THE MGA BLOG

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Re-Establishing Trust After Your Teen Breaks A Major Rule

Adolescence is a tumultuous and often overwhelming time in life, and as a result, teens commonly make mistakes that can lead to broken trust with the adults in their lives. Teens who struggle with depression, anxiety, drugs, and underage drinking are even more likely to have behavioral problems that cause a significant breach of trust…

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Evaluating The Best Volunteer Opportunities For Your Teen

Volunteerism can have an enormous impact at any stage of life. These experiences are especially powerful during the teen years, and they can help set young people up for future success. While it may take a bit of time to convince an already busy teen that making room in their schedule for volunteer opportunities are…

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How To Get A Sports-Oriented Teen To Hit The Books

Sports are great, athletics beneficial, and of course, physical fitness is important for children and teens alike. But those passions can be taken too far. And in the teen life overdoing any one area usually leads to the other areas getting short shrift. So, if your teenager is paying too much attention to sports and…

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Got A Teen Bookworm? Balancing Studies With A Social Life

First off, let it be said right up front: it’s fantastic that your teen is a bookworm. It’s fantastic that she is a good student and loves to learn. Many parents would give just about anything for their kids to follow suit! However, too intense a focus on a single activity can hamper her development…

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Silence Isn’t Always Golden: How to Get a Quiet Teen to Open Up

Most parents and teachers would love to understand teenagers better, especially when it comes to how they are facing day-to-day challenges. But that’s difficult when a characteristic of adolescence seems to be remaining quiet or offering minimal responsiveness. This distance often looks like sullenness — or something worse. While a degree of hesitation in talking…

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Trash Talk: Prepping Your Teen for Political Conversations in 2020

We live in political times. While it’s up to the political scientists to determine whether the heightened volume of political discourse equates to increased political involvement, it is safe to say that few remain untouched by the talk and chatter of politics. And alas, much of it is ugly with name-calling, insults, and rancor. It…

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group running on track top-down view

The Basics: How good diet and exercise can help teens

The therapeutic mental benefits of proper diet and exercise are well-established. The brain is a part of the body, and improving bodily health lessens depression and anxiety, stimulates productive thinking and higher energy levels. However, many articles on the topic focus on adults. For teenagers, who are still developing physically, mentally, and emotionally,  diet and…

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teen girl curly hair looking at phone in landscape

Preparing your teen for the challenging world of social media

In the last 15 or so years, our worlds have been turned upside down by technology. Virtually overnight, we all have devices in our hands at all times. We can obsessively search the Web, count the “likes” on our social media posts, and comment on strangers’ posts. Many parents are confused about how best to…

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Parent and teen stigma

Ignore the Stigma and Get The Help You Need

You have a teen in trouble. Whether the challenges are behavioral, emotional, or with substances, your child is in jeopardy and needs help. It is not uncommon for parents to feel discomfort, embarrassment, or shame when having a child who needs counseling or professional treatment. Natural enough, we want our kids to be “normal,” to…

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preteen girl lying on blanket in grass looking at camera

When is the Right Time to Seek Outside Help for Your Teen

More and more we (fortunately) live in a world where the stigma of seeking professional help for psychological or emotional problems is lessening. Many people now routinely avail themselves of a variety of resources for these challenging issues, tapping into the resources provided by professional therapists, medical doctors, Twelve Step Groups, etc. But that doesn’t…

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girl facing away looking at sunset

The Tricky Line Between Autonomy and Discipline

Your child is your child. Your child is also her own person. Between these obvious facts, there is ample opportunity for confusion and conflict between the two of you. The line is a tricky one, the trickiest part being that it keeps moving. In certain situations, it’s proper for your teenager to assert her own…

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Girl sitting on rocks with back at camera

Don’t Take it Personally

Your child is the most important person in the world to you. Being a parent is as personal as personal gets. So how is it possible to not take your teen’s acting out personally? As a reflection of your parenting skills, or supposed lack thereof? Because, challenging as it is, learning the skill of detachment…

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mother and daughter walking on gravel road surrounding by trees and brush

Compromise is Not a Four-Letter Word

Teenagers, especially teens in trouble, have characteristics that can be maddening. Particularly so is the tendency to want what they want, when they want it, and more all the time. Not so surprising — this can be human foible, no matter the demographic — but the greatest part of maturity is learning to temper expectations…

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Teen girl holding head and looking out of frame

Leaving the cage behind yields tangible dividends

Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a walk. We might speak metaphorically: this house feels like a prison, the walls are closing in, I’m feeling claustrophobic, I have cabin fever. But those of us rearing adolescents know that domestic confines can be all too real. Particularly when cohabitating with a teen, where there are so…

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teen girl sitting on dock looking out at water

How to help your teenager find her niche

Teens can sometimes seem lackadaisical, directionless, and meandering — and sometimes they are. That’s totally fine; this is the time in life to observe, drift a bit, try things on for size and shrug them off it’s not a good fit. A hands-off approach is good, but where does that leave the parent who wants…

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girl standing smiling with mom

How to reconnect with a troubled adolescent

Finding common ground and opening lines of communication with any teenager can be tricky, to say the least. If the child in question is experiencing some difficulties, from school problems to emotional disturbances, the difficulty ramps up. Not only is there the obvious generational divide and the routine patterns of avoidance and even defiance that…

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girl standing overlooking city

Don’t project your ambitions onto your child

You want the best for your child, and you’re willing to do the research if there are problems. Otherwise, you’d be unlikely to be reading this blog! You’re a good parent, and like all good parents you want your teen to be healthy, happy and to have a life as good as you know they…

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teen girls on boat taking a selfie together

The Powerful Impact of Positive Thinking

Teen girls, at the crossroads between childhood and adulthood, are in a place of rapid development and change, and even in the best of situations it is a tumultuous period of life. That’s why recovery from abuse and behavioral issues can be especially harrowing for them. Add trauma and behavioral issues to the mix and…

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Girl sitting looking at sunset

Help Recognize Negative Thought Patterns

The way our daughters think about themselves and the world isn’t always positive — in fact, all too often teenager’s mindsets can be dominated by negative thoughts that don’t accurately reflect the reality around them. These kinds of irrational and self-critical thoughts can create unhappiness, lower self-confidence and increase anxiety. Some psychologists call these recurring…

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two girls embracing over view of canyon

How Should We Think About Boundaries?

We want our daughters to become independent, stable and fulfilled adults. To get there, they’ll need to explore the world and their place in it during their teen years. That’s when they need to be challenged and learn to overcome those challenges. In this way, they’ll gain the skills and maturity needed to develop into…

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woman setting table for nice dinner

The Benefits of Family Mealtime

Time spent together can create bonds and also boost ongoing communication In a world of busy schedules and extracurricular activities, the traditional idea of family mealtime may seem unobtainable. Even so, realize that regular family dinners have numerous emotional and psychological benefits for both children and parents. Research has linked frequent family meals to increased…

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Girl sitting on rock with hands interlocked

Recognizing OCD in Your Teenage Daughter

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) affects 2.2 million Americans. It usually appears firstduring adolescence or early adulthood, although it can appear earlier in childhood. While manyparents have heard or OCD or seen its media portrayal, it’s easy to misunderstand the signs ofOCD in your teenage daughter and feel unprepared to deal with a diagnosis. Here are…

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Seven Tools for Managing Teenage Anxiety

Thirty percent of all teenage girls suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental health. Experts expect that number to grow as teenagers spend more time on electronic devices, invest less in family relationships, and experience an increasing number of social and academic pressures. The truth is, it’s impossible…

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All parents worry about bullying.

Your Daughter is the Bully. Now What?

Every parent worries about the dangers of bullying—but what if your daughter is the bully? Usually, the news will come from a school administrator, or sometimes another parent. For most people, the first reaction is disbelief. No parent wants to think their child is capable of bullying others, but it’s a more common phenomenon than…

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A girl reading her phone outside is an example of social media use.

Social Media Use: How Much is Too Much?

The news on social media use by teenage girls can be scary. How bad is it really? The image is everywhere: teenagers with their heads down, buried in a smartphone screen.  Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, plus many other games and services act as online connectors—you’ll often hear concerned parents refer to social media as an…

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How to Encourage Mindfulness in Your Daughter

Mindfulness and mindful practices have been shown to have many beneficial effects—but they don’t happen on their own. You’ve probably heard the term mindfulness. Mindfulness is used to describe the state of being completely present—aware of, attuned to, and curious about what’s happening around you, while avoiding being overwhelmed, thinking frantically, or reacting judgmentally. In…

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How Do We Listen To Our Teens

The skill of listening to our kids, particularly teenagers in trouble, is a vital one. An old adage says you never learn a thing when you’re talking. If we can take the time to observe and listen to our teens, we can gain vital insights on who they are as people, what their current circumstances…

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Recognizing Positive People Vs. Negative People

A peer group, whether they be friends, colleagues, romantic partners or simply acquaintances, can have an influence on our attitudes and actions. But the impact of peer groups on developing adolescents can be especially outsized. Our teens are susceptible to influence in this stage of life — positive and negative — as they spend so…

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Setting Realistic Goals

When we see our children in distress, we want answers and solutions right away. It’s normal: no one wants to see their daughter suffer, and we want her restored right away to the cheerful, bright person she was before. However, while this is normal, it also is a recipe for frustration. It is important to…

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Warning Signs You Have a Daughter in Trouble

Raising a teen girl can be trying even in the best of circumstances. The phase of adolescence and post-adolescence is virtually synonymous with some rebellion and friction. One of the things that can be so insidious about recognizing troubling behavior in your teen daughter is how so many of the early warning signs can be…

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When One Child Is Suffering and the Other Isn’t

Every parent knows they don’t choose their children. The little things come into the world with their own personalities, likes and dislikes, laughs and tears. One of the most difficult situations parents can find themselves in is when one of their children is stuck in a time of difficulty and crisis, while the other is…

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What to Do When your Daughter Is the Bully

There have been phone calls from the school. You know the other parents are talking behind your back. You’ve even been on the receiving end of her hostility. All the signs are there. Your teenage daughter has become a bully and you have absolutely no idea what to do about it. First of all, if…

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Online Snooping: Is it Ever a Good Idea?

Parents who sense something is wrong with their teenage daughters want to know why. Has she started taking drugs? Is her boyfriend abusive? Is she being bullied online? Since so much of a teenage girl’s life is conducted through social media channels, texts or other messaging platforms, it’s natural for parents to be tempted to…

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Six Common Phrases that are Actually Harmful to Teenage Girls

Everybody has said them at some point or another, and if you’re female, you’ve probably heard them too. In the course of everyday communication, we have hundreds of phrases that seem inconsequential on the surface, but in reality, reinforce negative images about how girls should act and behave. These six in particular, are damaging to…

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When the Bullying is Coming from Inside the Family

Nobody likes to talk about it. Your teenage daughter is being bullied. And it’s devastating. She’s depressed. Her anxiety is damaging her social life. She’s losing touch with everything that used to make her happy. When she’s alone in her room and you knock on the door, a brief moment of panic comes…what if she…

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Depressed Teenage Daughters: Three Stages Every Parent Goes Through

The mug may say ‘world’s greatest mom or dad’, but when your daughter has depression, you certainly don’t feel like you deserve it. Whilst all teenagers go through some depression, you know your daughter’s situation is different. She’s lost her enthusiasm for life and you’re not sure it’s coming back. As much as you wish…

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How To Develop Skills For Improving Relationships 

Humans are social by nature. We all thirst to have other people being our friends and crave for interactions at every opportunity. Good relationships make life enjoyable while we also become innovative. At the same time, with friends in our stable, we have a better chance of facing challenges such as sickness, boredom and loneliness.…

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Your “Troubled” Teen isn’t Troubled…

YOUR “TROUBLED” TEEN ISN’T TROUBLED… She’s Hurting. Of all the labels you dreamed your daughter might have had growing up – princess, honor roll, varsity team – one probably very far from that list was troubled. Yet, after a string of bad relationships, difficult conversations, and behavioral changes, you sense that daughter is beginning to…

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Signs of Anxiety in Teenager Daughters

Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to feelings of anxiety and can easily become trapped in its debilitating physical, emotional and social patterns. For every parent of a teenage daughter, it’s critical to recognize the signs of anxiety to make sure you’re working towards the right solution. First, it’s important to understand what anxiety is. The American…

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5 Ways To Deal With A Teen Who Is Acting Out

Lately, you may have noticed that your teenage child has changed drastically. They now dare to answer back and harshly for that matter. You recall that a few days ago a similar situation occurred at school and you were forced to go and plead with the teachers to let them stay. Otherwise, the school administrator…

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Know the Signs: Depression in Teen Girls

By the time they reach their teen years, girls are more than twice as likely as boys to be diagnosed depression, at a prevalence that’s comparable to adults (fourteen to twenty per cent). It’s known that girls’ emotional recognition matures faster than boys’. This same sensitivity to the feelings of others can also make them…

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