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The Three Fights Every Parent Has With Their Kid and How to Stop Them

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

 By Vanessa Van Petten, creator of RadicalParenting.com and author of the parenting book, “Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?” (http://www.radicalparenting.com/books-and-products/book-youre-grounded/)

 When I was 16 I thought it was my Dad’s goal in life to make me miserable. I was convinced that he had a running list of all the ways he could embarrass me in front of my friends, trick me into doing more chores or make my curfew earlier. In fact we had three of the most common parent-kid fights:

 1. The “It’s Not Fair” Fight


            -Older brother gets to stay out late with his friends. Teen finds this grossly unfair.

-Parent gets to have soda, child does not. Teen finds this grossly unfair.

-Teenager cannot buy new outfit for dance because it is too expensive. Teen finds this grossly unfair.

 2. The “Treat Me Like A Grown-Up” Fight


-Teen wants to be able to stay out late with friends. Parents say no. Teen thinks they are being treated like a child.

-Teen wants to go away for Spring Break, parents say no. Teen thinks they are being treated like a child.

3. The “We Are a Different Person” Fight


            -Parent wants their teen to join band, teen doesn’t want to.

            -Parent expects higher grades and when teen doesn’t do well, a huge fight ensues.

            -Teen does not keep room tidy, parent gets upset when guests come over.

We would have these kinds of fights over and over again until one day I saw my Dad reading a parenting book. I flipped through it while my Dad was in the bathroom and realized a lot of the things he did that drove me crazy he was getting right out of this book! I looked at the other parenting books on our shelves and realized that they were all written by adults. I wondered—has anyone ever asked teens to write to their parents?

I decided to build a website where teens could answer questions and write to parents called RadicalParenting.com.  I couldn’t believe how quickly it grew and how happy both teens were to get their voices out and parents were to have a new outlet for connecting with their kids! We now have over 120 teen writers who give advice. Here is what they had to say about solving each of the common parent fights:

 1. The “It’s Not Fair” Fight

 Emotional Intent: When you hear a teen talk about how unfair something is, what they are often feeling is, “I am not important or special enough.” If you feel like your teenager is constantly arguing about justice or fairness, they are most likely feeling like they are not being heard or cared about enough to get what they want. Of course, this is usually not the case. In the examples above parents would be worried about safety, health and money, while teens feel like they are not as important as their sibling, that their parents do not understand how important the dance is, and so on.

 Solutions: The best way to stop the “it’s Not Fair” fight is to address the emotional intent. The best way to do this is for parents to push into the “it’s not fair” feeling from their children instead of pushing against it. For instance in the new outfit example a parent might say to their teen, “I hear you think this is unfair, will you tell me why?” A teen will most likely respond, “You buy stuff for yourself all the time,” or “But I deserve this dress.” These answers are important because it will show the parent the emotional intent behind the upset and feelings of injustice. If a parent addresses these by saying something like, “I could see how you feel like us not buying this for you is about you not feeling worthy. But the truth is we are trying to save for the big vacation we are taking this summer—which is for all of us. I know how important this dance is for you. Maybe we can get you a new pair of shoes or…” then the fight is stopped.

2. The “Treat Me Like A Grown-Up” Fight

 Emotional Intent: Most fights during the teen years are actually based in this ‘treat me like a grown-up’ motivation. The earlier you can catch and address it the better it will be. It derives from the fundamental pulling away that comes with a teen trying to assert their independence.

 Solutions: It is very important for parents to discuss reasons for decisions that are making a teenager angry. This way teens are sure to understand the real reasons for a parent’s choice. Another great way to help teenagers get less upset in fights surrounding their maturity is for parents to help teens feel mature in other ways. For example, perhaps parents do not want their teen to go away for the whole Spring Break because they want to have family time. A great way to address this with teens is to say clearly, “We really want to have family time with you, but we know you are getting older, so how about you do a weekend camping trip with your friends for one of the weekends.” This teaches teens you trust them, but it is all about balancing needs.

 3. The “We Are a Different Person” Fight

 Emotional Intent: Often times teenagers tell me that they will purposefully keep their room dirty or choose unapproved hobbies just so they can be different from their parents. Parents frequently misinterpret room cleaning or bad grades for laziness, when something deeper might be going on. Teenagers often will ‘misbehave’ or fight with parents simply to show them that they are their own person—even if it gets them into trouble.

Solutions: First, it’s important to make sure that you do want your child to be their own person. Be careful not to push expectations or your own goals onto your kids. Second, make sure teenagers know that some of the requirements you have for them (good grades a tidy room for guests) are not to make them feel less like an individual, but for them to have more choices in their future and to present a nice home to guests. I recommend parents being very direct with teenagers about their need to be ‘their own person’ you might be surprised what common fights are actually based in this emotional intent.

I think teens and parents can work together to overcome their differences and learn to work best together. We have just come out with our book: Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded and it is a radical approach to parenting because it is written from the kid’s perspective! We would love for you to check it out—if you are brave enough to see what kids have to say!

 Vanessa Van Petten is one of the nation’s youngest experts, or ‘youthologists’ on parenting and adolescents. She now runs her popular parenting website, RadicalParenting.com, which she writes with 120 other teenage writers to answer questions from parents and adults. Her approach has been featured by CNN, Fox News, and Wall Street Journal. She was also on the Real Housewives of Orange County helping the housewives with troubled teens. Her next book, “Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?” is being released in September 2011 with Plume Books of Penguin USA.


My talk at Ballenas Secondary School

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

April 2011,

Dear Kaycee,

“Thank you” just does not seem adequate enough to convey how we felt about your Frog or Prince: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Boyfriends’ presentation to the parents of School District 69. Your incredible knowledge and straight forward approach to relationships was appreciated by the parents and students in the audience.

I had no doubt that you would be fantastic on this topic as I had seen your presentation at the BC School Counsellor’s Fall 2010 Conference but I was impressed with your continued research and wealth of information. You had the audience engaged (which is not an easy task with multiple generations) and entertained throughout the evening. Many parents commented that this information could not only be applied to their daughters but also to their sons and themselves. Everyone in attendance appreciated all the resources that you provided and they left with increased knowledge and skills that they could easily implement.  Here are some comments that I obtained from parents who were in attendance:

  • The research on healthy relationships for youth was reassuring and helpful both as a youth worker and a parent
  • Kaycee’s presentation and book helps makes sense of the pitfalls of relationships and how girls (and women) can overcome them and get what they really deserve! 

It was such a pleasure to meet you again. Your dedication and passion towards educating youth on healthy relationships is evident in everything that you do. I look forward to future presentations and implementing your information regarding healthy relationships with girls in our community.

Many Thanks,

Shannon Confortin, B.Ed, M.C.

Ballenas Secondary School Counsellor

4 Questions Your Dating Teen Should Know

Friday, February 18th, 2011

You’re watching your teen discuss the new interest in their life. You’re struck by the perfection of the other person. You interject a question here and there and what is meant as a gentle reality check provokes shock and disagreement. You secretly hope they don’t get hurt since well, they don’t seem like as good a match as your teen makes it sound.

Although your teen in love can seem completely out of this world, you can teach them a systematic way to look at their relationship and more importantly look at themselves within a relationship. A great system of checks and balances makes sure they’re on the right rack in their relationship. Kaycee Jayne author of Frog or Prince? The Smart Girl’s Guide to Boyfriends has four questions that can put falling in love, less of a fall.

1. Are they a source of attraction for me?
Your teen is clearly taken by this person, and you can often tell by what they’re willing to do for this potential mate. They may even ask about a certain recipe or offer to get up at 5.00 AM for a run. You think to yourself you’re going to be up at 5.00A? These are the acts of kindness that are easy to do when you’re teen is attracted to someone. They don’t feel like a chore because they get such a rush for doing nice things for and with this person. However Ms Jane warns that this feeling isn’t confused with the physical chemistry someone feels in a relationship. The physical chemistry can make someone think they’re in love and is used unfortunately to make excuses for a potential partner’s bad behavior towards them. So your teen keeps doing nice things and attending to this partner’s needs while ignoring their own. Over time with little being given back your teen may not feel so good about getting up at 5.00A. If your teen is starting to complain about all the stuff they do for their partner, the answer to whether this person is a source of attraction for them might be, “No.”

2. Do I like myself when I am with them?
Jealousy, fear and anxiety are things that can happen when your teen feels like they don’t know enough about their partner’s feelings about them. Sometimes partners will consciously keep a mate guessing to be mean since it bring s up someone’s insecurities. If this happens for your teen they may notice that they don’t feel very cared for or loved in their relationship. This feeling makes them act desperate and insecure making your teen call, text or check up on their partner, ask about glances at other people or create drama to test the person’s love for them. Your teen becomes someone they don’t like when they’re with this person and that can be a huge revelation for your teen. If your teen is behaving like this with their new partner, the answer to whether they like themselves when they’re with this person might be, “No.”

3. Do I like this person as a person when they aren’t with me?
This is more than someone just wondering what others will say about my partner. This is about looking at this person with a critical mind and assessing what kind of person is this? Is this someone who helps an elderly person with their bags when they see them struggling near their car or is it someone who steals from the shopping bag as the woman has her back turned as she loads her car herself? Deciding whether their partner has admirable characteristics doesn’t mean they have to be a saint, but they should be someone of whom your teen is proud when others talk about them. These behaviors tell your teen a lot about who they are dating. If they find themselves saying, Wow, I don’t like having to defend who this person is to others because I don’t like their behavior, then the answer to if they like the person when they aren’t with your teen might be, “No.”
However the pull of physical chemistry can be so strong that your teen still makes excuses as to why their partner is acting the way they do. Your teen may even think they can change the partner for the better by staying in the relationship or that the person will change for your teen. This rarely happens; People change because they want to not because of a relationship.

4. Am I a source of attraction for them?
Just like your teen doing things for someone they are attracted to, the person they’re interested in should want to do things for your teen. When your teen seems to give a lot and get nothing in return in terms of compromise or acts of kindness, your teen should begin to wonder if this person is attracted to them or cares for them enough to make these kinds of compromises. If the answer is that this person is not willing to make such compromises for your teen then your teen’s answer to if they are the source of attraction for this person might be, “No.”
With four Nos, it may be best for your teen to consider ending this relationship. It doesn’t mean it isn’t hard since physical chemistry can make someone so heartbroken, but in order for your teen to create a healthy, mutually sacrificial and rewarding relationship they need practice asking these tough questions and listening to their even tougher answers.

Adekemi Oguntala, MD is an adolescent medicine physician, author, speaker, educator. She blogs at http://theteendoc.com/

How to talk to your daughter about love

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Valentine’s Day—what better time to talk to your teen about the crazy little thing called love?

Where to start? A good place is helping her set her bar—her standard for what she believes love is. How do we do that? By having open, two-way conversations. By giving information, like what we believe love is. And by asking questions, like “What do you believe love is?”

But remember, if you tell her “This is what I believe” without asking “What do you believe?” you’re really telling her, “I want you to believe what I believe.”

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why did I first have sex?” Personally, I thought I was in love. I also believed that if a guy said “I love you,” or wanted to have sex, he loved me. I know it sounds crazy now.  “No, it doesn’t sound crazy,” says Dr. Julius Licata, Director of TeenCentral.Net (which offers teens anonymous, on-line, free information and counseling). “It’s what many teens think.

“Teens don’t say, Love is this, love is that,” says Dr. Julius. “They believe they know love because they feel special around that person; when a person kisses them, holds them, says, ‘You’re my everything,’ that’s love. Or, if a guy says ‘Let’s hook up’—for many young girls, that’s love.”

If you asked your teen, “What do you think love is?” would she use fulfillment of her own wants and needs as one definition?  Would she say something like, “When you’re familiar with a guy (his traits, likes, dislikes), and you can accept him (for who he is, and the decisions he makes), and he’s important (you include his feelings, wants, needs, beliefs in your choices), and you value him (share what you feel, think, believe)…”

“That’s not typically what you’re going to hear from teens,” says Dr. Julius. “More often you’ll get, ‘Why are you asking?’”

The importance of dialogue

“You have to hear what your teen believes before you can offer your insight,” says Dr. Julius. “Giving your teen a chance to verbalize her beliefs is how you see where you differ, and how she comes to understand what she believes.  Her influences come from the people she communicates with, shares with. This is how she builds her beliefs. If you give orders—“You have to believe what I believe”—you’ll not be one of the people she shares with. Be open to her understanding of what love is. Don’t say ‘You don’t know what love is’. She knows what it is for her.”

“The key is to talk to her every day,” says Dr. Julius, “even if you’re busy. Even if it’s for five minutes. In time she’ll trust you and stop thinking you’re prying or trying to get information to upgrade your rule list.”

Concepts like love are difficult to verbalize. But talking about needs—the fulfillment of needs in a relationship—can help. Typically teens expect only a few needs to be met—like to notice him, desire him, to be interested in every little thing about him, to please him.

Try setting your teen’s bar with information about “getting to know” a person by using her wants and needs—for example, to become familiar with him, listen to him, understand him, value him, be interested in him, and for him to become important to her—as reasons for loving a guy.

Set your teen’s bar to love

Say your daughter meets a guy, believes she loves him and he loves her. Ask her: “Is love a good reason to have sex with a guy?” Then let her talk.

“Many teens will say yes,” says Dr. Julius, “If your teen says yes, there’s really not much you can say to convince her otherwise. But asking ‘What do you think love is?’ is a good opening. If she won’t say, she has no idea. Don’t push it beyond where she wants to go. Truly hear what she has to say, make no judgments, then try sharing with her what you think love is.”

If, after two weeks of knowing your daughter, a guy said to her, “You’re my life, I love you, let’s express our love in sex,” would your daughter believe him? “Many teens would,” says Dr. Julius.

You’d know your daughter was dealing with this issue only if she told you. But many teens won’t. That’s why it’s so important to help her develop a bigger picture of what love is. Share this heart-saving shortcut with her: “When a guy tells you he loves you, those are just words. Love is what you experience when he’s happily meeting your needs and you’re happily meeting his, all the while maintaining your self-respect and meeting your own needs, too.”

That’s not crazy, and it’s not little. It’s love.

Helping your daughter with her relationships

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Talking about relationships.

There is no doubt, being a teenager is a challenge! They are expected to make so many big decisions and yet they are barely an adult. When you think about it, most of the important decisions we make about our lives are made when we are in our teenage years and barely know ourselves.

How do you have a relationship when you barely know yourself? How can teenagers make these relationships more successful and not feel pressurised to do something they may regret later. How will support your daughter? What does she need to know about herself?

My thoughts are below but in the meantime why don’t you help your daughter out and get her this awesome book …


The frog and the prince in the title of the book are metaphors for either a healthy relationship experience or its opposite. Healthy relationship criteria will help you make better choices–for example, choosing who your boyfriend is, and whether to stay in a relationship or to exit. They’ll help you figure out other important stuff like whether or not your boyfriend loves you and if jealousy is a sign that he does. And they’ll help you deal with things that come up in relationships, such as a boyfriend not making enough time for you, flirting with other girls, cheating on you, or breaking up with you.

Every girl dreams of living happily ever after with her Prince– but how do you tell a Prince from a Frog? This book follows Natalie, Meghan, Ella and Elizabeth through their relationships, as they gain the skills to determine if the guy they’re with is the right guy for them. Or as one reviewer put it “it is an opportunity for the reader to identify with one or all of the four girls–Natalie, Meghan, Elizabeth and Ella–who each discover who they are or who they become when they are with their guy.”

An awesome book that will help your daughter no end !

What does your daughter need to know

  1. Values – what does she enjoy doing, what is she passionate about, what does she believe in, what is important to her? How does this fit with her new boyfriend, where may they have problems?
  2. What standards does she hold about how people should behave and act? How do her standards match with his?
  3. Where does she want to be in life? Where is her future and how does that fit with her new boyfriend? If she has bags of ambition and wants to travel the world, while he wants to work in the local supermarket, what sort of life will they have?
  4. What does she respect about him, what are the things that she really admires in him and why? How can she get more of these qualities in her life? If she had them would she still want him? Quite often we can be attracted to someone, not for who they are, but for a quality they have that we want, be it freedom, rebellion, security, who knows? She needs to know this though.
  5. What does she need and expect from a relationship, can he give her this? If not, then he needs to hit the highway, baby!
  6. Are they equally matched personality-wise; this book can really support them in seeing if they are a good match and what they can do to improve the relationship.
  7. What are the things that she does not like about herself, the dark bits, how might these interfere with her relationship and how can she apply strategies to deal with them?
  8. What things is she passionate about, what does she believe in? Does he share the same beliefs? Where may these cause problems?
  9. What are the bad bits about her boyfriend, what doesn’t she like? Can she really deal with them?
  10. Do they laugh, can they have fun together, can they get over arguments quickly by not taking themselves too seriously? After all, isn’t that what a relationship is all about?

February 3, 2011 By @SarahNewton

Sarah Newton one part of the Family Communication Duo is a eclectic mix of sensitivity, wonder, common sense, wisdom and humour. Known affectionately as the Family Peacemaker Sarah’s work spanning over 14 years has seen her on 13 TV stations, 60 different radio stations and has received extensive newspaper and magazine coverage. Called Bubbles by her friends Sarah’s day job is Youth Expert, Family Peacemaker, Thought Leader, Blogger, (www.sarahnewton.com) Author, Entrepreneur, geek and crazy chic all rolled into one. The Rest of the time she is a happy mum, loving wife, adventurer and closet 50′s Diva. Oh and she also fancies herself as a bit of a Dance floor http://finkcards.co.uk/

Mother of teenaged daughter penned a girlsguide to boyfriends

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Kaycee Jane thought she’d nipped any dating problems in the bud when she told her teenaged daughter that she wasn’t allowed to have a boyfriend. Instead, her daughter hooked up with a guy Jane said didn’t respect her child.

Jane, a single Kerrisdale parent and telecommunications executive who’d been busy flying to Toronto for work, realized she needed to focus on preparing her daughter for healthy dating relationships. “I was aware of the research that existed then that unhealthy relationship today [lead to] unhealthy relationship in the future,” she said.

Jane quit her job and returned to university to complete her executive master’s in business administration. She started sliding “love letters” under her daughter’s bedroom door. She wrote about paying attention to whether her boyfriend asked her to do things that would meet his needs, or pressured her or demanded that she did them.

Jane wrote letters for two years to her daughter, who she didn’t want to name, while consulting high school counsellors and parents about teen relationships. She rolled those letters into a book Frog or Prince? A Smart Girls Guide to Boyfriends that took her five years to write and that she self-published in 2008.

The 49-year-old mother also teamed up with Dr. Julius Licata, a psychologist and director of the Pennsylvania-based website TeenCentral.net. It allows teens to anonymously submit questions that are answered by trained counsellors and then checked by master’s-level clinicians or psychologists within 24 hours.

ParentCentral.net, which will launch in the third week of January, will offer the same service to parents. Jane helped create podcasts on topics including talking about sex and dating violence for both sites. She says Licata claims TeenCentral gets two million hits a month.

A young women’s group at the University of Idaho has started an organization on healthy relationships and used Frog or Prince? as source material, Jane says. A young woman in Toronto has started writing about her search for a healthy relationship on a blog inspired by Frog or Prince?

Jane says parents should recognize dictatorial parenting alienates teens. She promotes open conversations between teens and parents where each takes turns talking and listening without judgment. “If we hear someone bring up a really good point, we adjust our perspective when somebody raises it,” Jane said. “Can you do that with your daughter? This is critical because if we can do that with our daughter, then our daughter can do that with her boyfriend. What’s really important is we can develop healthier relationships with our daughters by developing and practicing these skills that our daughters need to build healthy relationships.”

Jane tells teen girls they need to work to understand what’s important to them, what they like and dislike. “To respect ourselves, we have to meet our needs,” she said. “…Of course that’s going to change as we learn and grow, but we have to all start somewhere… We have to be able to stand up [for ourselves] and that’s tough, but to respect ourselves, we will.”


© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Read more: http://www.vancourier.com/Concerned+Vancouver+helps+launch+teen+advice+website/4093514/story.html#ixzz1DalaYGd2

Teen Dating Violence

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Have you experienced dating violence?
Say you’re talking to a guy at a party. Your boyfriend doesn’t like it, and later confronts you about it. He pins you against a wall. You yell at him to get his hands off you. As you’re trying to explain that the guy was just asking about one of your girlfriends, your boyfriend smashes his fist into the wall.

Often in teen relationships, violence takes the form of physical aggression, which can be minor — pushing, grabbing or smashing an object, or major, slapping, slamming or punching. You’ve just experienced dating violence. But you love the guy. What to do? read more

Parent Support Services & Bob Prittie Library Invite Parents, Grandparents, Counselors, all to:

Friday, November 5th, 2010

How to Frog-Proof Your Daughter

By Kaycee Jane, author of ‘Frog or Prince? The smart girl’s guide to boyfriends.’

Date: Thursday, November 18th, 2010      6:30pm – 8:30pm

For more details Frog or Prince Event

The Tyee

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Waking up after the Pitt Meadows Nightmare

Images of a girl allegedly drugged and gang-raped went viral. What do parents now say to teens? > read more

by Kaycee Jane

Author attends the LIONS’ open house

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Author Kaycee Jane was featured at an open house sponsored by BEAR, and LIONS, Friday in the Idaho Common’s Clearwater room. Last Thursday, the student group Leading and Inspiring Our New Sisters hosted an open house. The purpose of the open house was to inform students LIONS is open to all women on campus and to promote the book, “Frog or Prince,” by Kaycee Jane. LIONS bases its group on the values in Jane’s book >Read More

Written by Molly Spencer – Argonaut