Teen Multiples

/Teen Multiples
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How Many 529 Plans Should I Have?

moneyOur financial consultants say you should have one plan for each child if you have multiples, mainly because if all of the kids attend college at the same time, you will be making withdrawals at the same time and you cannot withdraw from one plan for multiple people at the same time.

If you have money left over after the children have attended college, you can then transfer Child A’s balance to Child B, who may have decided to go on for a Master’s degree. Or you can let the unused balance sit until you have a grandchild, then transfer the balance to him or her. The money can also be used for an adult returning to school and a few other purposes.

Bottom Line: If you have one person at a time using the funds, then one 529 plan is fine; it can be a “rolling” plan. But with multiples, each child needs his or her own plan.

Don’t forget that if you sign up for your state’s plan, you can deduct your 529 plan contributions on your state tax return. In New York for example, it’s up to $10,000 annually, which means contributing a little over $3,000, or less, to triplets during the year.

But shop around. If your state’s plan is not so great, you can open a 529 in another state. You just won’t get the tax deduction. So you will have to weigh the better returns in the other state against the tax deduction in your state.

Also the UPromise program can help you save a little money for college. The money is free (it works like cash back on credit cards) and deposited directly into your 529 plan. And yes, you can split your UPromise funds between more than one plan for multiple children. Grandparents and other family members or friends can sign up for UPromise too and their free money can be split among each of your 529 plans also.

Letting Go for College

graduationAll animals grow up and leave the nest. They go through their playful phase, practice adulthood, and then are on their own. Human children just play longer and their parents worry more. When children are ready for college, parents want that last time at home to be so special. It’s the last opportunity for family togetherness. It should be a perfect time. The last family vacation before the child leaves home should be idyllic. Why then does your daughter say, “Mom, I hate you. I’d rather be with my friends. It’s a good thing I’m leaving in August because I couldn’t stand one more minute in this prison”?

Because she is ready to cross a chasm, and it’s so much easier than saying, “I love you so much that I can’t even find the right words. You’ve done everything for me. I’m petrified. Do you think I’m ready to go off on my own? Do you think you’ll miss me as much as I’m going to miss you?”

Adolescents challenge parents because they need to loosen one kind of connection—the one that involves parents’ assuming full responsibility for them. When challenged this way, it’s completely understandable for parents to feel hurt or even angry. If they don’t understand what is happening, parents may push harder to keep control. This only breeds resentment and ill feelings. But if they recognize that their teen is struggling for independence and learn to celebrate it, everyone will be healthier and less tense.

Every time kids behave badly or speak meanly to parents doesn’t necessarily reflect their growing independence or their conflicted emotions. Sometimes they might just be acting mean. They know a parent’s vulnerabilities.

Whether they are justifiably or unfairly angry, they can be masters at saying hurtful things. Often it’s a way of shouting, “Listen to me!” Perhaps they’re testing the waters to grab attention before they can bring up something that’s troubling them. If parents respond with anger and shut them down, they may feel justified for not sharing their concerns: “Remember, I was going to tell you, but then….” When parents listen and reserve judgment, their teenagers’ stories unfold.

But it’s OK to tell them when they hurt your feelings—not in a way that makes them feel guilty, but just a clear statement of fact that their behavior is inappropriate and hurtful. That is an important part of a parent’s job in building character. Even when kids challenge the parental connection, parents need to be consistent about one thing: Their love is unconditional and they will always be there for their children. With this clear message, parents say, “Go ahead—grow. I’ve got your back.”

For a more in-depth look at this topic, watch this video: Why Teens Really Say They Hate Us

Thanks to our friends at healthychildren.org!

E-Cigarettes Not a “Safer” Choice for Teens

e-cigaretteElectronic cigarettes are used by both smoking and nonsmoking teens, and are associated with drinking and other risky behaviors, a new study finds.

“We found that e-cigarette access is strongly related to alcohol use in teenagers,” said study author Karen Hughes. She is a professor of behavioral epidemiology at Liverpool John Moores University in England.

The researchers surveyed more than 16,000 students, aged 14 to 17, in England and found that 20 percent of them had used e-cigarettes.

Of those who had tried e-cigarettes, 16 percent had never smoked, 23 percent had tried smoking but didn’t like it, nearly 36 percent were regular smokers, nearly 12 percent only smoked when drinking, and nearly 14 percent were ex-smokers.

Students who drank alcohol were much more likely to use e-cigarettes than nondrinkers, and those who regularly binge drank were four times more likely to use e-cigarettes than those who didn’t drink, according to the study.

Among those who drank, e-cigarette use was associated with binge drinking and violence after drinking, regardless of whether they were smokers before. These findings suggest that teens that use e-cigarettes are at risk for other types of substance use and risk-taking, according to the researchers.

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October 20th, 2015|Parents of Multiples, Teen Multiples|

Study: Giving Kids Sips of Alcohol Can Lead to Binge Drinking

http://www.raisingmultiples.org/wp-content/uploadsMost/2015/05/kids-drinking.jpgMany parents allow their kids to take a little sip of their beer or wine from time to time, but it’s not a good idea according to a new report.

The study involved surveys of 561 middle school students in Rhode Island over a three-year period. A little under a third of the students said they had sipped alcohol by the start of middle school, with most of those saying they got the alcohol from their parents at a party or on a special occasion.

Even when factoring out issues that could encourage problem drinking down the road, such as how much their parents drink, a history of alcoholism in their family, or having a risk-taking personality, the children who sipped were more likely to be drinking in high school, said Kristina Jackson, research associate professor at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, and one of the study’s authors.

Twenty-six percent of the kids who had sipped alcohol said they had a full drink by the ninth grade versus less than 6% for the kids who never sipped alcohol, the survey found. Nine percent said they had binged on alcohol (had five or more drinks at one time) or gotten drunk versus under 2% for the non-sippers.

“I think the most important thing is to make sure that children know when drinking alcohol is acceptable and when it is not,” said Jackson. “I would say that it is advisable not to offer your child a sip of your beverage, as it may send the wrong message — younger teens and tweens may be unable to understand the difference between drinking a sip and drinking one or more drinks.”

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Device-free Dinners Important for Child Development

Are you constantly checking your phone for messages during dinner? A new study finds that mothers’ use of cellphones and other devices during meals was tied with 20 percent fewer verbal and 39 percent fewer nonverbal interactions with their children.

“This study documents what we clearly see to be true — that is, that everyone is connected to an electronic interface way too much and ignoring real-time human relations,” said Dr. Ron Marino, associate chair of pediatrics at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.

“Children must have the emotional physical and verbal presence of a loving caretaker,” he added. “When a mother is distracted by electronic media, the opportunities to develop language and social cognition are diminished or lost.”

Adapted from an article in MedlinePlus – Health Information from the National Library of Medicine