Category: Growing Up

How Can I Understand Politics? Tips for Teens

Today’s political landscape is combative, to say the least. Members of all political parties, all tout their opinions and solutions as definitive and deliberately speak out against those of other politicians and individuals. Those same political parties also fight amongst themselves about major issues. This has created a political atmosphere of confusion and finger-pointing, which can make it very difficult to understand what is actually going on.

Advocating your political position is commendable enough, but this very process of advocating is what makes understanding politics nearly impossible for many teens. Moreover, there are more ways than ever before for teens to invest their time today, and partially because of the mentioned overwhelming nature of politics, it’s common for young adults to turn their attention elsewhere to something they do understand or to just parrot the beliefs of the parents or friends.

But that’s not to say that learning about politics is impossible for teens who wish to do so—or even for those who think they might like to know a little bit more about the functions of government. Let’s take a look at some tips that are sure to make the process as easy and straightforward as possible!

 

Review the Basics

The loudest and most vocal political advocates—those who let everyone else know how they feel—usually focus on the hot-button topics, the things that are most likely to rile others up and provoke an argument or emotional reaction. But that isn’t where you need to start if you want to understand how things work.

The best way to figure out what is going on is to figure out how everything works. Do you know how our government functions? Do you understand the different branches of the government and what the responsibilities of each of them are? Do you know what the different levels of government are? If you can’t answer yes to these questions, it might be a good idea to start there before you move on to the current issues.

Start with Local Level Politics

The intensity of today’s presidential and congressional elections is certainly interesting, but it isn’t indicative of everything that is occurring politically, especially what is happening at the local and state levels. If you feel overwhelmed by the national level politics, it is okay to start small. By following local level politics, you can develop your understanding of how politicians respond to issues and challenges, as well as how they campaign generally.

Moreover, studying local level politics is also important in that it provides instantaneous and irrefutable feedback as to how effective (or ineffective) a politician’s particular maneuver is; this feedback comes in the form of responses from the local populace. When keeping up with local politics, it is also important to keep up with the local political news. This can give your experience understanding how politics is reported and how to form your own opinions, instead of relying on your parents.

Remember that Nothing is Black and White

Politicians on both sides of the aisle like to speak dramatically and take powerful stances on issues, but the reality is that nothing is definite in politics; the same thing is true for opinions issued by non-politicians. Grand gestures, responses to the latest problems, and more can change in no time at all, and to be sure, these things are likely to change over a multiyear period. Take every political statement and opinion with a grain of salt.

Fatal Mistake: 5 Driving Mistakes that Could Get You Killed

Every day, there are millions of people driving on our roads. While driving seems to be a normal part of life, the fact is that it actually fairly dangerous if done irresponsibly and an accident can cause severe consequences. As a teenager, you don’t have as much experience driving, which means you are more vulnerable to make mistakes that could get you killed or seriously hurt. So what do you need to avoid while driving?

Drowsy Driving

Did you know that, according to the National Sleep Foundation, there are similarities between driving drowsy and driving drunk? If you are drowsy, your reaction time will be slowed and you might not notice things you would normally see. If you think you are too tired to drive, ask a friend for a ride, call your parents, or take a nap before you go.

Being Distracted

There are a lot of distractions you might experience while driving, but all of them can put you at risk for an accident. Eating, drinking, changing the music, adjusting the heating/cooling, messing around with your friends, and texting or talking on your cell are just some of the many distractions you might be faced with. You might feel you’ve been driving so long now that you can deal with one or more of those things without a problem, but your life isn’t worth making the mistake and taking a chance.

Speeding Up at a Yellow Light

The yellow light does not mean “speed up to beat the red.” It means stop if you can in a safe manner. You don’t want to risk it and zoom through only to get t-boned in the process, especially when the situation could have been avoided. There are usually people waiting to turn left, and they may not see you coming, or you may leave them stranded in the middle of the intersection when the light changes. Just stop. You can wait a few extra minutes.

Driving while impaired

According to Alpert Schreyer, approximately every 30 minutes, someone dies in an alcohol-related crash. Drinking and driving is no joke, especially as a teenager. You aren’t legal to drink and you can seriously hurt or kill someone while you are impaired. Don’t ever put yourself in a situation where you will be tempted to drink and drive. You may feel invincible, but you definitely aren’t.

Speeding

Speeding, in general, isn’t a good idea, and it’s even worse if you’re speeding during bad driving conditions such as if it’s raining or snowing outside. Driving at an unsafe speed isn’t going to do you any good, especially if you get into an accident. We all have places to go, but the goal is to get there safely.

You can’t control what other people are doing, but you can protect yourself to the best of your ability. It may seem cool to show off for your friends, but it is much better to get to wherever you are going alive.

5 Tips for the Rookies of the Road; Teens and Driving

Nothing can be scarier for parents than the day their kids become old enough to drive a car. Keeping these kids safe on the highways is all about education, and these five tips for rookies of the road should follow them, their passengers, and other drivers out of potential danger.

1. Turn Off the Mobile Device

What may already seem like old news to these teenagers, driving while distracted is not worth their life. These kids today grew up glued to their mobile devices, and an alert from social media and they go scrambling for their device, even when behind the wheel. Turn off the phone, that text, alert, or message can wait.

2. Set the Navigation System While at Home

Fumbling around with a navigation system while en route to a destination can lead to trouble. Keep eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and program your navigation system while parked in front of your house. Most systems now have features that will not operate while the car is moving, but not all of them have this feature

3. Have Insurance and Attorney Contact Information

Inform the young driver that accidents happen, many that will not be their fault. Regardless who was at fault, these kids can quickly be taken advantage of by experienced drivers who will talk their way out of their obligation. Tell your child to call 911 after any accident and let the police sort out the details. They should also know to contact an attorney if injured behind the wheel.

4. Focus Like Playing a Video Game

Kids today grew up playing video games, and many of those games required you to have your focus in a dozen places at once. This same attention can translate well as they are operating a moving vehicle. Remind them to focus like they were playing the game, glancing inside mirrors, rear view mirror, ahead of them, side streets, and cars on either side. If they can seamlessly move their attention all around the vehicle while maintaining their speed, they will be just fine.

5. Never Get Too Comfortable

Every day they safely arrive home, remind these teenagers not to get too comfortable with today’s success. The focus is necessary every time they drive, and new distracted drivers are entering the roads each day, more reason they need to be vigilant in their attention behind the wheel.

These tips for rookies on the road should help to get them off to the best possible start and keep them safe behind the wheel. Reassure them every night that they are getting better and that you are certainly proud of them.

 

How to Convince My Parents to Buy Me a Car

So you’ve had your license for a while now and you’re ready to get your very first car. This is a tough moment in life because having a car is a serious matter for both you and your parents regarding your safety and the financial status at home. Follow the steps below to see how you can convince your parents to buy you a car with ease and peace of mind.

how to convince my parents to buy me a car

Step 1. Talk about the advantages by using persuasive language

It’s about time to have a family meeting about getting you a car. You want to catch them when they’re in a good mood! Explain the benefits of having a car such as taking your siblings to school, picking up groceries, not having to nag your parents or your neighbors to drive you to school or other places and more. If you have other extracurricular activities, bring that up and show them that it will save them time and effort.

Step 2. Discuss your safety

Safety is the most important thing for you and your parents. Talk about different scenarios with your parents and how it makes you feel. Tell them it’s not safe to walk home late at night, how you never know when you will come across a crazy Uber driver and how it’s unsafe crossing the busy streets or riding a bike. Give a lot of reasoning on how much safer it is to be driving in a car.

Step 3. Negotiate politely

If you want your parents to buy you a car, you have to also understand the financial status of your home. Can they afford it? If not, are you willing to contribute some upfront cash, or work to pay off the note? Ask yourself these questions because your parents want the best for you and want to make you happy — but have to be realistic. Offer to help to pay for the car if you do work, and also offer to do things for them like running errands.

Step 4. Set up rules

Rules need to be laid out on the table. Your parents will expect you to be responsible about your choices. Set up a driving curfew, don’t disobey their general house rules, budget the gas money and limit the places you will drive to. Your parents won’t buy you a car just to take your friends out or to party.  You should not be the “Uber” to your friends. Limit these outings and use the car for its real intentions like school, work and errands. Always communicate with your parents when you’re taking the car and where you are.

Step 5. Do your research on cars and insurance

Purchasing a car is not cheap. Help your parents by comparing vehicle and insurance prices online. Be realistic with your vehicle choice — you don’t need a luxury car, you need a well-running car with great mileage and an affordable monthly payment. Show your parents that you’ve done your research and it’s in your best interest to make this a happy buying experience for all of you. Also check out discounts for auto insurances likes good student discounts. (Getting good grades has its perks.)

Step 6. Be grateful and follow through with your responsibilities

Thank your parents and follow through with the rules you discussed and be the responsible person you know you can be. Continue to do more around the house and really have this great connection with your parents. Somewhere down the road, you might forget about your parents buying you a car — but you should never forget that act of kindness nor the fact that they did it because they love you and want you to be happy.


Kristen_MarquezBy Kristen Marquez.

Kristen Marquez graduated with a B.A. in Cinema & Television Arts from California State, University Northridge with an emphasis in Television Production. She is a social media coordinator by day and a content creator by night. With her great imagination, she knows she will create the next big thing whether it’s a script, a product or a simple idea that will fill people’s hearts with joy and entertainment. She blogs for a hobby and loves spending time with her golden retriever Lily.

Instagram: @lexikris
Twitter: @krisiza10

How to Deal With the Aftermath of a Car Accident

By now your driver’s ed teacher has scared you with all the teen car accident statistics out there. You know that you are likely to experience an accident sometime before adulthood. Although the period following a traffic accident is likely to be characterized by confusion and shock, dealing with the aftermath will require that you keep a level head. This will help you to remember your responsibilities as well as to protect your rights. If you have prior knowledge of what you should do, you will be more prepared to handle the situation.

Check for Any Injuries

Immediately after a car accident, it is important to prioritize your health as well as that of other people at the scene. This means checking for any visible injuries, confusion and odd behaviors. Since it is not easy to spot internal injuries, you should ensure that everyone involved in the accidents gets checked.

Keep Yourself and Others Safe

Once you have established that no one has sustained serious injuries, you should consider moving to a safer place. In the event that you are not able to get out of your car, you should turn on the hazard lights and keep your seatbelt fastened. Whenever possible, it is advisable to move the vehicle to a position where it will not block traffic.

Take Pictures and Video

It is advisable to start video recording immediately after the accident. Document EVERYTHING. Take both pictures and video if need be. You do not need ANY permission from the other driver if you are in a public place to record anything and everything in the scene. Video is even better, because if the other party admits guilt when speaking, you can present that to the insurance company and attorneys to help win your case in the event of a lawsuit. If any witnesses took video or pictures, ask them to send them to you.

If There is Significant Damage or Injuries, Call the Police

After making sure that everyone is safe, you can choose to call the police. This would be particularly important in situations where there are serious personal injuries, your car has been seriously damaged or the other driver is not willing to cooperate. The law enforcement agencies will assess the situation, make their notes as well as gather details such as pictures of the damaged vehicles and photos of the scene. The resultant police report will come in handy in case your parents decide to seek compensation.

Exchange Information With the Other Driver

You should remember to exchange information with the other driver before leaving the scene. Besides getting their name, phone number, license plate number, address and vehicle make and model, you should also exchange insurance information. All these details will be helpful during the claim process, making your parents’ lives easier. You’re in deep enough as it is; the last thing you need is annoyed parents on top of it all.
If the damage is small, you may be able to settle with the other driver and avoid involving insurance companies. Try to work out a deal for getting any damaged repaired with your parents involvement.

Call Your Parents’ Insurance Company

For anything beyond small damage, your parents should make a point of calling your insurance company as soon as they can. Often they will need to consult with a lawyer in order to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company. By reporting immediately and giving your side of the story, this will increase the chances of the claim being successful and getting the compensation you deserve.

If you believe that the other party was at fault, you have the right to file a claim. This will ensure that you get fair compensation to cover you medical expenses as well the costs of repairing or replacing your property.

References

Teen Driver Car Accident Statistics

Car Accident Key Questions

Teens and Insurance After Accidents

If You Haven’t Checked Off These High School Milestones are You Really a Senior?

High school often seems like a lot of hard work, boring classes, and time wasted. While it can seem long and grueling in the moment, most people look back on their high school memories fondly. While academic work is important, memories made with these milestones will last a lifetime. Have you cleared all these senior milestones?

 

College Tours

One perk of being a high school senior is that many schools will excuse absences for college tours. This as an opportunity to travel to any school you plan to apply to, visit the campus, learn about classes, and check out any extras the school offers such as recreation centers or campus organizations. These are usually offered in the fall or spring. Talk to your academic advisor to see what campuses they might recommend.

Prom

It’s in almost any movie that features high school students. Prom may be the absolute symbol of American high school. You get dressed, go to dinner, dance, take pictures, and make lifelong memories. Even for students not interested in dancing, prom is an opportunity to have a night of extravagance unlike any other in your high school career.

Getting a Driver’s License

For many teenagers, a car equals freedom. Most students are old enough to get their driver’s license during sophomore or junior year of high school. Some wait a little bit longer, but most have their driver’s license before they graduate. You’re often required to take a high school class in driver’s education and will also have to pass the exam at the DMV. Being able to drive means being able to go places without your parents, which can make high school memories even more special.

Senior Trips

Some lucky seniors get to go on a senior trip with their friends or family. This can happen over spring break of senior year or after graduation. Some of the most popular destinations are Florida, California, and New York. This is an opportunity to get away with the senior class and bond in a new environment. If an organized senior trip is not a possibility, it can be fun to get away with a small group of friends or close family as well.

Volunteer

Some schools require students to log a certain number of volunteer hours during their high school careers. However, even if it’s not required, it is a good idea to put in some kind of volunteer activity to include on a college resume. Volunteering can be very rewarding and have a big impact on the local community. Local homeless shelters, animal shelters, and nursing homes are great places to start getting involved.

Not everyone will have a typical high school experience, but there are certain things every senior should do to make the most of their time and make memories that will last forever.

Pro Tips for Driving Safely on Snow and Ice

Snow and ice are among the worst conditions you can encounter while behind the wheel. In fact, snow, sleet, and ice account for 44% of weather-related crashes and 33% of weather-related fatalities. So if you’re afraid of driving in bad weather, you’re not alone! To stay safe on the road and cut down on your chance of having an accident, here are some pro tips for driving safely on snow and ice.

driving on snow and ice

Keep up with routine maintenance

Keeping your car in top operating condition is important as a general rule, but it is vital for driving in ice and snow. Maintenance issues with your car could become exacerbated by dangerous winter driving conditions. Some things you want to ensure are in good working order before hitting the road in winter are your windshield wipers, your tires, your brakes and your heating system.

Slow down and back off

Snow and ice on the road can make it much harder to slow down and much easier to lose control of your vehicle. That’s why it’s important when driving in winter weather to lower your speed and increase the distance between you and other cars. Slowing down and staying farther away from cars in front of you gives you more time and room to stop, something that can be very important on roads that are covered in ice and snow. A good rule of thumb is to double your following distance from what it normally would be.

Accelerate and decelerate slowly

When you accelerate quickly or slam on your brakes, you are more likely to slip and slide on icy or snowy roads. When driving in such conditions, you should make sure to accelerate slowly after stopping at traffic signals and brake much earlier much more slowly than you usually would. This will help to prevent you from losing control of your vehicle.

Focus on the road

Avoiding distractions is key in all driving conditions, but especially when you are dealing with snow and ice. You need your complete focus to be on the road, so you want to refrain from using your cell phone or any other electronic devices. You also should refrain from messing with your radio or messing with your hair or makeup.

When roads are snowy and icy, you should avoid driving if at all possible. That’s not always possible, though, and if you do have to drive in winter conditions, it’s important to follow these tips. Doing so can help you stay safe and avoid getting into an accident.

Fore more tips on winter driving, check out https://www.prettymotors.com/winter-driving-prepare-car-winter-trip/

How to Conquer Your Fear of the Freeway: Driving Tips for the Fast Lane

Freeway driving is a necessary part of driving that can be intimidating at first sight. As you drive more and explore more highways, you’ll become less fearful of the activity. Teens leaning to drive should review highway rules and practice as much as they can. Review these tips to help improve your skills for the fast lane.

Have an Experienced Driver in the Passenger Seat

Have an experienced driver accompany your trip on the freeway. A partner prevents you from making mistakes and increases your chances of driving successfully. An experienced driver in the passenger seat works as insurance in case you get into an accident as well. Be sure you feel comfortable behind the wheel before trying the freeway.

Drive at the Least Crowded Times

The most obvious tip for novices is to drive when it’s the least crowded. Choose a time and part of the highway that has the least amount of traffic. Some highways are crowded at all times, while others are less crowded on the weekends. The best way to know is to review the traffic reports and ask your parents if they know anyplace that might be good for practice.

Know Your Route

When you learn to drive, you must follow a predetermined route. New drivers cannot drive aimlessly on the freeway and take random exits or they’ll easily get lost and might increase their risk of an accident. Plus, you want to become familiar with driving on the main roads and exits you’ll usually take.

Start at Low Speeds

Start by driving at low speeds and remain on the right side of the road. Freeway accidents occur often when people change lanes too quickly or brake too late – all while going too fast. As your skills improve, drive at the same speed as other drivers. A freeway is the worst place to get into an accident because the drivers do not like to stop. The last thing you want is find a car accident lawyer just because you were trying to get some practice in.

Review Traffic Rules Beforehand

Review common freeway rules before you head out onto the road. Know the best way to merge onto the highway, remembering to signal properly and increase your speed at the right moment. Once you merge, it’s important to avoid accidents by flowing with the traffic.

On any road, drive for the safety of yourself and others. Also, get used to changing lanes and checking blind spots. At the same time, pay attention to exit signs and change into the right lane at the right moment.

Approaching the ramp is a nervous time for any new driver. However, there will be a time when approaching the ramp with ease becomes second nature. With enough practice and dedication, become a more experienced driver on the freeway.

Texting and Driving Will Probably Kill You

We’ve all had times in our lives when we’ve felt invincible – catching the winning touchdown pass, receiving a first kiss, or acing the math midterm you’ve been stressing about for weeks. Unfortunately, some of us tend to feel invincible even when we’re very, very not.

According to textinganddrivingsafety.com, nearly 1,600,000 people were involved in accidents caused by a distracted driver. By the time you read this, someone else will have been hit because someone was texting and driving. If you’re reading this in the car, on your phone, for God’s sake put the phone down and focus on the road. Otherwise, read on.

In the Blink of An Eye

We all love social media – except for that one weird libertarian friend who wears a Snowden shirt and tries not to have any digital footprint. Adults tend to overblow the consequences of so-called tech addiction, without fully appreciating technology’s positive influence in society. But when you are in control of a one-ton hunk of metal hurtling down the road at 88 feet per second, your parents aren’t being dramatic – they’re right! Even when you’re going slow, even when you think there’s nobody around, even when you’re looking back at the road, by the time you look down and then back up again, it is too late.

In the time it takes you to take your eyes off the road and look at the screen for three seconds, your car has traveled 264 feet. If the person in front of you slows down suddenly, it will take your brain an additional 3-4 seconds to apply the brakes, according to Safe Drive Training. That is about 6-8 seconds too late and you probably never saw it coming.

What Happens Next?

The consequences of texting and driving can ruin your life. If you are not hurt, the very least that will happen is that you will get a ticket. You will have to replace or repair your car. Your insurance rates will go up as much as 4 times. Brauns Law lists these potential consequences of accidents: severe injuries, brain drama, spinal cord damage, amputations, internal injuries, extended medical treatment or surgical needs, the need for long-term care, problems with medical insurance, and car replacement and maintenance problems.

And that’s assuming no one else is hurt, and this is what should really scare you! The CDC says that distracted driving kills 9 Americans and Injures 1,000 Americans every day. Not only would you have to live with that, but you could even face manslaughter charges in some instances! That is scary, and all because you could not wait to check your phone until you could pull over someplace safe.

It Can Wait

I know that it is easy to think that it is Ok to look at the phone for just a second, but if you really care about your friends, it is time to stick together and make sure that someone you care about does not become the next victim. It is time for texting and driving to become something only losers do, because in the end, everyone who does it loses. If you think it is important, think again, it can wait.

5 Ways to Fit in Without Hurting Your Future

Social groups can define who you are. As social creatures, we all want to feel like we belong to a group. But sometimes groups can influence individuals to make bad decisions, and these decisions can have pretty far-reaching consequences. Fortunately, there are a few ways for you to fit in without compromising yourself or your future.

Get Involved In Academic Groups or Sports

You might be thinking there’s nothing about academics or sports which interests you, but that might be because you haven’t looked closely enough. There are plenty of disciplines and there’s bound to be something that piques your interest. Schools typically try to facilitate those interests by offering extracurricular clubs. This kind of social group would equip you well for the future and keeps you busy enough to keep you out of trouble.

Be Ethic-Centric

An ethic-centric person is somebody who thinks about what’s right and tries to live by it. That doesn’t mean you have to be a goody-two-shoes, but if your friends are doing something that could hurt themselves or others, you should abstain or try to stop them. This could be something as simple as ditching a class in school or as drastic as drinking and driving. A gentle reminder to be careful could save your friends and others, and they might even thank you later for interfering.

A way to fit in without hurting your future would be to hang out for a while, and then when things get out of hand (someone pulls out a joint–or people start making out heavily), simply leave. Don’t announce it, just go. Text them later if needed, saying you didn’t feel comfortable and left.

Be Careful About Pictures You Send

Many young adults don’t know how to handle negative emotions. After a breakup, they might try to take revenge on an ex they’re upset with. For example, if you sent explicit pictures to your ex, they could use that against you. It doesn’t matter how trustworthy you think your partner is; a lot of people trust their partners only to find those photos on the internet after the relationship ended. Don’t become a statistic.

Fit in by sending flirty or cute pics, but never nude ones.

Don’t Skip Classes

Don’t skip class. There’s not a lot to do between 8 AM and 2 PM anyway, so you’re really not missing much of the social scene by sitting in class. While it might sound cliché, your education really will define your future. If you fall too far behind, it could take years to catch up, and that’s how some people end up living in poverty.

In this case, you cannot really fit in with the class ditchers except by hanging out with them after school. But do you really need to hang out with this type of crowd?

Control Your Emotions

This is probably the most significant thing you can do. Emotions can be useful, but they can also be destructive when they influence your decisions. A bad emotional decision could lead to you getting pregnant at a young age or something equally life-altering, like physically hurting someone. Try to think through your decisions as if you weren’t so influenced by emotion. Fit in by interacting with others, but don’t get caught up in the drama. Again, just leave or make yourself less available. If you find things to keep you busy, such as art, music, dance, martial arts, etc. you will have all the excuses in the world to not get involved in the b.s.

You don’t have to choose between your future and fitting in with your friends now. However, you do need to make wise decisions, and by following this advice, you’ll be off to a great start.