PBS has a great new story on the how screen time has a drug like effect on teenagers. In truth, screen time can effect anyone but the teen brain, because of it's unique characteristics, is more likely to be impacted.
Click HERE to go to the story.
Recently I was asked to write an article for our local online newsletter, Living Snoqualmie.
The topic was how today's technology impacts teenagers, particularly in terms of increasing stress. Here is the article!
Teen pressure, stress | Social Media the New Slambook; phenomenon of FOMO
Check out this article on tips to help teenagers cope with stress. So many of the strategies are simply helping teens recognize the good things that are happening in their lives and in the world. I like number 5, which says "let the negative emotion run its course" and then gently help the teen to reappraise. It's important not to rush this process. When your teen feels out of sorts, help her identify the emotion and offer sympathy and support while the emotion peaks and ebbs, just like you did when she was little and her emotions got the best of her. After the storm has subsided, then you can step in and help her try to look at the problem from a different perspective. But the key is to do this very gently! No one likes to be told in any shape or form, "It's not that bad" when they are feeling stressed. I also like number 9 which suggests helping teens to see the bigger picture. It's very hard for teens to visualize the future. It's a brain thing. During the teenage years, the part of the brain that is able to accurately imagine things that haven't happened yet is not fully developed. That's why teens engage in such risky behaviors; they can't really imagine the consequences of their actions yet. They may be able to verbalize what they've been taught the consequences are, but on their own, they can't effectively imagine them the way an adult can. So, it's good to help them through this process. "Will this matter in ten years? Will it matter in 5 years? Will it matter in one year? How about next month? Next week?" Those kinds of questions, with time for them to ponder, are helpful. Enjoy the article: Positive Emotions: Helping a Teen with LD Cope Better With Stress.
Oh, and one more thing: the best way to help a kid cope with stress is to learn to cope well with it yourself! So, maybe try some of these tips out on YOU!
Dr. Caroline Heldman, professor at Occidental College has a lot to say about the images that we see about women and what they means to us as a society. She starts out by saying that it is a LIE that being a sex object is empowering and she goes on to prove her theory. It's very interesting! Here is a great quote from the video: "We raise our little boys to view their bodies as tools to master their environments. We raise our little girls to view their bodies as projects to constantly be improved." OUCH. Hits home. I like that she gives us a quick way to tell if an image is exploitive...and I thinks its disturbing that we don't always know! Take a few minutes to watch this and share it with your teenagers. Click HERE for the Video.
We warn our daughters about dangers associated with growing up: getting pregnant, getting "used" by a boy, getting in risky situations. But what do we say to our sons? As puberty strikes, teenage boys often go inward, spending a lot of time alone or in their rooms, playing video games, listening to loud music. Those sweet little guys who used to drop into our laps and tell us how much they love us turn in to large, often uncertain, sometimes surly young men who rarely want to show us any type of real feelings. And yet, experts will tell you (and many mothers too) that young men are filled with feelings of romance and love and think just as much about finding The ONE as do their female counterparts. They just don't talk about it! But we need to talk with them, especially about how to navigate the dangers of becoming sexual. Although they can't get pregnant, they can get very hurt and they can do a lot of damage if they don't have some good strong parenting at this critical time in their lives.
Ask him some questions: What would he do if a girl started coming on to him and he didn't love her? Maybe didn't even like her but thought she was sexy? What if she was drunk? What would he do if he saw some other boys messing around with a girl who was drunk? What if it seemed like she liked it? Would it make a difference? Would he say anything? What if the boys were his friends? What would he do if a girl liked him and wanted sex with him and he wasn't ready? Does he think that if a girl had sex with him, she might be more inclined to think she was in love? How would he know she was only with him? What if she offered to send him a picture of herself without clothes? Does he know anyone who got a girl pregnant and what happened to the boy? What would he do if that happened to him? What is important to him about love? What would he do if his girlfriend made him really, really mad? Who would he talk to?
There are so many questions that a boy needs to think about. He may not want to talk to you but that's OK. Ask the questions. He will think about them in his own time and and probably to some loud crazy music. But if you are very quiet and very available, he will probably come in some day and plop down and say, "You know, I was thinking about that thing you said the other day...."
Although there have been many changes in how parents feel about raising boys over the last few years, the truth is, boys still are faced with overwhelming pressure to "be tough" and to not show weakness. For boys who are by nature sensitive, it can be really hard to fit in. These boys are often targeted for bullying and, unfortunately, parents may not know how to support these children and may even make it worse for them. Dr. Ted Zeff gives us ten ways to help our sensitive boys in this article: http://drtedzeff.com/news/saving-our-sons-ten-step-plan-for-nonviolence.php