Sunday, January 30, 2011

WU? - What's That?

Text messaging and on-line chatting has became an important part of the daily life of teenagers nowadays. To speed the process, they have adopted various codes and aggravations. Here are some examples:

AFAIK: as far as I know
B4N: bye for now
BBL: be back later
BRB: be right back
BTW: by the way
CUL: see you later
G2G: got to go
HHOK: ha ha, only kidding
JK: just kidding
JW: just wondering
LOL: laugh out loud
LYMY: love you miss you
ROTFL: rolling on the floor
TTFN: ta ta for now
TTYL: talk to you later
WU?: what's up?
YR: yeah, right

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Learning Financial Literacy

I still remember my first allowance my mother gave me for doing chores at home when I was just five years old. I saved them in a piggy bank for toys and books, and from this I learned about the value of the dollar and very quickly how to budget. Sadly, money management usually isn't something we're taught in school. If we're lucky, our parents have strong money skills and pass them on to us. If we're unlucky, we pick up our parents' bad habits and may spend a lifetime trying to correct them.

The parents can, however, be proactive with their children and one of the greatest teaching tools is the allowance. What exactly an allowance means? Is it an entitlement – since every kid gets it, or a salary that kids get paid for work done? It can be either of these things, but consider the lessons learned from either approach: what do kids learn when they're given money as an entitlement? Treating an allowance as a salary for work has its drawbacks as well. Kids should be contributing to chores around the house as part of belonging to a family. If children need money to help around the house, it may end up as the only motivating factor toward chores.

Parents should use the allowance as a teaching tool for saving, spending, and budgeting and as a discussion point with the kids regarding the uses of money. How big should the allowance be? If all the child's desires are met, there's no need to budget and no lessons are learned. Children should have to make choices and learn to save for what they want. There is no hard dollar value here, but if the kids are able to easily buy all the toys and treats they desire, then it might be useful to shrink the allowance.

How much control should parents have over their children’s spending? Children should be allowed some degree of freedom, but there also needs to be ground rules. Parents should encourage savings and charitable habits. For example, smaller children can be given different piggy banks for saving, for spending, and for charity, or even a savings account at the bank. Older kids can learn the lesson of compound interest with interest earning savings accounts. I still remember as a child being taken to the bank by my father after birthdays and Christmas to deposit my cash gifts. He showed me my account balance and the interest I have earned.

What about paying when kids go above and beyond the call of duty? Though basing an allowance solely upon work done has its drawbacks, "extra credit" for more difficult tasks can be a good idea. In this case, pay should be based on the difficulty of the task and the time it takes to complete. Parents should use allowances as a teaching tools and talk to the kids about their spending and savings habits, set some ground rules, and lead by example. Financial literacy and strong savings habits are the foundation of a successful financial future and one of the precious gifts that the parent can give to their kids.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Friendship Rules for Girls

Friendship is an important part of a girl’s lift. In some cases, the influence from friends can be more than from the parents. It’s really a blessing to have a circle of best friends who can always be there for you. In order to make the friendship work, there are some basic rules to follow.

1. Listen to your friends when they talk.

2. Provide tissues and a shoulder to lean on as needed.

3. Keep secrets secret.

4. Know your friend’s personality.

5. Share similar values and honor codes.

6. Be dependable – rain or shine.

7. Remember things important to your friends.

8. Be honest.

9. Complement and rally for each other.

10. Be your friend’s friend too.

11. Know your friend’s family and make sure they like you too.

12. Don’t let your friends do silly things – like drunk driving.

13. Don’t do things to get your friends in trouble.

14. It’s OK to disagree sometimes – just don’t be personal.

Your true friends should extend you the same courtesy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be

Honest and fair,

Friendly and helpful,

Considerate and caring,

Courageous and strong, and

Responsible for what I say and do,

And to

    - respect myself and others,
     - respect authority,
     - use resources wisely,
     - make the world a better place, and
     - be a sister to every Girl Scout.

The Middle School Daughter and Parents

The middle school years are a pivotal period for the daughter-parent relationship. Nagging about homework and chores is only one way to build up the conflicts. The inner grief at losing the closeness with their once sweet “little girl” was expressed through frustration, anger, and attempt for control by the parents. Admit it or not, the parents realize they are on the downward slope of losing positive influence with their daughter.
Before things go out of hand, the parents have to step back, reflect, and take responsibility to change their attitudes and actions to save the relationship. What the daughter needed from the parents is unconditional love. She is experiencing the inner turmoil of developmental confusion, fears, and relationship struggles. What she need is the parents who would remain calm, listen, and respectfully set limits and expectations. The parents should develop a mantra to think before acting to keep them on track, and put the relationship at the center. "Will what I am about to say or do build or break my relationship with my daughter?" If it is about to damage the connection and relationship, the parents should stop themselves before the damage is done. The parents should learn to consider both of their feelings and perspectives and work on having open dialogue. On the other hand, the relationship should be built upon mutual respect. The parents should not be the doormat trying to please, or the dictator trying to control.

Learning self-control takes time. When the parents blow it, they should apologize and make amends. The best way to teach her how to take responsibility for herself is by example of taking responsibility by the parents. Occasionally, there may be undesirable actions involving lying, alcohol, and boys. The bottom line is to stay connected and continue to be the most important influence and source of strength in her life. It is important to know that her brain is growing and maturing: She will not always be stuck in this confused state. Before long, she will realize and appreciate the efforts of the loving parents.