T.H.I.N.K. Before You Post

The story of a teen using social media as her diary (heard in the audio clip above) may sound silly.  You may ask "Did she really think that no one saw her posts?"  Believe it or not both teens and adults often post without first considering the consequences.  Reminding ourselves to use an online filter is extremely important.  Use this graphic to help you break this down with your kids.

Remember that in this digital age we all have an online reputation that can be easily accessed by potential employers, colleges/universities, and your average stranger.  Every post with text, pictures, video, etc leaves a digital footprint.  Nothing ever disappears.  Even SnapChat's messages, which 'feel' safer can be accessed later with a simple screenshot.  SnapChat's servers were once hacked and previously deleted images could be accessed.  Even when you think it's gone forever, your digital footprint has left an impression somewhere. 

Love Always Protects


Jeff Veley leads a workshop for teens called "Becoming Cyber-Smart".  It teaches teens how to respond to digital drama and prevent problems online such as cyber-bullying, textual harassment, and sexting.  For more information, contact us.

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Jeff Veley

Jeff Veley is youth speaker, bullying expert, and social skills educator.

His mission is to equip students with the social and emotional skills that empower them to face adversity, grow in resilience, and solve their own social problems by exercising the Golden Rule.

To date, Jeff's message has reached over one million people.  Jeff and his program have been recognized by the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative of the United Nations and are a recipient of the Golden Rule International Award for effectiveness in teaching conflict resolution.  The United Nations officially recognizes Jeff as a Goodwill Peace Ambassador in over 120 nations of the world.

What Are You Wearing?

Dear Parent/Caring Adult,

For several years I worked as the Production Manager for a fashion show for teens.  My family and friends thought it was hilarious.  It was.  I don't necessarily consider myself a fashion guru.  I'm more a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy.  I didn't accept the position because I was fashionable or because I loved going shopping with teen girls (30 young ladies at the mall is terrifying, by the way).  I loved the job because it gave me an opportunity to help teens discover their own style and boost their confidence.  They discovered that dressing modestly didn't mean hiding everything or wearing a giant sweater but that it was more about eliminating distractions and letting their inner beauty shine.

One of my favorite questions to ask my cast was this...

"If your body was a billboard, what would you be advertising?"

"AH!  What are you wearing?"

"AH!  What are you wearing?"

As a parent, you may have said "What in the world are you wearing?" at some point.  Getting our kids to understand the messaging that our clothing portrays is a valuable lesson.  Now, I'm not saying that it's important to have the best designer brand or that you should even look prim and proper every time you walk out the door.  My point is simply that we understand that how we present ourselves effects our reputation and offers a window into who we are.

I would encourage you to talk with your kids, especially your teens about what they are wearing.  Ask them about their style and let them explore their dress a bit.  Through this exploration they will start to learn more about their look and their style.  They may discover that their dyed hair doesn't go well or that the low cut shirt attracts the wrong kind of attention.  It's all part of the process.  You can provide some great encouragement, set some boundaries, and simply hang on for the ride.

Modestly,
Jeff

BONUS: My Prom Dress Checklist for Dad's
 

I have had the privilege of serving as a guardian for a teen girl.  Here's the checklist that her prom dress had to pass.  Dads, feel free to use it with your daughters.

1. You want to spend your night having fun, not constantly fixing your dress.  Check to make sure that the top isn't too low, the bottom isn't too high, and that it stays in place by itself.

2. Make sure that the dress that you pick makes you feel cute and comfortable.  Just don't look too cute.  I don't want the boys getting too comfortable. 

3. Ribbon can be added to make straps for a strapless dress or you can wear a shawl to cover your shoulders.  It may get cold at the end of the night.  Plan ahead by picking a 'cover' that will look good with your dress. 

4. If it makes him say "DANG!", it's the wrong dress. 

5. Remember that you'll be dancing all night.  You should be able to move around in your dress without it causing issues.  Check that it's not too short when you bend and no one can see anything as you're dancing, bending.

6. Know that no matter what dress you choose, you'll look beautiful. I can't wait for your prom pictures and to hear what an amazing night it was.  I love you.

Love is not self-seeking


Jeff Veley loves talking with teens about dating, healthy relationships, and sexual risk avoidance.  He's best known for his ability to address these topics to diverse audiences with humor a bold dose of truth.  He is a certified trainer and facilitator of Safe Dates, an evidence-based curriculum which focuses on dating abuse and forming healthy relationships.  To learn more about Jeff speaking to your group, click here.

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Jeff Veley

Jeff Veley is youth speaker, bullying expert, and social skills educator.

His mission is to equip students with the social and emotional skills that empower them to face adversity, grow in resilience, and solve their own social problems by exercising the Golden Rule.

To date, Jeff's message has reached over one million people.  Jeff and his program have been recognized by the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative of the United Nations and are a recipient of the Golden Rule International Award for effectiveness in teaching conflict resolution.  The United Nations officially recognizes Jeff as a Goodwill Peace Ambassador in over 120 nations of the world.

Admitting Mistakes to Your Teen

One of the most difficult things to go through as a parent is watching one of your kids struggle with some of the same things that you did at their age.  The question I often hear from parents is... "Should I share my mistakes and failures with my teen even if I'm embarrassed with the choices that I made?"

My short answer is "Yes".  Now, I should give a disclaimer that there are likely some exceptions to this so use your best judgement.  At my core I believe that the more open and honest we are in relationships, the deeper they will go.  If you want your teen to open up to you and share things that are difficult (and sometimes even embarrassing with you) take the first step forward and share some of your 'junk'.  I call it "the risk of being real".  When we take the risk there's often a reward on the other side in the form of a trust deposit with that other person.  Vulnerability equals vulnerability.  We are more likely to open up when someone else goes first.  You can be that someone for your teen.

Before you share, I would encourage you to take your child's age, situation, and maturity into consideration.  A dear friend of mine went through some serious struggles with drugs... the heavy stuff.  It nearly cost him his job, his marriage, and his house.  He knew that one day he would need to tell his daughter his story but he also was wise to wait until she could fully understand and comprehend what he needed to share with her.  He gave hints that "daddy struggled for a while" and "went to meetings to help him stay healthy".  Sharing these things prepared his daughter for the conversation without dropping a bomb all at once.  

Whether it's drugs, alcohol use, sex, or something else parents are often afraid to tell their teen not to do what they did for fear of looking like a hypocrite.  My friend, youth development guru David Mahan once used the illustration of a bear trap to challenge this thinking.  He said "Lets say there's a bear trap in the woods.  As a teen, I'm walking through the forest and I stumble onto it.  Thankfully it misses me and escape but I almost lose my leg.  Now lets say that years later that I'm walking through that same wooded area but this time with my son.  I know the trap is there and that we are coming up on it.  I don't say anything but then my son catching it, it snaps on him, and he completely loses his leg.  What would you say to me?  You would ask me why in the world I didn't tell him."  

The point of the story is that you have to protect your kids, tell the truth, and ALWAYS look out for their best interest, even if it means confessing some things on your end.  What one thing could you share from your past that could benefit your teen today?  

Love speaks truth


Jeff Veley is a youth speaker and social skills educator who's considers being a guardian to an at-risk teen one of his greatest gifts.  He builds relationships with young people through open, honest dialogue.  David Mahan is CEO of Frontline Youth Communications in Columbus, Ohio.  Jeff and David have had the pleasure of working together in prevention programming aimed at helping teens make healthy choices when it comes to avoiding the risks of sex, drugs, and alcohol.

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Jeff Veley

Jeff Veley is youth speaker, bullying expert, and social skills educator.

His mission is to equip students with the social and emotional skills that empower them to face adversity, grow in resilience, and solve their own social problems by exercising the Golden Rule.

To date, Jeff's message has reached over one million people.  Jeff and his program have been recognized by the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative of the United Nations and are a recipient of the Golden Rule International Award for effectiveness in teaching conflict resolution.  The United Nations officially recognizes Jeff as a Goodwill Peace Ambassador in over 120 nations of the world.

Who's Dippin' in Your Salsa?

Setting Boundaries in Relationships

Video for Teens

Love Always Protects

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Jeff Veley

Jeff Veley is youth speaker, bullying expert, and social skills educator.

His mission is to equip students with the social and emotional skills that empower them to face adversity, grow in resilience, and solve their own social problems by exercising the Golden Rule.

To date, Jeff's message has reached over one million people.  Jeff and his program have been recognized by the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative of the United Nations and are a recipient of the Golden Rule International Award for effectiveness in teaching conflict resolution.  The United Nations officially recognizes Jeff as a Goodwill Peace Ambassador in over 120 nations of the world.