, how to eat with manners, how to believe in themselves – there is a world of knowledge you have to share – please take the time and share it.

    “Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation.”

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