In With the “Wrong” Crowd
Warning Signs Your Teen Is in a Negative Peer Group

Something has changed in the past year, though you can’t quite put your finger on it. He has started cutting classes, his clothes have changed, and his grades are dropping. His best friend smokes, drinks, and stays out all night with no parental supervision. Has your child fallen in with the “wrong crowd”?

Many aspects of teenage life influence your children’s behavior – parents, teachers, friends, and the media are just a few. But a teenager’s peer group has the power to dramatically change your child, in both positive and negative ways. If your child has befriended a trouble-maker, here are a few warning signs and tips on what to do, and what not to do, to get your child back on track.

Warning Signs
There are common signs that a teenager has been exposed to unhealthy peer influences:

  • Your teen suddenly stops spending time with all of her old friends and begins socializing with an entirely new group
  • Sudden drop in school performance, or cutting classes
  • Sudden change in clothing style or color, jewelry or accessories, or makeup
  • Changes in your teen’s tone, mannerisms, or the way she speaks
  • Your teen is suddenly sullen, withdrawn, or secretive
  • Your teen asks to go places or do things that never used to interest him
  • Your teen gets phone calls at odd hours or begins spending more time on the computer

If your teen is exhibiting some or all of these behaviors, get involved immediately. The biggest mistake you can make is assuming it’s “just a phase” that he’ll “grow out of.” Of course, the teenage years are a time of sometimes quick, drastic change that can occur for any number of reasons, but erring on the side of caution will set your mind at ease and show your teen how much you care.

What Is a Parent to Do? Continue reading to learn what to do, and what not to do, with your teen >>

*****************************************************************

Why Nature Is Therapeutic

Humans crave a connection with nature. From gardening and horticulture to taking a stroll through the park or hiking through the mountains, man has found solace in

nature for centuries. But with a rapidly deteriorating environment, shortage of open spaces, fear of “stranger-danger” during outdoor playtime, and an emerging culture of

technology-obsessed youth, American life is punctuated by nature deprivation and a disconnect with the world around us. Although quality time in nature is hard to come

by, here are a few reasons to make the great outdoors a part of daily life.

A Natural High

Generations of brilliant minds, naturalists and authors have documented the many benefits of spending time in nature. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), an American

author, naturalist, and philosopher best known for his book Walden, celebrated the therapeutic effects of nature by saying, “I believe that there is a subtle

magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.” Nature has played an integral role in the quest for happiness and personal fulfillment of

many other historical figures as well, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir and Charles Darwin. Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), acclaimed architect and philosopher,

advised, “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

There is a strong body of research confirming that direct contact with nature increases mental health and psychological and spiritual development. Benefits include

stress reduction, a sense of coherence and belonging, improved self-confidence and self-discipline, and a broader sense of community.

Read more about the therapeutic benefits of nature >>