Helping Kids with Sleep Apnea

Kids snoring is fairly common and about 7-12% of kids under 16 snore. Perhaps you hear your toddler snoring just when he has a cold or the flu. If the snoring is just occasional like this then you probably need not worry. But if doubt, always see your doctor.

If your toddler needs help with snoring then you can try moving him to a different position whilst he is asleep. You can try lying him on his side or stomach. You may need to put a rolled up towel behind him to stop him for going back onto his back.

Toddler snoring is easy just to dismiss as a sweet little habit. However, if your toddler is snoring then it actually means that he is having difficulty breathing and you need to check it out with the doctor in case it is sleep apnea (sleep apnea).

You can find sleep apnea pillows specially designed to reduce snoring caused by sleep apnea.

snoring kid

Kids Snoring and Sleep Apnea

If your toddler’s snoring is persistent rather than just occasional then you need to check with your doctor in case your child as sleep apnea.

Around half a million of children in the US are affected by sleep apnea. As well as snoring you might notice are that your toddler will seem to stop breathing for around 10 seconds in their sleep, their breathing will be irregular, he may be gasping for breathe and may be sweaty (because he is working hard to breathe).

Sleep apnea is likely to cause your toddler to wake up several times during the night. He won’t have slept well and as a result he’ll be tired and cranky the the next day or overtired and hyperactive.

Types of Sleep Apnea

The most common type is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and this is caused by an anatomical blockage of airflow to the lungs. This could be enlarged adenoids which are the throat glands on the roof of the palate or enlarged tonsils.

Obstructive sleep apnea has 3 classifications: mild, moderate or severe, and this is measured on the number of times in an hour that breathing stops (apnea) or is shallow.

The two other types of sleep apnea are:

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is when the brain does not stimulate the body to take a breath.

Mixed Sleep Apnea (MSA) is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

When you take your toddler to see the doctor, the doctor will examine your toddler’s throat and will be looking for enlarged tonsils and enlarged adenoids. He may recommend a sleep study or prescribe nasal steroid sprays which should reduce the size of the adenoids. Alternatively he may recommend surgery to remove the enlarged adenoids and/or enlarged tonsils.

Your doctor may recommend a nasal mask (called a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP mask) which brings a steady stream of air through the mask to keep the airways open. However success is not very likely as toddlers don’t want to wear any masks in bed and it could cause everyone a lot of stress and upset without helping the snoring problem.

Toddler snoring which then turns out to be sleep apnea can cause major problems if it is left un-diagnosed. Tiredness can lead to poor learning at school and bad behavior due to tiredness will in turn effect relationships with both teachers and friends.

Children can grow out of snoring but this could take years and therefore means that your toddler’s sleep will be badly effected for years – which will effect his overall development. If your toddler snores then you should seek help with snoring from your doctor.

Toddler Sleep Training – No Cry Solution

Using a no cry sleep solution can take more time than controlled crying but there’s less distress for both you and your child. Choosing how to solve your toddler sleep problems and help your toddler and you get a better night’s sleep is always tricky and what works for one person might not work for someone else – you need to do what’s right for you.

The key to any sleep training approach is to plan it, be consistent, remain calm at all times and Keep Going! A no cry sleep solution can work but it will take time and you’ll need to be patient.

The no cry sleep solution approach described here avoids the use of controlled crying and goes at the speed you and your child are happy with.

No cry sleep solution: There are of course different toddler sleep problems but for this example let’s assume that you normally lie down with your child for him to go to sleep and so now your child is unable to go to sleep on his own. He wakes up in the night and needs you to lie down with him in order to sleep again.

If this is not your problem then move onto the next step where you are at. Also, before you start any sleep training program you need to look at your toddler’s whole day – he needs a routine during the day so that he is getting sufficient nap time and activity so that he has not had too much sleep in the day nor is overtired at the end of the day.

Before you start a no cry sleep solution you also need to have established a consistent bedtime routine. If you do not have a consistent bedtime routine then plan it today and start it! Let your toddler get used to this new routine for a few days before changing the way he goes to sleep. Remember that the key thing with the bedtime is not rigid timings – it’s the activities being in the same order. You’re getting the building blocks in place.

Secondly, make sure his bedroom is a lovely place for him to be. His bed and bedding are what HE likes and feels good about. The curtains are lined so the light doesn’t disturb him in the morning, you have a night light in place so it’s not completely dark (other programs may disagree with this – remember it’s a personal decision).

Your little one has to have good associations with his bedroom before you change the way he sleeps. Going to sleep on his own is a big step for him so he needs to feel safe and secure where he sleeps. Take time to do this and you can do this with him.

Thirdly, let’s confirm that you want your toddler to be able to go to sleep by himself so that when he has light periods in his sleep cycles and wakes up he can settle himself without waking you up. You want to solve your toddler sleep problems. Here we go! Feel positive – you’re here because you want to make a positive change! Let’s go for the no cry sleep solution because that’s what feels right for you.

Stage 1: Preparation for the no cry sleep solution

Explain to your child that he is getting so big now that he is going to learn how to sleep by himself, just like mommy and daddy! Make it a positive step for your child – similar to potty training. Talk to him about this during the day.

If you lie down with your child, explain to him that you will start lying down with your child and after a few minutes you’ll sit up and read your book whilst he lies down and goes to sleep – sleep time for him and reading time for Mommy. And then tell him you’ll stay there whilst he goes to sleep.

Ask him whether he wants to have a sleep buddy to sleep with like his favorite teddy or you could buy a new one especially – choose it with him if you do. He has to love it. If he says, no, I want you to be my sleep buddy, you need to say no, I’m your Mommy not your sleep buddy!

You need to choose a book for yourself and have a tiny torch – just bright enough for you to read with but not bright enough for you to disturb your child going to sleep.

Do not have a magazine as they’re too noisy when you turn the pages and have too many pictures which might attract your child. It needs to be unattractive to them. You have your book and torch ready in his bedroom near his bed – he’ll see that that book is for you, ready for you to read.

Stage 2 of the no cry sleep solution: Lying and sitting

Lie down as you do do normally for a few minutes and then slowly sit up so you are next to him. If he protests, tell him, it’s okay, I’m sitting here with you. You can hold his hand – or keep a hand on his back, but do not lie down again.

You could say, it’s sleep time for you and Mommy/Daddy time for Mommy/Daddy. If he wants to engage in conversation, do not engage in conversation, repeat that it’s sleep time for you now, we’ll talk tomorrow. And say your good night phrase.

Repeat this for 3 or 4 nights or until this is easy. He’s making a big step, so congratulate him every morning and tell your friends so that they congratulate him too.

You could also make a reward chart or give him a treat specifically for his new sleeping success. Make each small step a reason to celebrate his success – and yours! Remember YOU are in the process of solving your toddler sleep problems. Give yourself a treat too!

Stage 3 of the no cry sleep solution: Short cuddle and sitting next to him

Now instead of lying down you are going to give him a goodnight cuddle (you just bending over) and are going to sit as before. This is still cosy for him and he knows you are there, but he is getting used to gradually being more on his own.

Again, as before, repeat this until this is easy. You need to be consistent, calm and firm. If he protests you can sing a quiet lullaby to him, but do not give in to any lying down. End with your good night phrase.

If this is hard, then your partner can do this on alternative nights so that you both have support and are doing it together. The more support everyone has the easier it is.

And remember to make sure that you’ve had lots of cuddles during the day and a nice, unhurried bedtime. Also, be sure that your toddler is sleepy but not overtired.

Always congratulate your child in the morning even if it wasn’t perfect. He’ll feel good and you will too.

Stage 4 of the no cry sleep solution: Sitting at the end of the bed

You might not need to do this stage. But if you do, you do, no worries! You need to move to the end of the bed so that you are not holding his hand or touching him. Give him a little cuddle as before as you say goodnight and then move to the end of the bed, read your book whilst he goes to sleep.

If your child wants to talk to you you need to say, “shh, sleep time for you now” and your good night phrase.

Repeat this until this is comfortable and easy. Do not revert to lying down – even if you’re tired, and know you would fall asleep yourself, don’t lie down with your toddler!

Stage 5 of the no cry sleep solution: Sitting in a chair

Now you need to move off the bed. So have a chair in your child’s bedroom and instead of sitting on the bed, sit in the chair, again, reading – you’re there but you’re separate. Or have a nap yourself with your book on your lap!

Your child is now going to sleep on their own.

Stage 6 of the no cry sleep solution: Leaving the room

Since it’s sleep time for your toddler and Mommy/Daddy time for you, you can start going out of the room. You can say, goodnight and your goodnight phrase, and say I’m just going to check on something and I’ll be back in a few minutes just to check on you. DO come back in a minute – don’t be longer than you say. Again, you may not need to do this – ideally not, as then your child might not go to sleep because he’s waiting for your check. But go with the flow.

Your toddler is not only learning how to go to sleep by himself but he’s also learning that he’s safe to go to sleep by himself.

Stage 7 of the no cry sleep solution: Moving on

Your child is going to sleep by himself without you there all the time. Say goodnight and tell him that it’s sleep time for him and you’re just getting on with something and will check him after he’s asleep.

He knows you will because that’s what you’ve done in Stage 6. Confirm with him in the morning that you checked him when he’s asleep. He’ll like that idea and can go to sleep knowing that he’ll be okay.

And there you have it. You can solve your toddler sleep problems without distress. But the downside is that it’s slow and takes time – there are no promised times or limits – you go at your own pace. But your child has learnt how to go to sleep by himself with a no cry sleep solution and he should have only happy associations with sleep time.

When he wakes in the night, he will find it easier to go back to sleep by himself. If he wakes you, then sit on his bed until he goes to sleep and repeat the process as above. It won’t take long as he knows how to sleep by himself.

Do not start lying down with him again as you’ll then need to start all over. “Ssh, sleep time for you” is better in the long run!

Your toddler sleep problems can be solved. This no cry sleep solution approach takes time but is relatively stress free. Use a sleep diary to monitor your progress so that you can chart how long each stage takes. We also recommend No Cry Sleep Solution book which you might find helpful. It also helps you to remain focused on the task and to keep going!

And if you start this program to solve your toddler sleep problems, keep going – your child will soon know what to expect and you will too.

Long Distance Parenting

Long distance parenting can be effective and you can still use lots of good parenting skills to help foster a healthy and happy relationship with your child.

Being a long distance parent can happen for a variety of reasons such as divorce, separation, job relocation, education away from home or illness in the family. However, don’t despair – you can still incorporate good parenting skills and have a loving, caring relationship with your child, be they a toddler or a teenager.

It’ll take time and care to maintain and develop a strong relationship from a distance but you can do it.

Here are some long distance parenting tips to help you:

  • Make the most of technology. Use texting and emails just to say hello or to share something of your day. If you have a toddler then send fun pictures, perhaps of where you are, or what you are doing. Send a message for your partner (or ex-partner) to read out to your toddler. Make an effort to take photos of you doing whatever you do in your day.
  • Keep in good contact with your child’s other parent (whether you are together or not!). Ask the other parent to send YOU pictures and messages. If the long distance is due to a separation then work together with your ex-partner for the sake of your children so that the children are the top priority.
  • Send postcards to your children. When a child gets something in the mail or post, it’s very exciting for them! It doesn’t take much time and they will love it. Sending a postcard or letter will make them feel special. You can set up a postcard club so that your child sends you cards too. It can be a really fun activity and enables your child to share their life with you and for you to share theirs. Even if you have a toddler, your partner can help your toddler choose a nice postcard when they are out, and pop it in the post.
  • Have a phone date – daily, weekly, twice-weekly, monthly – whatever is convenient and feels right for all parties. And keep this a priority. Do not miss it, or be late to call. Your child needs to feel valued and special and this date will be very important to her.
  • Make a family website where all parties can upload photos and information about what they are up to.
  • Make a video or an audio tape recording. You an upload videos onto your website. Or if you’re not that technologically inspired simply pop a cassette into the post or mail. And ask your partner to do the same so that you can have a tape of your child. Hearing each other’s voices will help maintain the bond on both sides.
  • Schedule in time to visit or go on holidays together. Ensure that the holiday will be of interest to your children and this will depend on their ages. Include them in the planning of a holiday so that you can listen to their input.
  • Be involved in your child’s schooling and ask the school to send you reports and information. If you child has a special event at school then be sure to put it in your diary so that you will remember to wish them luck beforehand and then ask them how it went after the event.
  • When you are sending emails, texts, or on the phone be sure to really listen to your child. Show them that you are listening and tell them that you love them. Try not to ask your child to pass messages to the other parent, nor ask questions about the parent. Just focus on your child.
  • Children need to know when they are next having contact with you. So after a phone call, be sure to tell them when you are next phoning them, even if it is always the same, just add in, for example, “I’ll speak to you next Wednesday at 7pm”.
  • If you have a toddler then send little fun gifts in the post e.g. stickers, little hats, a little teddy, a little book. Send a tape with you reading a story so that they an have a bedtime story almost with you. Send them lots of pictures of you.
  • You could also have a subscription to a kids magazine so that you both have the same. That gives you something in common and something to talk about. On the phone you could look at it together with the other parent. Or you could look at it whilst you use Webcam – make the most of the technology on offer.
  • You can play online games together today – even for toddlers!
  • If you have the same story book you could also read a book down the phone whilst your child sits with the other parent.
  • When you do see your child be prepared for changes and new likes and dislikes. Relax and go with the flow with a number of planned activities that you have planned together. With long distance parenting the time you have together will be very special – take photos, make a journal so that you can talk about it and refer back to it sometimes.
  • With a young child, use simple questions when you’re on the phone. Rather than ask, what did you do today? Ask something simple, did you go to the park? Have you seen your friends today? Children will love to listen to you about your day and involve things that they are likely to be interested in such as animals, funny stories, anything that they will know about.

Speak to your partner or ex-partner about the importance of both parents encouraging a good relationship with both parents and how you both can make long distance parenting work as well as possible.

This could involve joining in a child’s excitement about sending or receiving mail from the long distance parent, speaking positively about the other parent, letting the children know it’s great to look forward to seeing the other parent, talking about the children’s time with the other parent, etc. If both parents SHOW that your children can SHARE their excitement then this will help your children maintain an open and happy relationship with both parents.

Work together to make long distance parenting work – it’s the best thing you can do for your child, whatever the circumstances. You and your child will then develop a strong relationship which will last a lifetime.

Fitbit Blaze Giveaway

As parents it can be difficult managing everyone’s schedules. There are a lot of demands day to day from keeping the house organized to the kids’ extracurricular activities

Moms are a particular group that can be quite hard on themselves, which is why Flayk, a free, family/life management app now available for free download in both the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store is such a helpful tool.

About Flayk

Flayk allows families to coordinate activities, assign responsibilities, share to-do and shopping lists and award points for completed actions in a single app that can be used by multiple families and groups.

One of the app’s core features is the ability for users to flayk events, which alerts the group in the event of an unexpected conflict – from car trouble to a meeting that runs long –and allows someone else to quickly pick up the task and keep the day moving smoothly.

As detailed in AdWeek, Flayk is the perfect solution for families looking to simplify life in 2016 as well as a technology “must have” for the new aged organized family. Flayk Basic is free, and for a limited time, Flayk Premium, a seamless, ad-free experience with expanded features, is free for the first month.

Premium Service Option

Flayk Premium is regularly priced at $1.99/month or $18.99/year. Flayk is the only family management app on the market to introduce an innovative rewards system that lets families assign point values to specific activities. Family members can earn points for completing tasks and redeem them for specific rewards of the family’s choosing, for example, a raise in allowance, a curfew extension, dinner at a favorite restaurant or a pass on a chore.

Save Flayk recognizes that diversity with its customizable, central hub to organize all kinds of families, whether they live under one roof or are in multiple locations.

In spirit of holding on to those 2020 Mom Resolutions and preparing for the spring season ahead, Flayk is offering a chance to win an all new Fitbit Blaze™ – Fitbit’s New Smart Fitness Watch including a breakthrough features such as PurePulse™ Heart Rate Monitor, Connected GPS, On-Screen Workouts and Color Touchscreen.

How to Tell if My Teen Has a Drinking Problem

How do I know if I have a drinking problem and if I have, what can I do about it?

First of all, you have to understand whereabouts you are in the complex picture of alcohol consumption. Be patient and read the paragraphs below before you answer the questions about your own drinking.

PLEASE note this is not a diagnostic article. We cannot diagnose over the Internet, but we can offer you an opportunity to think about your alcohol intake. It should answer any questions you may have. Read on.

For many of us, heavy drinking is something that develops gradually. It often has a social context; the Friday night drinking binge after a hard weeks work or the drinking to entertain potential or actual business customers.

Because alcohol is so much a part of our leisure culture, and the normal way most of us relieve tension and stress, you can forgive people for not recognizing the warning signs of creeping alcohol dependency.

All studies of alcohol consumption conclude that the higher the average consumption of alcohol in a population, the higher the population’s incidence of alcohol related problems and in the US the figure is going upwards.

But we have to make a distinction here; there are many problems caused by alcohol and in particular, binge drinking – violence between individuals and you only have to take a look at the casualty department of many hospitals to see the results of this; drink-driving, loss of working days and we could go on.

The distinction is that there is a difference between healthy drinking, heavy drinking and alcohol dependency, with the proviso that heavy drinking can develop into alcohol dependency syndrome.

It may be helpful to think of it as a continuum although the nature of the beast is complicated, so it is offered merely as a guideline.

We have chosen a couple of scenarios to illustrate this continuum. As you will see individuals have different patterns of drinking in the early days because the way in which different people drink is very influenced by culture, occupation, class, religion and family history.

Teen Drinking Scenario

First there is Pete. Pete is white, 43 years old and a self-employed builder. He has been married to Gill for 22 years and they have two children.

Pete grew up in the next street and has kept in touch with all his mates from school with the exception of one or two who moved away. Pete has earned good money from his trade and always paid his wife a good weekly sum for housekeeping costs. The care of the home and the kids has always been Gill’s responsibility and both feel this arrangement has worked well for them.

Pete had his first alcoholic drink at ten years old. His dad drank in the same pub and allowed Pete a sip or two when he popped in to tell his dad that Sunday dinner was ready. Pete’s father never kept alcohol in the house and Pete has followed this rule religiously. Pete’s dad died of a heart attack at the age of 59.

Pete started drinking on a Friday night with his mates at the age of 17. It was something they looked forward to all week. Saturday nights was kept for dates with girls. On a Friday, the lads would drink four to five pints to begin with and then with more experience they could put away more and often had competitions to see who could hold their booze and who couldn’t. The first one to throw up would buy two rounds the following week.

When marriage set in, the wives joined the husbands on a Saturday night and gradually over time the lads would meet in the pub during the week and then progressing to four or five nights a week. During his lunch break, Pete would often join a couple of his friends for a pint or two before going back to work. By the time Pete was 37 years old he was drinking between 8-10 pints a day and often 15 pints plus at the weekend. He was still holding down his job and earning money. His only bone of contention was his wife who made it clear she did not like his drinking.

When Pete hit his 40th birthday he had begun to notice that his hands were a little shaky in the morning, causing him a few problems with work. He started to call into the pub at 11am for a couple of pints to “sort me out”. Over the next two years the withdrawal symptoms got worse and he now wakes up feeling nauseous and vomits. He often has night sweats and bad dreams and can not stop his hands shaking until the first drink at 11am. Work has now completely disappeared and Pete and his family are on benefits although his wife works part time. It is at this point that Pete comes for treatment.

Parents Influence on Teen Drinking

A different story could be told for Sam, an executive Sales Director, 42 years old. Sam is of mixed race and neither of her parent’s ever drunk alcohol. Sam began drinking as a student and has always drunk wine. She is well paid and attends many business lunches where alcohol is freely drunk.

On the outside Sam is a confident assertive individual, but has actually always felt shy and quite anxious around large groups of people. She noticed that alcohol allowed her to be witty and funny. By the time she was twenty-two, her drinking was mainly at weekends and involved drinking two bottles a night over the weekend period.

As her affluence and success grew, she moved onto a couple of glasses a night and felt this relieved her tension levels. Over the next year or so, the amount progressed into a bottle of wine a night. If she was on the telephone talking to friends, she could dip into a second bottle and by the time she is thirty, two bottles a night is Sam’s normal consumption. By the time Sam approaches a counselor, she is drinking three to four bottles of wine a day and has begun to notice her hands are shaky in the mornings. She is seriously concerned.

Teen Social Drinking

The continuum shows the progression: “OK” social drinking > alcohol becomes pleasure habit> tolerance increases>more consumption> more tolerance> alcohol still wanted for its tension relieving effects and pleasure but need more>drinking patterns may change, i.e. begin drinking at lunch time and not just in the evening> body begins to need alcohol>notice withdrawal symptoms>alcohol reduces symptoms>individual drinks to avoid symptoms>withdrawal symptoms worsen>drinking becomes more urgent and biggest priority>health deteriorates

So where are you. Answer the following questions honestly. Even if you decide that you do not want to talk to a counselor, it may help you think about your situation and whether you want to change it.

Has anybody ever told you that you drink too much?

Do other people have a different opinion about your drinking than you do?

(It is important to take into account others views of your drinking because often people close to you will notice the problem before you do) Do you sometimes think that alcohol or some other drug may be causing you problems in your life?

If you answered yes to this, it is a good idea to ask some questions and describe to an alcohol and drug counselor exactly what is going on for you. You may want to try the following two questionnaires. One is the DSM-1V test for individuals who are overusing alcohol or drugs and the second measures whether the individual has begun to develop dependency.

Is My Teen Drinking? Quiz

Answer the following questions quickly and honestly, without stopping to rationalize or split hairs. Go with your first response.

1) In the last 12 months, has using alcohol or other drugs occasionally caused you to miss work, college or perform poorly at work or college, neglect your children or fail to perform household duties?

2) In the last 12 months, while under the influence of alcohol or some other drug, have you occasionally driven a car, operated dangerous machinery or participated in potentially hazardous sports?

3) In the last 12 months, have you been arrested for driving while intoxicated, disorderly conduct or any other substance-related offense?

4) In the last 12 months, have you continued drinking or using drugs despite fights or arguments with people close to you expressing concern about your drug or alcohol use?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it suggests that you are misusing alcohol and/or drugs and need to do something about it. Do not be over-alarmed; sorting it out now is better than doing nothing.

The following questions determine whether there is some dependency. Answer quickly and honestly.

1) In the last 12 months, have you been consuming more alcohol or drugs than you originally intended to at a given time, or does your drinking and drug taking go on longer than you originally intended?

2) In the last 12 months, have you wanted to cut down, or have you tried to stop or cut down, and not been able to?

3) In the last 12 months, has your tolerance increased – does it take more alcohol or drugs than it used to get you high, or achieve the desired effect? Or does a given amount have less effect than it used to?

4) In the last 12 months, have you had any withdrawal symptoms for instance, have you felt shaky, sick or dizzy in the mornings after drinking, or thick-headed after smoking marijuana, or paranoid after using cocaine?

5) In the last 12 months, have you spent a significant amount of time procuring alcohol or drugs, using alcohol or drugs, or recovering from their effects?

6) In the last 12 months, have you been spending more time drinking or drugging and less time with your friends and family, in work or college/school related activities, or pursuing hobbies, sports, or other interests?

7) In the last 12 months, have you experienced any emotional or physical side effects – such as depression, anxiety, liver damage, or stomach trouble – but continued to use drugs or alcohol anyway?

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, there is dependency present and it is a good idea to think through what you want to do about it.

Giving Teens the Benefit of the Doubt

I’ll be the first to admit that my teen is no angel. A live wire from birth, she has always possessed a “wiseguy” thread of larceny that she has employed from time to time to stack the proverbial odds in her favor.

But in general, she is a good kid, a chip off the old block (more like her dad than like me) and always seems to land on her feet, a trait some of us parents hope our children can somehow acquire in this mixed-up, live-by-your-wits society.

And, although this is a time I may have it the toughest when trying to make adult sense out of the methods teens use to exert their independence, I cannot, for the life of me, fathom how rude many adults are to teenagers in general.

Have you ever observed the treatment teenagers get when service personnel at stores and in restaurants don’t think their parents are around to observe it?

The negative body language is noticeable and the tone in their voice is oftentimes condescending, for starters. This mistrusting demeanor can persist even when the teens are not present to experience it!

Take, for example, a recent encounter I had with our health club’s staff member, when I found myself having to convince her that my daughter had not forged her signature onto a parental consent form; it was indeed my John Henry that appeared there.

My question is this. How are teens supposed to learn to treat others with respect when they are consistently regarded and treated like second class citizens?

True, many deserve to be ignored when they seek attention in all the wrong ways. But most I know are not worthy of such open disdain, even when they respond in single-syllable answers. These kids are not only future consumers, they are also a huge factor in today’s economy, with many of them possessing considerable spending power.

My beef is somewhat hypocritical, I’ll admit; I have been guilty of thinking the worst when seeing a purple-haired, nose-pierced humanoid with a squeaky voice try to act as if he or she were a normal part of the commercial landscape.

But most teens are baggily dressed, drab-colored sacks of adolescent confusion, trying to act as if they know it all so that they don’t give themselves away. 15-year old boys generally utter three-word sentences, and their female counterparts do nothing but “ooh and ahh” their friends to distraction, giving out false compliments to one another while giggling behind some else’s back.

The truth, in my humble opinion, is that there is no hidden agenda here. Just this batch of years where high schools, parents, cops, and motor vehicle departments are pre-disposed to become control freaks (albeit for some teens’ own good) as a last stab effort before these “Generation Z” members become a force with which to be reckoned.

Why not just try to give a teenager the benefit of the doubt? With as many teens being brought up in families where Mom and Dad have split and moved on to bigger and better things, many of them lack the social skills and domestic stability some of us Baby Boomers grew up with.

And if core family life is so disposable, what examples do these kids have to emulate? Let’s just try to treat them the way we would like to be treated, in Golden Rule fashion, until they give us a real reason to treat them otherwise.