Category: Dating and Relationships

January 21, 2015

1159994_73468412What is peer pressure?

A peer is someone in your own age group that you hang out with. Peer pressure is the feeling that you are being pushed towards making a certain choice, good or bad. Peer pressure might be difficult to avoid, especially for teenagers, because people in general like to “fit in” and be liked by their peer groups. Sometimes you don’t even know that it is happening, or that you are making choices because of peer pressure. Your peers might even use your desire to fit in to make you do things that you don’t want to do.


Examples of Negative peer pressure:

  • Doing things you do not want to do.
  • Feeling pushed to wear “the right” clothes.
  • Missing school.
  • Extreme dieting or bodybuilding.
  • Teasing, bullying or hurting other people.
  • Trying cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs.


Am I prone to peer pressure?

Certain personality traits and factors make a person more likely to give in to pressure. Recognizing these risk factors will help you make the first step in fighting peer pressure:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of confidence
  • Lack of strong friendship
  • Uncertainty about one’s place within a peer group
  • Feeling isolated from peers and/or family
  • Close bond with a bully


How to combat peer pressure

  • Be true to yourself. Think about who you are and what is good for you.
  • Be confident and make your own decisions.
  • Feel comfortable asserting your opinions and feelings.
  • Learn from your successes and mistakes.
  • Recognize who your true friends are: these are the people whom you trust and who have your best interest in mind.
  • Prepare a mental script of how you would like to handle requests from your peers.
  • Know where you stand on key issues like alcohol and drugs and stay firm with your position.
  • Never be afraid to speak up and let others know your boundaries. Most people respect the boundaries of others when they know what they are.
  • Refuse to take part in bullying or anything designed to cause harm to another person.
  • Remember that peer pressure only wins if you let it.


For More Info and Interactive Games in dealing with peer pressure:

January 21, 2015

dating coupleIn a Healthy Relationship, You have the Right to:

  • Be treated with respect and as an equal
  • Express your opinions and feelings
  • Not be hurt physically or emotionally
  • Have friends and activities outside of the relationship
  • To refuse sex or any degree of intimacy at any time
  • To end a relationship


Tips for Starting a Healthy Relationship:

  • Get to know the person better before starting to date
  • Try some group activities before going out alone with the other person
  • Explore each other’s interests
  • Build a foundation of respect and appreciation
  • Be clear with him/her about what you feel comfortable doing
  • Encourage the other person to be honest with you
  • Let him/her know what time your parents expect you to be home
  • Stay safe, let your friends/parents know where you are going and who you are going with


The Importance of Open Communication:

Open communication is the key to a healthy relationship. To get to know each other better, you and your partner should feel comfortable expressing your true feelings. It is important for the two of you to have a mutual understanding about what you will and will not do. This way, you can do things together that you both enjoy. In addition, healthy couples respect each other’s right to say “no”. You and your date should value each other’s opinions and listen to each other non-judgmentally. An open communication allows you to feel good about being yourself and enables you to develop a close and long-lasting relationship.


Tips for Communicating with Your Partner:

  • Be a good listener. Keep an open mind and be non-judgmental.
  • Use non-verbal signals to show that you care: facial expressions, posture, eye contact, tone, volume, rhythm, etc.
  • Avoid making assumptions—ask when you’re unsure
  • Don’t jump to conclusions. Wait unitl you have all the information.
  • Be specific and honest to avoid misunderstandings
  • Use “I” statements to express your feelings without criticizing the other person
  • Watch for your partner’s body language
  • Don’t force yourself or your partner


Spending Time Apart As Well As Together:

When you’re in a relationship, it’s natural to want to spend a lot of time with your partner. But do try to spend a little time apart. A healthy relationshp is one that gives people “me” time as well as “us” time. If you find yourself giving up friends and personal interests to be with your partner, you may want to take a step back and create some personal space. Similarly, your partner may need some space too. Giving your partner personal space is a form of respect, and it shows that you want what is best for him/her. In the long run, this helps to strengthen your relationship. Other advantages of spending time apart include but are not limited to:

  • Allowing you to maintain friendships
  • Letting you pursue personal interests that your partner may not share
  • Providing you with new perspectives
  • Giving you something new to talk about
  • Making the two of you appreciate each other more when you do spend time together


Additional Advice on Spending Time Apart:

  • Remember “quality over quantity” for the amount of time you two spend together.
  • Be supportive when your partner wants to spend time with his/her own friends.
  • Don’t follow or check on your partner when he/she hangs out with friends.
  • It’s natural for anyone to have friends of the opposite sex. Don’t be over-sensitive; trust your partner.
  • Understand that just because your partner is not with you doesn’t mean he/she does not love you.
  • Resist from calling your partner too much.
  • Take time for yourself: hang out with friends, visit family, take a class, participate in an extracurricular activity.


Doing Little Things to Show You Care:

  • Know your partner’s likes and dislikes
  • Remember what your partner has said
  • Give small gifts
  • Give words of encouragement when he/she has an important test, presentation, or job interview.
  • Compliment something specific about him/her
  • Keep a picture of him/her in your wallet
  • Send him/her postcards when you’re on vacation
  • Bake him/her cookies
  • Leave the last piece of cake for him/her
  • Hold the door for him/her
  • Do some of his/her chores, without being asked
  • Let him/her pick the movie, TV show, or radio station
  • Make them your #1 on Myspace
  • (Be creative and think of what else you can do.)


*Attention: Don’t overdo these “little things.” Make sure you are not suffocating your partner. Leave some personal space for him/her!

January 21, 2015

I don’t know what to talk to my parents about.

Parents are most interested in their children’s lives at school or work, but there are many other things that you can use to start a conversation:

  • Common interests you share with your parents: sports, music, movies, books, traveling, collections, etc.
  • Something you find interesting: a new movie, video game, current event, or story you heard.
  • Watch TV together and talk about the shows.
  • Ask your parents about their day.
  • Help set the table while your parents prepare dinner, ask what else you can do.


Whenever I tell my parents anything, they start asking a lot of questions.

Understand that when your parents ask about your life, they are just interested in your activities and want to show support. It is not their intention to pressure you, and they may not even realize that you find their questions intrusive. If you think that not telling them anything at all is the answer, you are wrong! They may think that you are hiding something and start to set rules that you feel are unreasonable. Not communicating will just make matters worse. Let your parents know how you feel, and be patient and kind when you do this. The more information you offer, the less they need to ask. Talking to them about everyday things also show them that you are mature and responsible enough to make good decisions.


How do I avoid turning a conversation into a fight?

  • When your parents are talking, look at them so they know that you are listening.
  • Let them finish and don’t interrupt. Ask them to do the same for you.
  • As they open up to you, you have to open up to them also.
  • Show them you are interested in the conversation.
  • Share with them what you think.
  • Don’t expect the conversations to always be light and cheery, but being patient is always the best strategy.
  • Remain respectful and keep your voice calm. If you raise your voice, they will do the same too.


What if I have to disagree with what my parents say?

Everyone can feel offended when his or her views are being challenged. This is true for both you and your parents. So when you have to disagree with what they say, try to do so without disrespect. Showing respect helps you get your points across. Acting respectfully also demonstrates maturity, which convinces your parents that you are a mature grown-up capable of making decisions. The following tips may help:

  • Use respectful language and behavior. No sarcasms or yells.
  • Listen to their point of view, so they will listen to yours too.
  • Don’t make it personal. If you disagree, try to remember you are upset at the idea or concept, not the person raising it.
  • Don’t put down their beliefs. Instead of saying, “That’s a stupid idea,” say, “I don’t agree, and here’s why.”
  • Use “I” statements to communicate personal feelings because “You” statements can sound argumentative.
  • Put your ideas into a letter if this is easier.


How to tell your parents about a bad grade or a mistake that you made:

  • Talk to both parents at the same time. Any angry reaction may be controlled by the other person’s presence. Plus, it saves you from having to have the same conversation twice.
  • Enter the conversation with a good mindset and talk to them politely.
  • Never lie, it only makes things worse.
  • Tell them exactly what is going on. Give them all the details in order for them to understand.
  • If they get upset, stay calm. It will make things worse if both of you are arguing and stating your points at the same time.
  • Always promise to do better next time or not make the same mistake again and stay on course to fulfill that promise.
  • Involve them in your improvement process by letting them help you. This way they know you’re trying.
  • Although you may not believe this: Parents are parents; they discipline you for your own good. Just remember to keep trying!


Other tips to improve relationship with your parents:

  • Be open to them and show them love.
  • Little words like “Good morning” and “Thank you” can warm their hearts.
  • Give them small presents just to let them know you remember them.
  • Understand that your parents were brought up differently. This is part of who they are, and you need to accept the fact that it is not easy for them to change at this point in their lives.
January 21, 2015

ViolenceBullying is a problem affecting many youths and can have lasting impact on their lives.  In the United States, 20.1% of high school students in grades 9-12 reported they were bullied on school property and 16.2% reported they were bullied electronically through e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites or texting (Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, Center for Disease Control, 2011). To prevent bullying, it is necessary to understand the problem and know what steps to take to stop it.


What is Bullying?

Bullying is when someone repeatedly harms another person either physically or emotionally due to an imbalance of power.  Actions such as physically or verbally attacking someone, spreading rumors, and purposely excluding someone from a group are examples of bullying. Recently, technology has opened up a new venue for bullying through the use of the internet, social media sites, and messaging, which is referred to as cyberbullying.  The source of cyberbullying is difficult to locate and any harassing remarks or photos once they are posted online are hard to delete.


Who is likely to be a Bully?

People who bully others are often rejected and isolated by their peers. Those who bully others may:

  • Be aggressive or easily frustrated
  • Have trouble at home and at school
  • Have a strong need to fit in or take control
  • Have difficulty resolving problems with others
  • Have negative attitudes and beliefs about others
  • Have negative feelings toward self


Who is likely to be a Target of Bullying?

People who are socially isolated or have disabilities tend to be at an increased risk of being bullied.  Individuals are picked on because they are seen as people who do not fit in.  Those who are targets of being bullied may:

  • Be viewed as different from their peers such as in weight, appearance, or actions
  • Be perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves
  • Be depressed, anxious, or have low self-esteem
  • Be shy and unlikely to speak up
  • Have trouble getting along with others


What are the Effects of Bullying?

Those who are being bullied are more likely to:

  • Skip classes and not do well in school
  • Have health complaints
  • Have increased mental health problems including depression and anxiety, which may persist into adulthood


How to Avoid Being a Target of Bullying

  • Develop self confidence and self esteem
  • Learn to stand up for yourself
  • Look the bully in the eye and say STOP when being bullied
  • Don’t react to comments from bullies but simply walk away
  • Stick with your peers and within sight of an adult
  • Stay away from areas where bullies tend to strike
  • Tell a trusted adult if you are continuously being bullied


What to Do

  • If you or someone you know is being bullied, report it to a parent, teacher, principal, counselor, coach or an adult you trust
  • If you or someone you know is being cyber bullied, report it to the internet service providers/ social media sites, a trusted adult, or law enforcement
  • If you or someone you know feels hopeless and is thinking of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • If there is immediate harm, call 911


No one deserves to be bullied. Remember that you are not alone and there are people who care and will help you


For more information about bullying and how to stop it:

1 October 22, 2014

dating violence

Is someone you know a victim of dating violence? Are you in an abusive relationship?  What can you do to help yourself or your friends? What are your rights in a relationship? Let’s find out.


What is Dating Violence?

Dating violence is a set of abusive behavior that a person shows towards another in a relationship. Violence does not have to be physical; it can be in the form of verbal, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. Dating violence can happen to people of any race, culture, age, and religious background. It occurs in homosexual as well as heterosexual relationships.


Quick statistics:

Dating violence may be more prevalent than you think:

  • 1 in 3 teenagers reported knowing a friend who has been hit by their partner. (2005)
  • 62% teenagers said they know friends who have been verbally abused by a boyfriend/girlfriend. (2008)
  • 26% girls in a relationship reported experiencing repeated verbal abuse. (2008)
  • Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend had threatened violence or self-harm when the girl suggested break-up. (2005)


What are the Different Forms of Abuse?

  • Physical abuse: Hitting, kicking, choking, pulling hair, throwing things, driving extremely fast, imprisoning, or using weapons to threaten or hurt a partner.
  • Emotional abuse: Insulting, blaming, being extremely jealous or controlling, monitoring a partner’s activities, preventing the partner from going to school or work, isolating the partner from friends or family, making up stories, or spreading harmful rumors.
  • Verbal abuse: Yelling, name-calling, putting-down, or threatening a partner. The abuser may threaten to hurt oneself, the partner, friends, or family members.
  • Sexual abuse: Forcing a partner to have sexual relationship or behavior, attacking private body parts, or spreading sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on purpose.
  • Financial abuse: Taking money, preventing a partner from going to work, purposely damaging a partner’s credit history, or threatening to interfere with immigration or employment status.


Warning Signs of Abusive Behavior:

  • Extreme jealousy or possessiveness
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Attempts to isolate you from friends or family
  • Blaming you for his/her problems
  • Believing in rigid gender roles
  • Using force or threats during an argument
  • Showing any form of physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse, as described previously


Helping a Friend who might be in an Abusive Relationship:

Signs of a victim:

  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Persistent sadness
  • Unwilling to express oneself
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Insisting on more privacy
  • Falling grades
  • Unexplained wounds or injuries
  • Making excuses for the abuser


Things you can do:

  • Help your friend recognize the abuse
  • Let your friend know that the abuse is not his/her fault
  • Show your concern and support
  • Listen to what your friend has to say, and keep what he/she says confidential
  • Be sensitive and understanding; realize that there are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships
  • Respect your friend’s decisions, including those you may not agree with
  • Encourage your friend to participate in activities outside of the relationship
  • Inform your friend that he/she can get help from many free and confidential services
  • Encourage him/her to talk to someone who can provide guidance


Where to Get Help:

No one deserves to be abused. If you are being hurt in your relationship, or are afraid that you might be at risk, you can receive free and confidential advice from:

California Youth Crisis Line: 1-800-843-5200


Teen Dating Violence PSA

October 22, 2014

Understanding the Difference between Dating and Sex:

kissing coupleDating is a time when two people get to know each other better. Too often teens think it is a hall pass to the other person’s body. Your date may say things like, “If you don’t want to have sex, why are we dating? or “If you truly love me, you shouldn’t say no.”  Remember, in any relationship, you have the right to voice your opinion. It is important for you to assert yourself and not give in to things you do not want to do. Be prepared to give answers like, “We’re dating because I love you and I want to spend time with you. If you want to have sex, then you are dating the wrong person.”

Saying “No”:

In a healthy relationship, couples respect each other’s right to say no. And the best way to say no to sex or affection is by saying “No.” Anything else could be taken the wrong way or could give the other person “reasons” to persuade you. Don’t be afraid to express your opinions and feelings. Any strong, loving relationship is built on the basis of mutual respect. If you feel forced to fulfill your date’s request, maybe that individual is not the right person for you.

Communicating with Your Partner about Safer Sex:

  • Be well-informed about sexual health issues
  • Talk to your partner about safer sex before you two become sexually intimate.
  • Choose a convenient time and a comfortable environment to talk.
  • Discuss one issue at a time.
  • Use “I” statements, such as I would feel more comfortable if we use a condom.
  • Ask open-ended questions. For example, What do you think if we use condoms as well as birth control pills? Or, What do you think if we wait until we graduate to have sex?
  • Avoid making assumptions; ask if you are unsure. For example, I think you said that you want us to use condoms as well birth control pills, is that right? Or, I think you want us to wait until we graduate to have sex, is that right?
  • Be patient to get your points across.
  • Give your partner time to response. Don’t interrupt and don’t jump to conclusion.
  • Let your partner know that you care about his/her feeling.
  • Stay firm with your commitment to sexual safety. Your partner may say things like, If you love me, you would trust me and not use a condom. Don’t give in to such kind of persuasion.
  • Understand that it is okay if things do not get resolved right away. Having some time to think first can be beneficial to both of you.


Sex Ed Library:

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