National Compliment Day: 10 Ways to Compliment Teens

Compliments are a superb way to bring cheer to someone’s day or commend a good job. Today, give an extra compliment (or two!) in honor of National Compliment Day, observed each year on January 24th.

Debby Hoffman and Kathy Chamberlin created National Compliment Day in 1998. They wanted a special day to honor the simple act of letting those in our lives know that we love and appreciate them. With this in mind, we thought we’d share a few ways to share praise, grace, and love with your teenagers.

10 Ways to Compliment Teens

  1. Compliment character. Sometimes it appears sincerity and morality are characteristics not often taught in our world. And not always commended when showcased. When your teenager displays integrity, consideration, trustworthiness, and reliability, offer them a sincere compliment.

  2. Compliment their friends. When you feel as though your teen has made a connection with someone you deem laudable or a great influence, let them know.
    Your friends are so wonderful!”
    Jennifer is so thoughtful.”
    It makes me so happy to know that you choose your friends well.”

  1. Compliment respect. It is easy to make disapproval second nature, to only notice your teen’s behavior when they go wrong. However, we would encourage you to stop waiting for disrespectful behavior and try acknowledging respectful behavior.
    I don’t tell you this enough, but you are a wonderful person, and I value the way you respect your father and me.”

  1. Compliment a step in the right direction. Holding out for the end goal before we offer up a compliment isn’t good enough, might cause your teenager to lose sight of a positive outcome, and doesn’t reward growth.
    “Stephanie, the steps you’ve made toward your goal are great. Thank you for all your hard work!”

  2. Appreciate their place in your family. Sometimes teens, with all their fluctuating emotions, need to know how much they are valued for simply existing.
    “Whenever I see you, I’m grateful that I get to be your parent.”

  3. Compliment their style. You can offer a compliment about your teenager’s style even if their taste is vastly different from your own. Your child is his or her own person and you wouldn’t want them to be a carbon copy of their mom or dad. Try not to limit your compliments to the restricted scope of your own taste.
    “You sure have a gift for styling hair!”
    “I can tell that you put a lot of creativity into your outfit.”
    “I love how imaginative your room decor looks.”

  4. Compliment household chores. Your teenager needs to understand that when they chip in with household chores they make a difference and their parents notice the extra effort.
    “Vacuuming the living room/mowing the lawn/doing the dishes really makes a difference. I am so grateful for your hard work around our house!”

  5. Compliment new achievements. A well-timed compliment can keep a teen’s trajectory moving forward. It’s important to compliment your child’s progress, as discussed above, but don’t forget to pay them some credit when they achieve something they’ve never been able to do before.
    “Great job! Although I’m not surprised after all your hard work. I knew you could do it, Derrick!”
    “You got your social studies grade up to an A! I’m beyond proud of you.”

  6. Compliment effort. What about when your teenager’s best efforts come up short? Compliment their effort and remind them there’s still work to be done–and you know they’re up to the task.
    “All the studying you’ve done for your social studies class makes me so happy! If you keep it up I know you can bring your grade up.”

  7. Compliment a job well done. When your teen exceeds expectations and goes out of their way to do a great job it is always worth noting. Compliment the quality of your child’s work so they know the extra effort didn’t go unnoticed.
    “This is the cleanest I’ve ever seen your room, Shelby!”
    “I was so proud of you at your dance recital. Awesome job! I’m so glad you are so passionate about dance, it really shows.”

Are you having trouble balancing criticism and compliments when communicating with your teenager? If so, meeting with the expert staff at Doorways may be a positive step for you and your family. If you have questions, feel free to contact us HERE or give us a call at 602-997-2880.

Is Your Teen Using Drugs? Learn the Early Warning Signs

Many parents ask us how to tell if their teen has begun drinking or doing drugs. By taking careful note of your teen’s behavior and paying attention to a few key red flags, you can spot issues with drug use sooner rather than later. While you may not find drug paraphernalia in their room or catch them drinking when they think no one is home, you should always trust your instincts. If you start to take note of some of the warning signs we’ve listed below, we encourage you to take action. Talk to your teen and get help from a professional if needed.

How to Spot Early Warning Signs of Drug or Alcohol Use in Teens

Utilize your sense of smell.

Have a conversation when your teenage child comes home after spending time out with friends. Address them face-to-face and ask if they had a nice time, what they did, or who they were with. If they’ve been using drugs or alcohol, the smell could be lingering on their clothes, hair, or breath.

Make eye contact.

Similar to the tip above, when your teen gets home, be sure to pay attention to their eyes during that face-to-face conversation. If your child has used marijuana – their eyes will be bloodshot, the lids may look droopy, and their pupils small. Drinking leaves pupils dilated and leads to trouble focusing. And, there may be other clues nearby. Is your teen’s face or cheeks flushed? This can also be a sign of drug or alcohol use.

Pay attention to sudden changes in behavior.

If your teen acts one way after school and completely different after a night out with friends, this could be a red flag. Upon their return: Does their volume or vocal register change? Do they crack up for no reason at all? Or, maybe they appear abnormally uncoordinated and you notice they’re bumping into things and knocking things over. Are they acting surly and introverted when they’re usually a chatterbox? Are they sleepy even though it’s early in the evening? Are they complaining of nausea? These could all be clues that they were drinking or using drugs before they came home.

Do they drive?

If your teen drives or has a car make sure to observe this aspect as well. Are they driving less carefully when they come home than when they left? Does their car have dents and dings with no explanation? Check the inside of the car, too. Does it smell? Are there items on the floorboard or in the glovebox that might provide hints that drug or alcohol use is taking place?

Take note of deception and secrets.

Are your teen’s plans starting to sound a little far-fetched? Are they vague about the who, what, when, where, and why? If they went out to a restaurant or to see a band, can they tell you what they ordered or what songs were their favorite? Do they insist a chaperone will be present but can’t produce a contact number? Are they showing up past curfew with a never-ending series of excuses? If you press them on these excuses, do they become erratic and angry? If these scenarios sound familiar, it could be time to act.

If you believe your teen is using drugs, contact our team at Doorways for additional support. We specialize in helping families with teens and young adults ages 13-25. We teach families how to deal with conflict, demonstrate love, improve communication and more. There is help for your family!

How to Be a Dad

Type in “how to be a dad” into Google and you will see more than 61 million results! With today’s technology, many fathers are turning to the web to find guidance, advice, or sharing their own struggles with parenthood.

How to be a Dad

Today’s fathers are different than previous generations. One of those key differences is that today’s fathers are much more involved in parenting than previous generations. Additionally, they have a more open relationship with their children and are more likely to seek advice from multiple sources.

One of the most popular YouTube channels is “How to Dad”. After a quick Facebook video showing one of his buddies how to hold a baby quickly went viral, the creator, Jordan Watson, started the channel. “How to Dad” has grown to an audience of nearly 2 million viewers. Jordan is now trying his hand at a more traditional route of reaching out to dads and is writing a book about “how to dad” as well.

There are also organizations that can be found online that support fathers such as the nonprofit “Organization for Dads” that is dedicated to encouraging and supporting fathers, children, and families through a variety of workshops, lectures, activities, and events.

Along with the struggles of being a parent comes the humor. Sometimes reading a playful blog will help a new parent see they are not alone in the craziness that is being a new father. A popular blog is “HowToBeADad” which introduces their website with “If you were looking for a website telling you how to be a dad… You didn’t find it. We aren’t experts in “dadology.” We aren’t even sure such a thing exists. We’re just here to tell you that being a parent sometimes means experiencing things without an authority, letting love and humor get you through.”

Some of the more helpful websites include:

If cracking a book is more your style, here is some suggested reading:

  • Dad Time: Savoring the God-Given Moments of Fatherhood, by Max Lucado
  • 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, Jay Payleitner
  • Dads and Sons, James Dobson
  • Grace Based Parenting, Tim Kimmel
  • The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, Gary Chapman

Whether it’s surfing the web, watching videos, or reading a guide book, today’s fathers are ready to invest their time into becoming a great dad, which benefits us all.

While websites and blogs can be helpful, some children might need more hands-on guidance.

If you are a dad in the Phoenix area and have a have a middle schooler or high schooler that is struggling with issues such as social anxiety, ADD/ADHD, not having friends, or anger issues, there is help.  Check out our resource page, or contact one of our confidential, caring teen counselors.  We always offer a free consultation to dads (and moms) who need help with a troubled teen.  Just give us a call at 602-997-2880 today.

The Importance of Resiliency

By Rich Killen, LAC, Licensed Associate Counselor

Confucius once said, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”.

What Confucius is talking about here is a concept used in psychology circles called, “resiliency”.

To put it simply, resiliency is an ability to recover from adversity. You can find this word used in several different areas ranging from a person’s resiliency as it relates to experiencing trauma or an athlete’s ability to be resilient during a game or a competition.  For the sake of this article, I will be referring to the latter. Super Bowl LI turned out to be a great demonstration of this particularly on the part of the New England Patriots and more specifically, Tom Brady. This game featured the underdog Atlanta Falcons and the favored New England Patriots. However, despite the predictions, we saw these Patriots losing by 25 points in the third quarter. To put this in context, no team has ever overcome more than a 10 point deficit in any Super Bowl. This Falcons team that was considered by many to have one of the best offenses in the league which consisted of the league MVP at quarterback. For a team that has been as proficient on offense as the Falcons were this year and considering the lead that they had, they should not have lost the Super Bowl.

Much of the current research on “resiliency” has suggested that it is a skill that can be improved upon when practiced. Some of this same research also suggests that “resilient” people are those that believe they can have some control over what is going on in their life as opposed to an individual that believes there is nothing they can do to change their situation. This is where Tom Brady and the Patriots excelled. They believed that they still had control over the game, or to put it another way, they believed that they could still win the game. The reality is that Tom Brady has had 49 game winning drives in his career including 5 in the Super Bowl. So even though no team has ever overcome a 10 point deficit in the Super Bowl this win was not without precedent. As long as there was still time on the clock the Patriots still believed they could win.

This is what great athletes do. They have an unshakable confidence in themselves knowing that despite the score and despite the circumstances, they have the potential to overcome. Another example of this is Tiger Woods (the Old version not the current version). Nineteen times he was won despite trailing going into the final round. Often times he would hit his tee shot in the rough leaving him with difficult approach shots. However, he had this same unshakable confidence that despite his circumstances that he would be able to overcome the undesirable situation that he put himself in. Building “resiliency” is a skill and it takes lots of practice, and often with anything that is being practiced, there is a lot of failure that is endured. However, when an athlete is able to utilize this skill it often leads to a performance of epic proportions.

Rich Killen LAC, Licensed Associate CounselorRich has  Masters degrees in Mental Health Counseling and Sport and Exercise Psychology from Argosy University-Phoenix. He has worked with families and at-risk youth and has also worked within a Partial Hospitalization Program for individuals struggling with addiction. In addition to this experience, he has also worked with athletes and other individuals interested in improving their performance and success in life, school, and their careers. Rich has a passion for people and helping them achieve their goals.

Mental Health Danger Signs in Teens

Doorways Arizona Blog: Mental Health Danger Signs in TeensAs teens are developing, they go through a series of changes physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually. For a lot of teens, these changes can be overwhelming. According to Healthy Children, this is a critical time and these pressures can lead to mental health issues presenting themselves. As a parent, it is important for you to know what to look for so that you can determine if your teen is just experiencing “normal” teenage behavior or is beginning to suffer from mental health issues.

During this time, observe your teen’s behavior and determine what is normal and what is not. Here are some “red flags” to look for:

  • Personality changes that are out of character.
  • Loss of self-esteem.
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities.
  • Excessive sleeping or not sleeping.
  • Not wanting to go to school.
  • Sudden decline in grades.
  • Loss or gain of appetite and sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  • Secretive behavior
  • Not hanging out with old friends, dropping old friends and getting new friends very suddenly.
  • Anxiety, anger, or sadness.

If your teen is exhibiting some of these symptoms, here are a few suggestions to help them:

  1. Take your teen shopping or to the movies or out to eat, whatever they like, and just spend time with them, being open to conversation.  Believe it or not, our teens need us just as much in their teen years as they did when they were little.
  2. You could tell your teen that you’ve noticed they aren’t acting like themselves lately and try to get them to talk to you. Sometimes they will, sometimes they won’t. Don’t let their rejection get you down.
  3. Listen without judging. This can be the hardest thing for a parent to do. But we all need a safe place to vent our feelings and frustrations.
  4. Seek professional help. If you’re not able to break through to your teen, seek the help of an experienced therapist who specializes in working with teens.  At Doorways, we always offer a free consultation to parents who are looking for help for their troubled teen.

Being the parent of a teen with normal teen challenges is not easy. But if you’re experiencing extreme challenges with your teen it can be heart breaking.  It doesn’t mean you’re a failure as a parent. The fact that you are researching how to help your teen shows that you are a caring and loving parent.

At Doorways, our compassionate counselors treat teens with respect and caring. We listen without judging and we provide confidential help for teens and families going through crisis.

If something is going on, take that first step and give us a call today.  We have helped hundreds of families get their hope back and we would be honored to help you!