If you're a parent of a pre-teen or teenager, chances are you're worrying about what your kids may run into everyday at school, with friends or at social event. However, with the newer technologies that adolescents are immersed in, it's more important now that parents stay up to date on what actually goes on in their teenagers' lives.
Arden Greenspan Goldberg, LSCW, BCD, is a nationally-known family psychotherapist and author and she's coming to Nanuet talk about some hot topics such as Technology, Bullying, Barbie and Man of Steel, Body Piercings and Tattoos, Sex, Drugs and Rock-N-Roll.
"Teens, especially girls, they want to grow up so fast. The problem is that parents need to get their heads out of the sand, now more than ever," she said. "Every child is going to experiment and make mistakes. I want to help teach parents how to be an aerial parent."
She's speaking at a fundraiser hosted by the Nanuet Senior High School PTSA called: What Your Kids are In to and Up To& How to be a “Fingers on the Pulse” Parent.
The event requires an RSVP and is at 7 p.m. with refreshments and a book signing following at 8:30 p.m. on Monday April 23 at the Nanuet High School. It's open to parents, teachers and staff of Nanuet School District with an invitation extended to neighboring communities. The RSVP form is attached to this article as a PDF.
“I'm going to talk about a range of topics, such as . There have been kids that have committed suicide. We have some serious issues here,” Greenspan-Goldberg said.
"Pointing your finger, lecturing and taking privileges away without explaining, you're going to drive your child away from them and lose the opportunity to have crucial conversations with them," said Greenspan-Goldberg. "They're going to experiment anyway, but if you drive them away from you, they will also jump more into risk-taking behaviors."
The connection a child and teenager has with his or her parent is the most important one. It's crucial to develop and keep open dialogues between teens and parents.
"if you intimidate them, they will find a way around you, they will do things to spite you," she added. "You want to encourage conversations, encourage them to have contact with you. Your child will teach you how to talk to them, in a sense. Every child is different. You have to help them see the bigger picture, see cause and effect."
Greenspan-Goldberg said that it's not every single child out there, but the majority teens don't think with their head, but rather their hormones, even the ones that are good eggs or honor students.
"I did a great job. You can do it too. It’s never too late, even if you screwed it up or your kid is a screw up. It’s never too late to turn it all around and learn this aerial parenting approach," she said. For example, parents who allow their kids to go on Facebook, must become Facebook friends with their child.
"Some parents don't know how (to become an aerial parent), A lot of parents don’t want to know, they want to be the cool parent," she said, adding an example. "Whether they’re watching tv, such as watching "Glee," make good use of that, have a discussion, ask what do you think about that?"
Porn & Sex
“I don't think you can underestimate our children. They are so over stimulated and are getting messages at the blink of an eye, whether its tweeting or texting via cell phone or jumping on the internet and being able to access pornography,” she said, adding that no matter how many parents have safety software on their computers, the kids today will find ways around it or use a computer at a friend’s house.
Teens today are having contact with people they never had an opportunity with before and all because of the internet.
"Kids are on the internet, 10, 11 yrs old and they're exposed to porn. It’s no longer magazines or stealing someone’s dvd. They now have access of seeing something more interactive," she said. "They're really getting the wrong message about what intimacy is, what sex is. It’s very objectifying."
She added that teens are also very casual about sex today and that they're starting younger, whether it's with sex, drugs or alcohol. She specifically mentioning several examples of young teens here in Rockland County.
"They're not thinking, they're very casual about it," she said, adding the example of teens taking and texting photos of themselves nude. "11 is the new 14."
Greenspan-Goldberg, of New City, has raised two kids . She refers to her daughter throughout her book, What Do You Expect? She's a Teenager!
"The book was written really as a parenting book," she said.
She's also an adjunct professor at St. Thomas Aquinas College where she teaches psychology of women, introduction to eating disorders and treatment of eating disorders. She is a sought after speaker for organizations, groups, schools and is also a guest expert on several national media outlets.
Please RSVP. It's $5 for a seat for the program and prepaid books are discounted at the price of $10. At the event, books will be for sale at $15 while supplies last. Check out her website AskArden.com for more information about her books.