From the Experts…

Howtoraiseateenager.com is a portal to the best information about parenting teens available on the Internet. In interviews, articles and book excerpts, dozens of experts share their advice.

A new study has concluded that teenagers who smoke pot suffer a significant drop in IQ that persists even if they stop smoking it later in life.

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The Addict’s Mom. It’s a blog. It’s a forum. It’s a chatroom. It’s a Facebook page. It’s resources and support. Thousands of parents who have addicted children have found help and a place where they can “share without shame.”

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If you’ve followed my blog, you know I often write about adolescence as the sensitive time of life during which a child’s brain can be wired for basic critical thinking skills. The window of opportunity opens at puberty and closes sometime in the early twenties. Foreseeing consequences, exercising logic and managing decisions can stimulate brain cells to connect. Only the brain cells that wire together will fire together, and they have to fire a lot to form a neural pathway. And it’s use it or lose it. By the time you’re a young adult, the window has closed and whatever foundation for higher-level thinking you established in youth is what you have to work with for the rest of your life.

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It’s unfortunate that so many teenagers feel miserable… 

  • Maybe they can’t afford the clothes the cool kids wear – I WON’T BE POPULAR.
  • Maybe they lag behind in reading and basic learning skills – I’M NOT SMART.

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Bullying is a big problem for a lot of kids. It’s a problem because it happens so often, and an attack on a child, whether physical or psychological, can cause unfortunate consequences. The “if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger” principle is useless here. Bullying doesn’t make most kids stronger. It humiliates the victims, robs them of self-esteem, distracts from a healthy focus on education and other wholesome activities, and can make a kid hate school. An emotionally fragile teen might even consider suicide. Half the people I’ve talked to about their youth said they were victims of bullying. I remember being attacked by bullies a couple times myself when I was young. I was a small kid, the perfect target. I coped with it by steering clear of these jerks.

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