Video game DANGER for teens

Video games are fun, beautiful, challenging (at just the right level), compelling, and they give us INSTANT FEEDBACK. It’s no wonder they are so compelling (and so addictive). Video games are slick, sexy, and meet so many of our emotional needs (in the short term).

But for many teens, video games are their ADDICTION.  Just this past week, the World Health Organization declared video game addiction a new category of mental disorder, and teens are highly susceptible.

SO many teens today are feeling STUCK doing school, and like they’re in a holding cell until they get to the adult world (which can also terrify them because they’re not sure they have what it takes to handle the adult world). Video games fill SO many of the needs for worthiness, purpose, a clear role, clear boundaries, clear objectives, clear rewards, and connection to something bigger than themselves. Video games are also a great way to distract ourselves from negative feelings, or avoid things  we don’t’ want to do. It’s no wonder so many teens just LOVE video games.  But there are potential dangers…

Have you seen the movie trailer for Ready Player One?  I just saw it last week when my husband and I went to the theatre to see Star Wars.

In just two minutes, the trailer covers how many teens feel, why they game so much, and how gaming fills a deep human need for connection.

“I’m sitting here in my tiny corner of nowhere.”

“There’s nowhere left to go except the Oasis”

“It’s the only place that it feels like I mean anything.”

“Like many of you, I came here to escape, but I found something bigger than just myself”

The main character in Ready Player One, Wade Watts, is relatable to so many teens because he feels powerless, stuck in his small world, and searching or something more. When we see Wade enter “the oasis” (the virtual world) he enters a world that is more engaging and stimulating than the world he lives in. He feels worthwhile in this world. In the Oasis there is a clearly defined goal with a HUGE reward. Even more than the compelling nature of searching for treasure is the sense of purpose that he gains from connecting with something bigger than himself (the political rebellion). In a few short minutes we can see a worthless small town nobody find purpose, connection, and a compelling future.

This is the trailer I’m talking about

Watch it with your teen! It’s a great conversation starter about how gaming fills our human needs.

Video games are like CANDY, because they’re so wonderful, they can crowd other healthy options. Just like helping little ones not eat candy all day long, it’s up to parents to help teens set healthy boundaries around video games.

Some psychologists are suggesting that 3 hours of gaming or more per day has harmful effects on social interactions. There is also research to suggest that excessive gaming is detrimental to the brain’s health. As a educator and a mom, I know that it doesn’t take 3 hours of gaming a day to start to cause a problem. Whenever gaming crowds out a teen’s homework time, their sleep time, and your teen is a sleep-deprived, moody, anxious, and going to school without completing their homework, those are CLEAR signs that your teen needs help to set boundaries with their gaming.

When video games start to crowd out other activities in a teen’s life, like spending time in person with friends, physical activity, school work, contributing to household chores, sleep, or personal hygiene, they have become a problem!

In the last week I connected with Elaine Uskoski, a mom of two young men, who told me the horrific story of her youngest son who went off to college and instead of attending class, shut himself up in his dorm room for 2 months playing video games. When she finally cut through all of the lies he was telling her (and that she was telling herself) she met him in person, and saw that he was a rack of bones. Not eating. Not showering. Only gaming. Who knows what would have happened if this mother hadn’t FINALLY listened to her intuition and stepped in. For more details, you can read Elaine’s book, Seeing Through The Cracks.

I don’t want this nightmare to be your story. If you have concerns about how your teen’s video gaming is impacting the other areas of their life, please reach out.

Book a complimentary 30 minute coaching session with me TODAY.

Elaine told her son,  “You can hate me for the rest of your life, but I’m going to SAVE your life”.

And she did. But she didn’t do it alone. Elaine reached out wherever she could for the support she needed.

End this now.  You could be saving your teen’s life.

I’ve created some extra time in my calendar this week to offer a FREE 30 minute coaching call for YOU.

BOOK NOW to grab your spot.

You’re not alone.

Deanne

P.S. Elaine told me that not only was her son lying to her about his gaming, but that she had been lying to herself. She had been downplaying the severity of what she was seeing, she had been trying to give her son his independence as a college student. But deep inside her, she knew there was a problem. She made her decision to take action, now it’s time for you to make yours…from your deepest place of strength. I can help. Book your call now

Mom, I have TOO MUCH WORK to take a holiday!

I was talking to a Mom of two teen girls the other day, and she confessed that she was DREADING the holiday trip she had planned. It was supposed to be a great getaway for her and her husband and the kids, but now she realises that this is a HORRIBLE time of year for her kids because of their school work. Over the break they have projects to complete, and finals to write just a week after they get back home.
Are you in this situation?
Here’s the reality:
Everyone needs a break! We all need to learn how to switch gears so that we can rest and relax! This might seem like a luxury, but switching to low gear and learning to rest and relax is critical to our long-term health! 
We need to set our teens up for success, so that when they’re adults, they know how  to set aside their  work at the end of the day. As adults, we have to learn how to set aside our work so that we can go on a holiday (even when the day-to-day operations of our job might still be going on without us!)
It takes SKILL to set aside our work, and TRUST that we’ll be able to cope when we get back to it again!
Here’s a 4 point plan to setting aside the work to that you and your teens can RELAX, and then come back to your work and school life feeling refreshed!
  1. Make a plan: Estimate the time it will take to complete the work (the project, the studying, whatever it is). Schedule in the time BEFORE your holiday, or AFTER your holiday. Get creative with your planning! You may have to give up watching t.v. for two days, or skip a pre-trip holiday party, but when you can prioritise your work AND your holiday time, all the “extras” really come into focus.
  2. Put the work away- physically! Get a large plastic bin, or your backpack, and physically pack away the textbooks, the binders, etc. Put a copy of your post-holiday work schedule on the top. Put a “Do not open until…” sign on it. This might sound silly, but the physical putting away can be a really great way of creating a concrete boundary on your work.
  3. Visualise: As you travel to your destination, whether by car or plane, imagine the thoughts of your work as string that physically connect you to it. Imagine your thoughts of work as string connecting you to the bin of work, and watch them stretch the further you travel. When you’re ready, imagine yourself cutting the strings of thoughts of your work, and with each snip of the strings, allow your body to release the tension of the thought. By the time you reach your destination, allow your body and mind to be in relaxation (or excitement, whatever is restorative to you!)
  4. Follow the plan! When you get home, unpack the box, and follow through with your plan! There’s no better way of developing your self-trust by creating a plan for yourself and following through!
Teens are following OUR lead. If we’re setting aside the work, putting boundaries on when and where we’re checking our e-mails, and committing to our self-care, our teens will believe us when we tell them that resting and relaxing are important!
Wishing you a restorative holiday season to set you up for success in 2018!

Time management tool for DISTRACTED teens!

Teens are more easily distracted than ever!

Once they reach high school, they’re expected to be able to study at home, on their own.

As a teacher, I know that by this time in September many high school students are struggling to keep up with their studies. Teens struggle with time management!

It is SO frustrating (for teachers and parents) to watch teens slap together last-minute work, procrastinate, or stay up late sacrificing their sleep in order to complete their work. These tactics do not lead to academic success or mental health!

The truth is that many teens have poor time management skills because:

  1. There are many tasks that they’ve never done before, so they can’t estimate the time it will take
  2. They are highly distractible (even college-aged students!)
  3. They need someone to SHOW them how to manage their time

Time management is SO CRITICAL for teens to learn so that they can create healthy habits for life, and achieve the success that they desire. Teens need to learn how to schedule in their work, so that they also have some time for PLAY (which seems like slacking off, but which actually nurtures their creativity so their school work and their problem solving abilities improve).

We all wish that teens wouldn’t be SO distractible, but the reality is that THEY ARE!

Living a mindful life is all about noticing, without judging. Instead of judging ourselves (or our teens) for being highly distractible, we need to acknowledge this distractibility and work with it!

Research Psychologist and Professor Emeritus at California State University, Dominguez Hills,  Dr. Larry Rosen taught me that teens need to work WITH their distractibility. I was so inspired by my conversation with Dr. Rosen, and his research on how teens study, that I created this planner for teens to use.  It’s a time management tool I call

The Ultimate Reading Estimate Tool for Teens

Knowing how long it’s going to take to get through a few chapters of a bio textbook, or a novel for English class is key to balancing school work with a social life, or any kind of life! Take the guesswork out of reading with The Ultimate Reading Estimate Tool for Teens.

CLICK HERE to grab a copy for your teen!

Here’s to your teen’s academic success!

Deanne

P.S. I’ve never met a teen who didn’t want to be successful. They just don’t always know how to be successful, and they don’t always BELIEVE that the smallest steps in the right direction can and will add up to success down the road. This tool can help teens to learn that small steps do result in BIG success!

Back to School Stress

Are you feeling the fall pressure?

Does your calendar ALREADY look completely packed?

Instead of falling into the old patterns of overwork and overwhelm from years past, take some time to make the bold commitment to

DO THIS YEAR DIFFERENTLY.

I’m challenging you to schedule time in your calendar for DOING NOTHING. Schedule in some time every day (10-20 minutes) and a larger chunk of time each week (1-3 hours) when you don’t have a “to-do” list to accomplish.

This is a time to do only what you WANT to do. Do what you’re inspired to do IN THE MOMENT. Sit down, drink a cup of tea, draw, stretch, lay on your bed and listen to music.

Stick to your commitment of allowing yourself this down time (this is for teens AND parents!)

Here’s why: when we give ourselves time to stop, breathe, decompress, rest, and listen to what we need in the moment, our rested mind and body is able to make clearer decisions the rest of the day (so we actually end up saving time!)

Can I tell you a quick story about doing things differently?

Last weekend I ran a 10 K race. There was a woman ahead of me who would run, then slow down to a walk, then run again. I had used this strategy in my training, but on race day I was committed to running at a strong pace for the entire race. I was SO FRUSTRATED that this woman was actually moving at the same pace as me!

Here’s the lesson: We fool ourselves into feeling like we need to push-push-push all day long to be productive and successful, when in fact, varying our pace allows us to use our energy more efficiently, and gives us some much needed VARIETY in our lives so we don’t get burned out from the push.

Give yourself the gift of taking a break EVERY DAY!

 

You are WORTH IT!

Deanne

Teens choose electric shock over spending time alone!

I was just reading Growing Up Mindful by Clinical Psychologist Christopher Willard,  and I was SHOCKED (forgive the pun) when I read that, “A recent study found that young men would rather receive ten minutes of low-level electric shocks than spend ten minutes alone with their thoughts, without electronics” (pg 3, Growing Up Mindful)

This is the heartbreaking truth for many of our teens today: They would rather CHECK OUT with social media, shopping, eating, drugs, etc, than CHECK IN with their own thoughts and emotions.

WHY? Because they have never been TAUGHT how to CHECK IN, and SHIFT their thoughts and emotions.

Checking in with your own thoughts and emotions is a CRITICAL SKILL for life which generates:

  • Authentic CONFIDENCE
  • Healthy BOUNDARIES
  • Healthy DECISION MAKING
  • EMPOWERMENT

If you are a TEEN, or the parent of a TEEN, It’s time to learn how to

CHECK IN to your authentic confidence (this doesn’t mean taking over the room, it means knowing what you stand for and not second-guessing yourself)

CHECK IN to your POWER and WISDOM

You’re invited to CHECK IN to Power Centers: Unlock the power of your LEGENDARY SELF by learning to CHECK IN not CHECK OUT

This 8 week program will guide you step-by-step through a process of CHECKING IN with yourself

CLICK HERE to register

In this 8 week series, you’ll learn how to

  1. Accept yourself
  2. Balance Creativity and Discipline
  3. Develop Authentic Confidence
  4. Love yourself
  5. Speak UP
  6. Trust yourself
  7. Connect to your Purpose
  8. Set Healthy Boundaries

I’m SO excited to share this with you!

CLICK HERE to grab your spot!

With gratitude for YOU!

Deanne

P.S. We start on Tuesday, February 21st, so don’t delay! CLICK HERE to register

What new possibilities await you in 2017?

Are you declaring 2017 to be a year for YOU?

Are you ready to step into your life in a way that is deeply aligned with your values?

Is a part of you feeling guilty that focusing more on YOU will mean focusing less on your teens?

I know that adults who are focused on their own growth and development are MORE aware of how they can support their teens in ways that are sustainable and lasting.

Go ahead- make this the year that YOU step into your own life, and get clear on your role in your teen’s life.

I’m here to help.

Happy New Year!

Deanne

Show your teens some LOVE

I know you love your kids. I also know that sometimes you pour so much love into your kids that it hurts. It hurts because you’ve sacrificed  a lot of your time, money, and life force energy to support your kids.

It hurts your heart when you feel like you should’ve done more.

It hurts your heart when they don’t seem to appreciate all that you’ve done for them.

It hurts your heart when you give and give and give and feel so depleted.

This kind of giving is not sustainable.

So how do we figure out how to show them that we love them without depleting ourselves?

How often do you give YOURSELF the time, money, and life force energy and support that YOU need?

Even more than showing our teens that we love THEM, we need to show our teens that we love OURSELVES.

We need to love ourselves to model for our teens that they can love themselves.

The sooner we’re able to teach our children that it’s their job to figure out what they need, and to find a way to give it to themselves, the stronger our teens will be.

Teens who can fill themselves up are more confident and make healthier choices because they’re not looking for other people to give them the feelings they crave.

So, how can YOU start to show YOURSELF some love?

Let me just say it,

Self love feels selfish.

Whenever I schedule in some time just for me to do something that I enjoy (like have a long bath, or go for a walk by myself, or drink a cup of tea and look out the window), I feel like I’m taking time I could use to work, or be with my family, or run some errands. Once I realised that if I feel like I’ve been deeply nourished, then I can be more playful and present with my family when I’m with them, then I no longer felt like I was TAKING time, instead I was GIVING my family the best version of myself.

CAUTION. If you haven’t been taking some quality time for yourself, you will feel like you are a bottomless pit. After one blissful hour to yourself, you’ll feel like an hour isn’t enough. It will feel SO GOOD that you’ll worry that you’ll need more and more time away for yourself.  You’ll feel like you could just check in to a hotel for a few days and then…just…never…go…home.

Don’t worry. That’s just a signal that you need to schedule more time for yourself, and once you get the hang of incorporating time for yourself into your schedule, you’ll realise how NECESSARY this time is to be at your best. Once you’ve started giving yourself the time, and space, and emotional availability to listen to your deepest needs, you’ll have a greater sense of clarity around what YOU need, and what your family needs.

Of course, you will go home, because you’ll start missing your family. You’ll remember all the quirky and wonderful things you love about them and you’ll be interested in what they have to say. What an amazing gift for your family to have you back with them with love in your heart for yourself, and for them.

When we give ourselves love, then giving love to others is no longer depleting, it is sustainable because we have a better sense of clarity around how to best show our family that we love them.

With love,

Deanne

P.S. What would really nourish you on a deep level? Jump on the phone with me for 30 minutes and we can create an amazing plan that will have your LOVE levels so high, you’ll have love to give! CLICK HERE to connect with me!

Helping teens manage the READING in high school

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There is so much READING in high school!

It’s true. Most of the homework assigned in high school is READING. The amount of reading material that high school students have to get through in a short amount of time can be overwhelming. Trying to get through three chapters of biology, five chapters of a novel, and two sections of math every night can lead students to tears, avoidance, and overwhelm. The truth is, reading in high school is an endurance sport; both take skill, a daily commitment, a positive mindset, and a culture of achieving excellence.

As an English Literature teacher, I know this all too well. When we ask students to read a novel, it is like asking them to run a marathon. Most of the students I’ve worked with are walkers. We learned to walk long, long ago, and every day we walk to the car, up the stairs, and we are grateful for our functional walking ability. Students read every day. Teens are reading all the time; texts from their friends, articles on Facebook, ads on the internet, instructions on food packages. Just like some people enjoy a good weekend jog, some students might enjoy reading because they love a good story. And yet, people who walk and occasionally jog are not fit for a marathon.

When students enter an English Literature class in high school, we are asking them complete a marathon. Many students have not acquired the mindset for endurance. Even more, they know that they can read, and so they underestimate the amount of time and effort they need to continue to commit to reading.

That’s why I’m inviting you to join me for this FREE 60 minute LIVE webinar,

High School Reading Mastery: The 5 Essential Steps to Eliminate Homework Stress and Boost Your Grades.

We’re going LIVE on Saturday, December 3rd  2016 at 11:00 am MST >>CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

I’ve pulled together my 14 years of teaching English Literature into this FREE webinar designed for teens who are ready to tackle the challenge of high school reading, and for parents who are wondering how to set their teens up for success. In High School Reading Mastery you’ll discover how to help teens:

  • Develop a solid reading schedule
  • Do the reading whether they “feel like it” or not
  • Read things they’re not interested in
  • Focus on short-term daily reading goals to get to the long-term goal of good grades
  • Create a culture of reading mastery

Click THIS LINK to access the registration page now for High School Reading Mastery. If you’re not available to attend LIVE on Dec 3rd, don’t worry!  Register today and you’ll get the link to the recording. This is an opportunity you won’t want to miss!

With gratitude,

Deanne Barrett

P.S. Brain science shows that teens are not always skilled at long-term planning and anticipating the outcomes of their behaviour; teens need the support of adults to help them to plan for success. Please share this webinar with the teens and parents in your circles who are ready to make a difference. For your FREE access to High School Reading Mastery: The 5 Essential Steps to Eliminate Homework Stress and Boost Your Grades CLICK HERE