Category Archives: Values

Establishing Rules for Teens

I don’t know which is worse: being a teenager or having one.

Teenagers are at a point in their lives where they are only beginning to mature. They want more responsibility, but still need boundaries and guidelines, especially because many teens feel invulnerable.

The number one rule when it comes to teenagers is to never argue. The minute you argue, you lose because you put yourself on their level and they know it.

In addition, parents should set clear and sensible rules in advance. Sit down with your teen and discuss the rules and consequences together. Don’t make empty threats, and be consistent. If you are enforcing a consequence, be very clear about why it is taking place. For example, “Because you didn’t ___, you will have to___, which we previously discussed.”

Here are some areas in which parents absolutely need to establish rules with their teens:

    1. Driving. Car accidents are the number one killer of teens. Some rules that keep teens safer in the car include spending more time driving with parents, limiting passengers, eliminating distractions such as music, food, and cell phones, and being required to pay for gas, insurance, and any tickets received. If your teenager breaches the rules, the car is gone. It’s a one-strike policy because this is a matter of life and death.


    1. Use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Teens are less likely to use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco if their parents set clear rules about what will happen if they do and explain why they shouldn’t. They may not agree with you, but it doesn’t matter. They will eventually be teaching their kids the same thing.


    1. Dating. Discuss when they can start dating and under what conditions. Teenagers should only go on group dates until they are 17, especially because of how sexualized things have become these days. I remember the first time I was allowed to be alone in a car with a guy. He had to convince my dad, and then my dad went outside and looked at his car. He had a very small sports car with a stick shift, bucket seats, and no backseat. Unless we were contortionists, there was no possible way for us to fool around in that car. So my dad came back in, laughed, and said, “OK.”


    1. Computers, TV, books, magazines, and music. Decide on what is allowed and when. Keep the computer in a public place and restrict access to times when everyone is there to avoid the dangers of inappropriate websites and online predators.


    1. Friends. Peer acceptance is a very strong influence on teens. You have to know what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with. If I wanted to go to a party when I was a teenager, my parents always called my friend’s parents first.


    1. Where they spend their free time. Have kids check in when they are away from home or school, and have a signal if your teen needs to be picked up from a bad situation. 


    1. Curfews. Set a curfew, but be willing to negotiate for special circumstances.


Consequences for breaking the rules should generally not be longer than three weeks. And if you punish your teen, don’t just take away their cell phone (that punishment always makes me laugh because they know they’re just going to get it back). Have them do community service or something else concrete so that they are out of the house actively participating in something. Canceling activities or not allowing friends to come over are also good consequences.

15 Things Successful People Do Differently

There are certain habits and behaviors common to most successful people. Here are 15 of them:

  1. They get up early.
    Successful people use the morning to meditate, plan their day and work on important projects without interruptions. When my son was little, I used to get up at 5 a.m. to work on my books so I wouldn’t be distracted or interfere with anything that had to do with my kidlet.
  2. They exercise almost every day.
    Exercise increases your energy level, elevates your mood and makes you more confident. Nothing feels better than finishing a hard workout.
  3. They eat right and watch their weight.
    Eating healthy makes you feel better in every size, shape and form.
  4. They do what they have to do, even when they don’t feel like it.
    Why? Because it needs to be done, and it’s the honorable thing to do.
  5. They don’t try, they do.
    Saying, “I’ll try,” means you’ve already decided on a give-up point. Trying is an escape plan; doing is a commitment.
  6. They plan their day.
    When I was in college, I would make a 3 x 5 card of everything I had to do the next day before I went to bed. Practically every 15 minutes was accounted for (going to class, studying, taking breaks, eating meals, going to the gym, etc.), and I didn’t let anyone or anything short of a tornado change my plan. It was a great way to make sure there wasn’t chaos the next day.
  7. They have the right attitude.
    Successful people think about what they want and formulate a plan to achieve it. They don’t sit around dwelling on what they don’t have, what they’ve missed, and how they have gotten screwed over. Sure, we all have moments where we are pissy about things that probably won’t change, and it’s OK to spend some time getting the aggravation out. But you can’t spend all your time there. You can visit, but you can’t move in.
  8. They have guts.
    That doesn’t mean they are not without fear.  It means they are scared and do it anyway. Successful people actually experience more fear than most people because they put themselves in riskier situations of learning and growing to reach goals. Most people are unwilling to risk being uncomfortable. The night before I was to go national with my radio show for the first time, I was terrified. I sat by the phone hoping somebody would call to say that they had changed their mind. However, I got up in the morning, turned on the microphone, and told myself that it didn’t matter if it was local, national or interplanetary – I had a job to do.
  9. They don’t waste their time with mindless activities.
    Successful people don’t spend their time watching reality TV or glued to Facebook. A movie or witty, half-hour comedy is fine, but not the other mind-numbing stuff.
  10. They are constantly learning, growing and stretching their brains.
    They take classes, read and watch instructional videos.
  11. They are people of great strength, character and conviction.
    They stand by what they say, and say what they mean out loud.
  12. They manage their money carefully, even if they entrust money matters to their spouse or professionals.
  13. They decide what they want to accomplish, and then figure out a way to make it happen. 
  14. No matter how large or small the task, they do everything with excellence.
    Excellence is not the same thing as perfection because perfection is not possible. But when it comes to doing something, good enough is not good enough.
  15. They are loyal.
    They pick their friends wisely, avoid people who are a pain in the butt, and surround themselves with good people. They take care of others, but also allow others to take care of themselves.

Quote of the Week

If you can’t fly, run;
If you can’t run, walk;
If you can’t walk, crawl;
But by all means, keep moving.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Civil Rights Leader
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, 1964
From the Founder’s Day speech at
Spelman College, April 10, 1960

My Parents Don’t Like the Person I’m Dating

If you and your parents are having a difference of opinion about the person you’re dating or engaged to, you are probably WRONG and your parents are right. Not always, but that’s probably the case 95 percent of the time. Why? Because unless your parents are evil, psychos, bigots, nutcases or drunks, they only want to protect you from your silly self.  Your parents have been around longer, they have more relationship experience, and unlike you, they aren’t horny for this person so they are more objective. Unlike your parents, you may be too young, blind, desperate, or frightened to be thinking rationally. 

Just because you’re enthralled with someone doesn’t mean it’s a good project for the rest of your life. I can’t tell you how many times callers on my show have told me they saw the red flags when they were dating and people told them marrying their spouse was a bad idea, and yet, they did it anyway. Don’t walk into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, have three kids, and then decide that everyone was right and you should have listened. Not all things in life are fixable; in fact, they can get a whole lot worse.

For example, one of the biggest warnings people ignore from their parents is about dating someone who is a different religion.  A lot of people think religion is not an issue when they’re head-over-heels in love, but it is an issue when the kids arrive.

I once gave a talk to a Jewish group at a synagogue. During the Q&A, a man stood up and said that he had married a Christian woman who had agreed to raise their kids Jewish. The problem was, they got divorced. Now he was upset that she was raising the kids to be Christian. On a side note, this is why a lot of kids grow up to be atheists. They figure that neither parent cared enough about their religious point of view to create a family around it, so why should they?

The bottom line is, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth all the stress and drama for the rest of your life.  If there are some personality issues, it’s a good idea for everybody (boyfriend, girlfriend, and both sets of parents) to sit down and talk openly without getting defensive.

So, when your parents tell you that the guy or gal you are dating is a loser, psycho, drunk, cheater, or you can’t count on them, you need to stop and say to yourself, “My parents are good people, and I respect them. There must be a good reason why they don’t like him/her.” And if you’re dating someone who is rude or acts superior to your parents, dump them. These are the people who gave birth to you, nurtured you, raised you, and protected and provided for you.

Remember: The Romeo and Juliet story is very romantic, but people ended up dead.