Posts Tagged ‘teens’

teens reading books

As a mother of a tween and a teen, I often feel frustration finding other bloggers who focus on or are geared towards teens and tweens. I get rather excited when I find a new site or blog. I recently came across blogger, , who also is the mother of two teenage sons, as well as a college age daughter. In addition, she is a self-published author and an accredited home daycare provider for preschoolers.

I read a review on her Lisa’s’ site about a site called Clean Teen Books: Helping You Choose Clean Books for Teens. This site was founded by a single mother, Alison Craig, a teacher who holds a Masters degree in English. Her site was inspired by her time (8 1/2 years to be exact) volunteering at a local Juvenile Justice Services facility, working regularly with juvenile offenders to improve their reading.  While searching for books to interest the teens and young adults, she experienced difficulty in finding not only books that they would enjoy reading, but also determining whether or not they are objectionable material. She developed a policy that she would read or heavily skim the books prior to introducing them to young readers.  Understanding other parents and teens and tweens too, most likely experienced similar frustration, she created Clean Teen Books.

I think it is an excellent concept.

She primarily reviews books from major publishers but will review books from other publishers as well. Her reviews are in a variety of genres, subjects and reading levels. Each with a “rating” indicating bad language, sexual content, violence, etc.. Her website is divided into sections: Teen Section, Parent Section and Subscriber Section. The parent section contains “spoilers” to the story, which are withheld from the teen section so as not to ruin the end of the book for a teen.

I have often struggled with this same issue. Once when one of the boys was 10 or 11, he came home with this book he checked out of the school library. I just assumed it was age appropriate content and was mostly just thrilled he was reading it.period. After glancing at the cover then reading the back, I started skimming through the book, to find awful language, violent behaviors and references. I was appalled – it was disgusting, and in the school library?

After this experience, I have been more careful with their selection of books and they know what is expected and accepted material. I love the site Alison Craig has created and was just thrilled when I found it on Lisa’s site.

Both ladies seem just lovely, I encourage you to visit both of their sites.

Photo credit: Photostock from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Preparing our kids for their future.

Ways to help them with responsibility, independence and making it on their own. Your teen may be itching to have his own job and freedom or maybe it’s you who is thinking they need to learn how to manage money or that it is time for them to start learning responsibility. Either way there are several creative job opportunities available that can put your teen to work and keep them occupied during off time and at the same time teach them discipline, responsibility and money management. It is important they balance their school work and personal life, for younger teens I would recommend the work load to be very limited during school months even possibly only allowing them to work during the summer. You know your child and what works best for them and your family — make the decision that best fits your child.

While the legal working age in most states is 16, there are numerous ways teens can prepare themselves for the future through part-time work, volunteering and after school activities.

For the sake of future argument, here is the State and Federal law as indicated on the Texas Workforce Commission:

Texas State Law:
A child 14 or 15 years of age may not work more than eight hours in one day or more than 48 hours in one week. A child who is 14 or 15 years of age and is enrolled in a term of a public or private school may not work between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on a day that is followed by a school day or between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. on a day that is not followed by a school day. A child who is 14 or 15 years of age and is not enrolled in summer school may not work between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. on any day that school is recessed for the summer.

Federal Law:
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) a child 14 or 15 years of age may not work during school hours, may not work more than three hours on a school day or 18 hours during a school week, and may not work more than eight hours on a non-school day or 40 hours during a non-school week. Furthermore, a child 14 or 15 years of age may work only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year. Between June 1 and Labor Day, a child may work between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

A child 16 or 17 years of age have no restrictions on the number of hours or times of day they may work.

It is very important for children and teens to be actively involved in something- whether it be in sports, clubs/activities, theater or music. This means they are less likely to get into trouble, experiment with drugs and alcohol, stay involved with like-minded kids and discovering who and what they want to be. This is the time in their lives that dreams are made and goals are set. In addition to their regular activities there are many ways they can be involved in their cities, states and communities. Of course it depends on their interest, parents permission and parents ability to assist activities, whether it be transportation, funding, supervision or mentoring.

Here are some job ideas that your teen can pursue to fill their free time, earn some spending money and even meet new people whom they may not have normally had the opportunity to have met.

Soccer Referee

In Texas, some associations begin accepting referee applications for as young as 12 with some restrictions over the age groups allowed to officiate. In order to become a referee they are required to complete and pass a program that includes classroom, field and written exam. At age 14, most associations allow you to referee all age groups once you have gained the confidence of your local assignor.

First, this gives them responsibility to attend the required courses and meetings to complete the requirements to become a referee. While most referees are current or past soccer players, you do not have to be a soccer player, although a basic understanding of the game is a plus. They are required to dress in uniform, show up on time and officiate the game according to the rules all while staying active and in most cases having fun at the same time. This can be wonderful experience for a future sports trainer, coach, teacher or athlete. They will also build confidence in themselves, increasing their self-esteem and communication skills.


You can make some serious summer bank if you have a steady babysitting job during the summer months or even on the weekends. If your child is serious about wanting to babysit and you are comfortable with his/her taking care of a child and accepting this responsibility, then I strongly encourage you to enroll him/her in a CPR and First-Aid Training Class. It’s Breathtaking provides a babysitting class so your teen can learn the ins & outs of babysitting and they’ll also get certified in CPR & First Aid. There are also classes you can find at your local YMCA, Red Cross and other organizations.

Yard Maintenance/Painting/Cleaning Services

Teens can make some nice money doing more than just lawn work. For example, an acquaintance recently put up a very large fence to cover 40+ acres on his property. This very large fence required priming and painting, he paid my son and another young man about the same age (14-15) to paint the fence, so he could do the more difficult work himself and therefore the job was completed in half the time. To acquire jobs like this, they will need to market themselves and let people know they are willing to work. It’s okay to tell them how much they think they should be paid and from there they will most likely learn negotiating skills and discipline of hard work and labor.

Painting – they could gather several friends or just one or two and even consider a painting business. People are almost always renovating…and they could paint exteriors in the nicer months and interiors during the colder months. With some extra help they will get the job done a lot quicker and have some one to keep them company at the same time.

Car Detailing Service

I would be much more likely to pay a young teen, who worked hard and did a nice job cleaning and detailing my car (even if it wasn’t perfect), than I would be to take it to an  expensive detail shop. That’s just me, which means maybe there are others like me. Oh dear – could it be possible?!
I would suggest asking parents for help with the gathering and possibly purchasing of supplies. You could make an agreement with your teen that once they make a certain amount into their profit to pay you back for the expenses or you could “donate” the supplies for them. After you see their hard work and determination you probably won’t mind helping them with this investment.  I would recommend starting with people in the neighborhood, friends, family and even put a sign up marketing your services. They could make appointments and before you know it, have their own client base.

Pet-Sitting Service

During the summer months is not only when teens have extra time for work – it is also the time when the people you know go out of town for vacations. You will need your parents permission for pet sitting and overnight care, but also offering pet walking, bathing, cleaning, etc. services will have you putting money in the bank in no time.

Freelance Service

Teens too can benefit from the wonders of the web and all it has to offer.  Is your teen truly gifted in a certain field  in a certain field, such as writing, drawing, or photography, consider starting a freelancing business where they can sell their services or projects to various businesses and media outlets.

Online Web Business

Maybe you have your own little web master right in your own home and don’t even know it. Are they a whiz at creating Web pages? Perhaps with your help, they could brainstorm a concept for an online business – where potential customers can come from anywhere.

The possibilities are endless really. My fourteen year old is doing several odd jobs and since he began, I have noticed some increase in his maturity by his insistence to be on time for work, preparing his lunch or a snack to take with him and carefully putting all his money into the bank. I love to see the boost in his self confidence- largely due to praise from a job well done. He purchased his own basketball goal and was pretty stoked about the ability to do that all on his own. He has made purchases on his own before from birthday money, allowance, etc… but the satisfaction on his face from that purchase was pretty powerful. He has started making goals since, to save money for a car. His next step is to be a soccer referee if his sports schedule allows.

While I think all of the money saving and making his own purchases is just fantastic, I am the most pleased with him taking his new responsibilities seriously and understanding he has to follow rules by being on time, following directions, dressing appropriately and staying on task. I do not push him to work, it actually all started as a one time position then he really enjoyed the benefits of his work and started seeking other various jobs to do. I allow him to continue as long as his school work and church remain a priority and his work is kept at a minimum, limiting mostly to summer and occasional weekends if he is available and interested. I am proud of his progress and look forward to who this young man of mine will become. I see good things for him.

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