How to Talk to Your Teenager

Guest blog by Katie Humphries, ACES Extension Daily

talking to teenager

Talking to your teenager can often become a very difficult and stressful task. However, there are steps you can take to develop and encourage a healthy relationship.

Sallie Hooker, a Certified Family Life Educator with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, believes healthy parent-teenager relationships begin early in childhood.

Building the Relationship

“Research has shown that the ages of one to three are extremely important with regard to creating trust and a strong parental relationship. Give children choices early in their lives. Make sure choices are age appropriate and are what parents want them to choose,” Hooker said.

Often, parents want to be more of a best friend to their children. However, it is important that parents reserve this type of relationship until after children reach adulthood.

“It is extremely important for parents to listen to their children, and to let them know that their thoughts and ideas are important. As parents begin meeting their child’s needs — providing a good role model, creating mutual love and respect — this same relationship most likely will continue as the child grows into the teenage years,” said Hooker.

Why is my teenager acting this way?

Understanding the reasons behind your child’s behavior can help you decide how to approach conversations with them.

Hooker said, recent research reported that the age the frontal lobe actually develops is 28, instead of the previously thought age of 25. This explains why teenagers and even young adults sometimes make poor decisions. 

Hooker also mentioned a recent study done on the impact of hormones during puberty. The study found that hormonal changes do not happen gradually between the ages of 0-18. Instead, they come in large spurts.

As parents of teens know, puberty is a very powerful developmental stage. It is no surprise that it affects teenagers’ behaviors and moods as it does.

Helpful Tips for Healthy Relationships

Facing a tense parent-teenager relationship can quickly become discouraging.

“Patience is important. A teen recognizes that the parent has his or her best interest at heart most of the time, even if it is not an immediate realization,” said Hooker. 

Hooker suggested a list of tips written by Kevin Ryan, the founder and former director of Boston University’s Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character. A few of those steps include:

  1. Get involved with your child’s school life. Daily ask the child about their experiences at school.
  2. Pay attention to what your child is watching and hearing.
  3. When you punish your child, do so with a loving heart. Always explain what the punishment is for.
  4. Have a daily family meal. A meal is a great place to open the lines of communication and hear what is going on in your child’s life.
  5. Communicating desired behavior is important, but leading by example is crucial. Encourage good behavior by demonstrating it.

More resources:

Extension Daily is the official blog of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES). Reprinted with permission.


Healthy Lifestyle, A Family Affair

healthy lifestyle

Our journey to a healthy lifestyle has been a family affair.

By Charlotte Bowman

In September 2015, my youngest hit a grow spurt that caused his weight to greatly outpace his height. He shot up 20 points on the percentile chart in just four months. Instead of a graceful rising curve, his growth chart was a sharp spike. Needless to say, his pediatrician and I were concerned.

Every one knows that Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for certain health problems. Plus, overweight kids also may be prone to low self-esteem that stems from being teased, bullied, or rejected by peers. No parent wants this outcome for their child.

My husband and I do our best to eat well, but we’ve been lax when it comes to exercise. We are homebodies and we love our couch. But on January 11, 2016 — less than a week after my conversation with the pediatrician — my husband was hospitalized due to severe health complications. It was clear we needed to make some lifestyle changes. Now!

“We have not yet met our Waterloo, Watson, but this is our Marengo, for it begins in defeat but ends in victory.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

After some discussion, we registered our family for a Couch to 5K training program. This beginners’ program is less of a running regimen than a walking and jogging program. The idea is to transform you from couch potato to runner, getting you to begin running a 5K or 3.1 miles and on a regular basis in just two months.

The first two weeks were an adjustment period. We spent less time running and more time encouraging the boys to keep up. They grumbled. We purchased two small CamelBak water packs and several Chilly Pads to help keep them hydrated and cool. Still, they grumbled.

By the fourth week, I knew we were licked. So instead of trying to force running, we let them go at their own pace. Turns out that my little couch potatoes are excellent walkers!

As the weeks rolled by, we fell into a routine. Every Monday and Wednesday we met up with the Big Dog Running group. The boys either walked with their dad or kept up with me on their scooters. On Saturday and Sunday we would do other fun activities.

benefits of exercise
Georgia is 17th in the nation in the number of children between the ages of 10 and 17 that are obese. Evidence shows long-term, healthful behavior changes are most successful when the entire family gets involved.

Beyond the obvious health benefits, exercising as a family has helped to strengthen our relationships and build memories. My boys are more willing to talk about what is going on in their lives when we are being active together.

Whether you’re playing tennis, swimming or walking the dog, exercising as a family gives you the chance to get outside, breathe some fresh air and really get to know each other. It doesn’t get much more rewarding!

In the year since we started running as a family, my husband has completed two half marathons. I have run three 5K’s, and the kids keep us company as we train. Best of all, my son’s growth curve has stabilized. And provided he continues to follow a normal growth pattern, his pediatrician and I are happy.

Healthy behaviors for a healthy weight

Research shows that the earlier a family makes changes to promote a healthy weigh in their children, the more successful they will be.

However it’s never too late for anyone to adopt better eating and activity habits. Even people who may be heavier than they want to be can improve the quality of their lives by adopting healthier habits. Adults need to be role models for their children and grandchildren in living healthy lifestyles.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following behaviors to promote healthy weights for American children and their families:

  • Every day eat the number of fruits and vegetables recommended by MyPlate. Vegetables and fruits are low in energy density and high in nutritional value.
  • Limit sweet drinks. The average child consumes 400 calories per day from beverages. They do no eat fewer calories at the next meal to compensate for these liquid calories. Have water available at all time to drink at home and school.
  • Limit screen time. For children less than 2 years of age, there should be NO screen time at all. After that age, less than 2 hours per day is best.
  • Eat breakfast daily. This raises the metabolism and improves school performance. It also curbs overeating later in the day.
  • Limit eating out, especially at fast food restaurants. This will help with portion control and fat, sodium and calorie intake.
  • Eat together as a family as much as possible. Typically meals made at home and served to the family are higher in nutritional value than meals eaten alone or out.
  • Limit portion sizes. Allow children to serve themselves. Often they will take less than an adult would put on their plates.
  • Consume foods rich in calcium. Low fat or reduced fat dairy foods tend to promot a feeling of satiety.
  • Promote moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes per day.
  • Limit calorie-dense foods and select foods that are balanced in carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by any business, nor is the content intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or if you plan to start an exercise program! Big Dog Running’s C25K program is offered on an ongoing basis. For more information, please contact Carolee Luther at [email protected].

Under the Sun Errand Service #Review

This review is sponsored by Under the Sun Errand Service.

Publix groceries

Under the Sun Errand Service #Review
By Charlotte Bowman

I’m a busy, self-employed mom, and I have a lot of spinning plates. Some days I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. Time is precious to me, and like Melissa Gates, I wish I had more of it. Even with the help of my husband, who is as equal a partner as I could ask for, there are days when I wish I could clone myself.

Plates are falling from the sky as I write this, I’m gonna need to buy more plates. Another thing to add to the shopping list! ~ Amy Hunter 

I know I’m not the only girl who is juggling house, home, kids and career. Just ask any mom in the carpool line or cubicle beside you. Thanks, in part, to our busy lifestyles, some days we just don’t have time for even the simplest of errands, such as taking the family pet to the vet for a routine checkup, or, in the case of my friend Allyson, running to the Tractor supply store to buy horse feed.

So when I heard about a new errand service opening in Columbus last fall, I was curious.

An errand service does just that — they run errands for people who are unable to, typically seniors. The services offered by Under the Sun vary from food delivery, to pet care, to heavy lifting, and more.

I hesitated to contact them for two reasons. First, there was no picture or information about the owners on the website. And, frankly, I prefer to know who I’m working with before I hire them. Second, there were no testimonials or reviews on the website. (Several testimonials have been added since then.) Granted, it takes time and word of mouth for a service-based business to build up a good reputation.

So I bookmarked their website and waited.

A few weeks later, I was pleasantly surprised when the owners, Michael and Marina Dunbar, reached out to me! While I rarely accept compensation to review a business or product, this time I agreed. The holidays were fast approaching, and I had no doubt my spinning plates would start falling, and no doubt I would need some extra help.


Signing up for service

It was the morning of Christmas Eve when my first spinning plate fell. Crash!

I realized I had forgotten to prepare food to take to my family’s annual Christmas gathering on December 27. Now, I’m a meh cook and I hate grocery shopping, especially on the day before a major holiday!

After a some thought, I had the clever idea of getting Under the Sun to pick up a pre-cooked entree and appetizer from Call It Yours Casseroles and deliver it to me by 5 p.m. on December 26.   

Booking a service is easy. Simply, visit their website and select an errand from the list of services. Next, schedule a time to get it done. You can choose a same-day appointment if you’re in a rush, or you can request a time in the future that suits your schedule.

email 1


The website said that an errand runner would confirm my chosen errand and stay in touch via email or text message. Sure enough, within an hour of placing my request, I received a confirmation email from Michael.

I gave myself a pat on the back and settled in to enjoy a relaxing Christmas. Yeah! Go me!

Too bad I didn’t think my plan through completely. The second plate fell on December 26. My phone started buzzing around noon. It was an email and text message from Michael. Turns out that CIYC wasn’t open on the 26th — a detail I would have known had I taken the time to place an actual order.

Ack! Kill me. Now.

email 2

Feeling somewhat embarrassed, I wrote back to Michael with an apology and an updated shopping list for Publix.

That afternoon at 4:30 p.m., just 30 minutes prior to my requested delivery time, Michael arrived at our door. My husband answered the door. Michael introduced himself and handed over the groceries and receipt. I had my checkbook in hand ready to pay, but Michael said they would send an invoice via Paypal. Hooray! Thank you.

My Thoughts?

It’s all about convenience. I can see how an errand service could ease some of the burden by taking care of those little tasks that eat up your time. Even though a trip to the grocery store takes me 30-45 minutes, that’s 30-45 minutes better spent on other things.

It’s all about customer service. I appreciated Michael’s prompt communication about the problem with my order, both by text and email. By getting in touch with me so quickly, I had time to come up with an alternate solution which included cooking that evening.

Michael was dressed nicely, polite and professionally. I’m sure that other parents, senior citizens, and especially home-bound adults would welcome having him or someone else go grocery shopping, pick up the dry cleaning, or take their puppy for a walk.

It’s also about affordability. I thought Under the Sun’s flat rate of $19 per hour was very reasonable. Most errand runners charge between $15 and $45 an hour, depending on the location. The national average is around $25 per hour. Granted, UTS’ rate increases if you have a rush job or need heavy lifting.

Will I use them again? Yes. Sometimes my husband isn’t available. Sometimes a girl just needs some extra help. The next time my spinning plates start to wobble, I will consider giving them a call.

Quick facts about the business:

  • Discounts are available for senior citizens, military, small businesses and physically disabled individuals.
  • Each service is insured for up to $5,000, which tells me that the owners view their business as an actual “business” and not a side gig.
  • If you live on the outskirts of Columbus, keep in mind that UTS charges for mileage after the first 15 miles. Be sure to contact them if you have any questions.
  • Tipping isn’t generally encouraged since the service fee is included in your invoice. Payment is collected upon completion of the errand. They accept cash, check, all major credit cards and PayPal.

How to contact them

For more information or to book an errand, visit Feel free email them at [email protected] or call 706-315-7807 to chat about any questions or concerns.

MMoms Review Disclaimer

January: This month in history

January month in history

January: This Month in History

As my boys grow older, their interest in history and current events is growing. With a little help from the History Channel, I’ve compiled a list of major (and obscure) historical events that happened this month in history. Each morning we talk about what happened this day in history. It’s been a fun way to discuss current events, history and social studies with my boys. Here is my list for January. You can easily create your own. Enjoy.

  • January 1: President Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation (1863)
  • January 2: Georgia votes to ratify the U.S. Constitution, becoming the fourth state in the United States (1788)
  • January 3: King Tut’s sarcophagus is uncovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter (1924)
  • January 4: Dr. William W. Grand of Davenport, Iowa, performed what is thought to be the first appendectomy in the U.S. (1885)
  • January 5: Construction begins on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California (1933)
  • January 6: Samuel Morse demonstrates the telegraph (1838)
  • January 7: The impeachment trail of President William Clinton began in the Senate (1999)
  • January 8: President George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address (1790)
  • January 9: The Russian Revolution of 1905 was sparked by troops firing on petitioners to Czar Nicholas in St Petersburg (1905)
  • January 10: The first underground passenger railway, the Metropolitan, opened in London (1863)
  • January 11: The first government report regarding the dangers of cigarette smoking was issued by the U.S. Surgeon General, Luther Terry (1964)
  • January 12: Batman debuts on TV (1966)
  • January 13: Michael Jordan announced his second retirement from the NBA. He would “unretire” again in 2001 (1999)
  • January 14: The Continental Congress ratifies the Second Treaty of Paris, ending the War for Independence (1784)
  • January 15: Elizabeth Tutor was crowned as Elizabeth I in Westminster Abbey (1559)
  • January 16: The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages, when into effect (1920)
  • January 17: Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston (1706)
  • January 18: British explorer Robert Scott arrives at the South Pole only to discover that Roald Amundsen had already been there (1912)
  • January 19: The electric neon sign was patented in the US by George Claude of Paris, France (1915)
  • January 20: President Barack Obama was sworn into office, becoming the first African-American U.S. President (2009)
  • January 21: King Louis XVI of France was guillotined for treason (1793)
  • January 22: Queen Victoria of England died after reigning for 63 years (1901)
  • January 23: The deadliest earthquake in history killed 830,000 in Shansi, China (1556)
  • January 23 BONUS: Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S. (1849)
  • January 24: Gold is discovered at Sutter’s Creek, triggering the California gold rush (1848)
  • January 25: The world’s largest diamond was discovered in South Africa (1905)
  • January 26: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera opened on Broadway (1988)
  • January 27: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria (1756)
  • January 28: The space shuttle Challenger explodes 72 seconds after liftoff, killing the 7 crew members, including teacher Christa McAuliff (1986)
  • January 29: Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven was published (1845)
  • January 30: King Charles I of England was beheaded (1649)
  • January 31: The first U.S. earth satellite, Explorer I, was launched (1958)

Sources: and


Our Top 5 Blogs You Liked Most in 2016

best of 2016 red badge

We have compiled a list of our blogs you liked most in 2016.  If you’re new to Muscogee Moms, or haven’t visited our Blog, this will give you a good idea of what our blog is about!

1. Spring Festivals in Georgia

Spring in the south is one of our favorite seasons of the year. We love getting outside and enjoying the fresh air, flowers and, of course, festivals. Here is a list of our favorite spring festivals in Georgia.

2. Spring Festivals in Alabama

Having created a list of spring festivals for Georgia, it was only fair that we do the same for Alabama. Here is a list of our favorites.

3. Summer Festivals 2016

Southern summers can be scorching hot, but we still love to get outside, cook some food, and just have fun. The South is home to dozens of family-friendly festivals each summer. Here are 10 of our favorites in Georgia and Alabama.

4. Summer Bucket List 2016

A summer bucket list is a great way to keep the kids busy during the summer months. Here are 50 things to do with your family before summer kicks the bucket.

5. Georgia Aquarium 10th Anniversary Celebration

Muscogee Moms was excited to be invited by the Georgia Aquarium to preview the aquarium’s newest exhibits (opening March 31st) and to celebrate its 10th Anniversary. The aquarium is a favorite destination for our respective families, so Katie and I left our children in the care of our respective husbands and drove to Atlanta for a lovely evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and excellent aquatic entertainment.

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