Expert Advice

How to Create Consequences with Your Teen   By Delaney Ruston, MD Originally appeared on Screenagers Tech Talk Tuesday blog In a recent blog, I wrote about how to effectively say “no” around screen time and I promised to write more about accountability and consequences when rules are broken. Enforcing rules is by far one of the hardest things we do as parents, especially with teens. There is so little written that gives example consequences and yet getting ideas is so important as a parent. So, after you read this, share what you do in the comments section below — that would be a real gift. Knowing I would write this tonight, I decided to clarify with my daughter, Tessa (who is in Screenagers — and now in 11th grade), the consequences regarding the rules (that she helped create) around screen time at night. Sunday through Thursday night, at a time we agreed upon she hands my husband or me her phone, or she or she plugs it in to charge in the corner of my bedroom. The rule includes not using her computer for socializing after that time as well — i.e. no instant messaging or Instagram on the computer. I asked her for ideas for consequences if she did not turn in the phone at the agreed upon time. Her first one was that if she breaks the rule, she would not have access to her phone for the entire following day. I responded “really?” — with a tone that implied that maybe that would be too harsh. And then, she quickly came up with something a little less harsh, “I can’t bring it to school the next day.”  We agreed that made sense. Next, we started brainstorming ways she would succeed with the rule. I asked if she thought it would help her to put an alarm on her phone for the time that she is supposed to put it in my room. She said, “Yep, that makes sense, I will set it for five minutes before to help remind me.” Setting fair consequences, that our youth help set (when possible), is a gift we give our children. It is a lot easier to “check out” and just let kids and teens sort out for themselves what, when and how long they want to use screens. But, of course, that is not the solution. Frankly, that approach would prevent many kids from reaching short- and

5 Ways To Get Your Teen More Active This Summer It may be called the lazy days of summer, but Health Canada recommends that teens engage in at least 60 minutes of exercise daily. Not only does regular physical activity help maintain good health but it’s a great way to boost body image and confidence. While the end of the school year signals the end of gym classes and school sports, it doesn’t have to mean that physical activity comes to a stop. To keep your teen active all summer, here are five ways to encourage them to keep moving. By Rhiannon Ness Sign them up at Planet Fitness. The gym is offering teens aged 15-18 the chance to work out for freeat one of its 30+ locations across Canada until September as a part of its Teen Summer Challenge. They will be offering fitness classes with a certified trainer that are designed specifically for teenagers once a day, Monday through Friday. The gym is also sharing an important message about body positivity. “Planet Fitness is a judgement-free zone,” says Becky Zirlen, senior public relations manager at Planet Fitness. “So, this is the perfect opportunity for teens to try a gym!” Try cycling! Cycling is a great way to stay active, and it could be an important way of bonding with your teen. On top of that, it is a way that could keep the whole family active! In 2018, ParticipACTION released its Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth and found that only 35 per cent of Canadian kids and teens aged 5-17 are meeting the national physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity per day. Get the whole family on their bikes after dinner for an early evening ride! Enroll them in sports camp! Many community centres and schools like UCC Summer Camps and Camp UofT offer themed sports and fitness camps for teens. These camps are a great way to stay active while also giving them the opportunity to meet other teens with the same interest in sports and fitness. Find a program in your area—check schools, parks, community centres—for the perfect fit for your teen! Have fun. Encourage your teen to try different things until they find something they love that doesn’t feel like work. Toronto-based personal training specialist Leo Stafford suggests “that people do whatever grabs their attention.” This could be a sport that they

3 Tips on Managing Your Teen's Mood Swings   Is your tween or teen experiencing the symptoms of what I call the ‘Emotional Armageddon Syndrome' or EAS? Let me give you an example of how EAS might look like. This is a real story. Picture my 13-year-old daughter bombarding me with hugs, telling me how much she loves me. A split of a millisecond later, her smile magically transforms into the meanest frown simply because I said: “Honey, don’t forget to clean your room before you go to bed.” Does this sound familiar? The truth is most kids become a different child when they reach the tween or teen years. As they enter the pre-adolescent years, they begin to experience physical, emotional and social changes. Frankly, many have a hard time facing their puberty and don’t know what to do with it. If you remember, our bodies were totally wacked and out of control when we became teens. Between the menstrual cycle, wild hormones, physical development, voice cracking, new desires and curiosity, puberty can be quite challenging. Then, you have the teenager who tends to over-react as her world is seemingly crashing down. “I hate school. All my teachers hate me. No one wants to be my friend. Everyone is trashing me on social media. My life is a disaster!” Maybe you’re noticing these unpredictable and intense mood swings yet finding yourself unprepared to deal with these changes properly. The good news is that, according to research, mood swings during adolescence are actually normal, aren’t necessarily a reason to worry and they shall pass. I wonder if these researchers have tweens and teens at home? Anyhow, the key here is to help you and your tween/teen manage these swings in a healthier way. In this post, I’m sharing three tips to help you guide and support your child during this intense journey so that they learn to face mood swings in a healthier way while keeping your sanity along the way. Does this sound like a plan? All right, let’s get started! Tip 1. Stay Calm One thing that worked well for our 17-year-old son and seems to be working well for our 13-year-old daughter is focusing on how we’re going to react to their mood swings before we correct the behaviour. An effective way to address your children’s mood swings is to remain calm, in control and exercise patience as you interact with your moody tween or teen. In other words, don’t take