Be an eParent®!

eParenting® High-Tech Kids

For Parents of 9-14 Year Old Kids

You know the appeal that technology holds for kids – cell phones, tablets, gaming, social media, and on and on! And no doubt, you’re aware of the negative impacts that technology can have on youth.  But what about the positive ways it can be used to support your child’s wellbeing?

We are excited to announce that Polk County UW-Extension has brought you eParenting® High-Tech Kids.  Rather than focus on the negatives, eParenting® provides ideas on using digital media to stay close to your child and strengthen family relationships.

The goals of High-Tech Kids is to 1) help parents understand the role that digital media can play in supporting their adolescents’ growth and development; and 2) develop strategies using digital media that can enhance parenting skills.

Please come back here weekly as we will be posting new information on how to  “Be an eParent”, where you can read short practical positive tips on using digital media with your child.

To determine the benefits of eParenting, there will be a chance at the end of the semester in May to share your thoughts.

To learn more about eParenting, watch the video at:


January 19, 2016: S.O.S.

Ever feel like you are signaling S.O.S. for a parenting lifeline?

Parenting is hard work and even harder when it is done alone or in isolation.  Not just for parents, but for people in general, those who are most able to ride out storms and rough waters seek out support from others.  when you’re feeling supported and secure, you are better able to care for your self and, in turn, your child.

to find out more go to S.O.S lifeline.

January 26, 2016: Circus

Balancing act: -n 1. a circus act in which a performer displays his or her balancing ability 2. a situation requiring careful balancing of opposing groups, views or activities.

The relationship with your teen can be a balancing act.  Your teen’s behavior can trigger a lot of emotions in you.  By managing your own impulses, you can avoid giving your teen all the control.  Know when to step in or get out of the way!

Read more at: Circus Act

February 2, 2016: Flower/Preteen?

Which flower describes your preteen?

The African Violet, which blooms throughout the year, OR the Cereus Cactus, which resembles a dead bush most of the year but for one summer night flowers with a glorious scent and then closes forever with the first rays of the morning sun.

Read more at: Flower/Preteen?

February 9, 2016: She loves me? She loves me NOT?

Valentine’s day, the day of romance can serve as a reminder for parents of tweens that romantic relationships are central in adolescents’ lives and that the formation of romantic relationships is an important developmental task of adolescence.

Read more at: She/He loves me? She/He loves me NOT?

February 16, 2016: Trail of Breadcrumbs!

Wish you had a trail of breadcrumbs to follow your teen around?

Tracking your teen’s activity is important for his well-being (and your peace of mind).  As your teen becomes independent, ask where he is going, what he will be doing and who he’ll be with when he leaves the house.  Help your teen understand that these questions aren’t intended to be an invasion of privacy,  Having systems in place that help your teen report his or her activities to you can lead to a greater freedom for your teen because you are more comfortable that your teen is safe.

Read more at: Trail of Breadcrumbs!

February 23, 2016: Supporter of Your Teen!

How can you support your teen? a.) cheer on the side lines, b.) give high fives, c.) look out for his best interests, d.) make a banner to encourage her.

Supporting and encouraging your child goes beyond being a good cheerleader.  Looking out for your child’s best interest is an important way to show support for your child.

Read more at: Supporter of Your Teen!

March 2, 2016: Spring Forward!! Lost Sleep, Grumpy Kid?

Daylight savings time begins the 2nd Sunday in March and takes a precious hour of sleep away from us all.  This can be especially difficult for middle school students who need 9-10+ hours of sleep. Find out more on how to help your teen with this transition.

Read more at: Spring Forward! Lost Sleep, Grumpy Kid?

March 9, 2016: R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!!!

If you want it, you’ve got to give if….it goes both ways….R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!

Building a loving relationship with your teen includes mutual respect.  The respect you get from your child will reflect the respect you give your child.  How you react to your teen in tough situations like disagreements is critical to how they treat you and others.

You can read more at;

March 16, 2016: Guiding Your Teen to Proper Beliefs!

“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” – Albert Einstein

In other words, it is not always what we see that matters as our teens go out into the world.  Every day your teen is confronted with making decisions that could have positive or negative outcomes.  Meaningful morals, values, ethics and belief systems are things that children look to their parents for guidance throughout their lives.

You can read more at:

March 23, 2016: “If you obey the rules, you miss all the fun.”

Teenagers Everywhere!

While this quote could have come from your teen (or a teenager most anywhere in the U.S.A.), it is credited to the great actress Katharine Hepburn.  Testing rules and limits is all in a days work for your pre-teen.  However, as the parent, you have a critically important role to set some rules and limits that are not open for discussion, such as drinking and driving.

Read more at:

March 30, 2016: Vote For Me!

Opinions matter!

While your child is still too young to vote in upcoming elections, the political season can offer some great topics for you and your teen to connect on.  Teens love to have their opinions be known and it isn’t too early to build excitement and encourage your child to become active in civic issues.

Read more at:

April 6, 2016: No More SpongeBob?

What? You’re not watching SpongeBob anymore?

As your teen matures and grows so do her interests and abilities.  Although it may seem like only yesterday (and it may have been) that your teen was watching younger shows, she may suddenly be ready for new responsibilities and privileges.

Read more at:

April 13, 2016: Children love to IGNORE!

Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore.  And that’s what parents were created for. -O. Nash

Feeling ignored by your tween? Or just as bad can be the growing criticism and disagreement from your teen.  Arguing with you is a safe way for your teen to test his or her new opinions and ideas.

Read more at:

April 20, 2016: “Do as I say, Not as I Do!”

Does this rule in your household?

If it does, maybe it’s time to put your words into action.  When your child was younger, your role was to lay foundation for his behavior.  Even though your teen is now starting to take responsibility for his behavior, it is still important for you to model good lifestyle habits.

Read more at:

April 27, 2016: Family Traditions!

Has your teen ever given you a hard time when you opted out of a family tradition because you were too tired or busy?

Maintaining or establishing family, cultural or religious rituals and traditions is one key to building strong families.  One teen “lost it” when her mother decided not to host the annual family holiday cookie baking day.  Of course, it wasn’t about the cookies, but the time she got to spend laughing and bantering with her mom and siblings.

Read more at:

May 4, 2016:  Losing Technology Games to Your Teen?

Do you always lose Fruit Ninja or Words with Friends to your teen?

Teens were born into a digital world so they have the upper hand in being comfortable using technology but they don’t always know how to control their frustration or gloating when they lose or win a game.  Teach coping skill and emotional control as you play with your teen.

Read more at:

May 11, 2016: Gracias! Merci! Danke! Your Teen deserves a Thank You!

To give a big thank you in style, here’s how!

Has your teen become more moody, intense and critical in the last few years?  This is normal! Understand that your teen is changing in so many ways – much like when she went from a baby to a toddler. A little pick me up letting your teen know that he is terrific means a lot, especially when he isn’t feeling that way.

Read more at: 



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