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New resource available for parents of teenagers
By Jennifer Kohlhepp

It is an era when parents need to know about cell phones, instant messaging (IM) and "gap" years following high school.

Parents also must know enough to be able to give their kids advice on chat rooms, drinking, drug use, finding a job, tattoos, piercings, hooking up and applying to college while at the same time trying to keep up with the latest fads, technology and information so they can advise their children accordingly.

"Parents don't know what they don't know," said Judith Sachs, an editor at ParentingTeensOnline magazine.

Recognizing that there is an abundance of easily accessible information now more than ever but that sometimes parents find it difficult to navigate through, Sachs, of Philadelphia, and Millstone Township resident Mary Friedman created a new online resource for parents who are raising teens in the 21st century.

The online interactive magazine targets those with children between the ages of 12 and 19 and aims to fill the information gap parents stand on the brink of once their kids leave elementary school, according to Friedman. .

Friedman, who has three children - Jeffrey, 15, Lauren, 12, and Julia, 8 - and Sachs, who has a 22-year-old daughter named Mia, collaborated on the project after working together in the publishing industry. They related their own parenting issues to each other and realized that newsstands have limited information when it comes to raising teens. There is a wealth of information for parents of babies, toddlers and elementary school-age children, according to Friedman, but little information when it comes to raising and staying connected with children who are of middle school and high school age.

To generate the new magazine's content, the editors conduct online surveys to gauge parents' and teenagers' interests and concerns.

Those who write the articles are the same writers who contribute to magazines such as Parenting and Better Homes and Gardens, according to Sachs. The authors consult with two or three experts and talk to parents and teens from all over the United States to see how different people in various regions of the country may be handling the same issue.

Each article contains links to other online resources as well as a glossary to assist parents in communicating better with their children, according to Friedman.

Along with topics such as eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sports injuries, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), driving and homework, the magazine also examines testing, teen depression, stress, college financing and computer monitoring.

Since today's generation of parents seeks more information, Friedman said the magazine's mission is to provide parents and guardians with practical information on teen issues to make solutions to common problems possible without their having to spend hours doing research.

Sachs said the magazine excels at not scaring off parents because it gives them preventative care tips they can implement over a long period of time to combat larger life issues.

"Sometimes it takes several years to deal with something and the progress is slow," Sachs said. "We want to make sure there are fewer and fewer crises by preparing parents from the beginning."

Sachs compared parenting to a roller-coaster ride, saying that the magazine helps put parents in the front car of the coaster as opposed to the back car, where they're just being pulled along for the ride.

With ParentingTeensOnline, Sachs and Friedman hope to reach as many parents as they can. In less than a year since Robbinsville's iFOS Publishing began putting out the magazine, the number of subscriptions has grown about 100 to 200 per month for an approximate total of 2,000 subscribers to date, according to Friedman.

"Everyone needs it," Sachs said. "Everyone should get it."

The 20-page magazine is delivered via e-mail on a monthly basis. The cost is $10 for a 12-month subscription. Every issue is like a mini Web site in that it is filled with suggestions and action-oriented tips. ParentingTeensOnline subscribers can print new issues in an easy-to-read format for when they are on the go or for parent meetings. Subscribers also have online access to past issues.

To learn more about the magazine or to sign up for a free trial issue, go to www.parentingteensonline.com.
 

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