Here is a round of pieces I’ve recently read and appreciated with thoughts on parenting teens and the challenges and opportunities doing so presents.
The Best Way to Fight With a Teenager by Lisa Damour from Well Family – The New York Times
“No parent or teenager can, or needs to, turn every dispute into a thoughtful consideration of opposing outlooks. And some families weather toxic battles that go far beyond the squabbles inherent in raising adolescents. Still, the balance of research suggests that garden-variety disagreements offer the opportunity to help young people better understand themselves and others, building in them the lifelong skill of finding room for civility in the midst of discord.
No parent looks forward to fighting with his or her teenage child. But the friction that comes with raising adolescents might be easier to take when we see it as an opening, not an obstacle.”
Movies to Watch with Tweens and Teens That Don’t Make You Look Like a Dork by Betsy Bozdech from Common Sense Media
This caught my eye because I like articles that tell me I’m not a dork and the first one on this list of “not-babyish, not-embarassingly grown-up movies” is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which we recently viewed for family movie night.
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (age 12+): This beloved ’80s comedy has some pretty salty dialogue, but kids will adore Ferris and cheer as he gets away with the kinds of things most of us only daydream about.
Guardians of the Galaxy (age 12+): Charming rogue Peter Quill and his ragtag crew are tons of fun to root for while they fight intergalactic bad guys — and rock out to a retro-cool soundtrack.
The Way, Way Back (age 13+): In this rare coming-of-age tale that really rings true, there’s some edgy content but nothing that should leave teens too red-faced if they see it with Mom and Dad.”
Before You Scroll, Try This Mindful Social Media Practice by Christopher Willard on Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life at the University of California, Berkeley
“For teens and tweens, who are actually hardwired for self-consciousness, the constant comparing and curating—which used to end with the final bell of the school day, when kids could go home and put on their sweatpants—is a twenty-four-hour-a-day job. Socializing and social comparison begins first thing in the morning and ends last thing at night. Predictably, psychology research consistently shows that social media is making kids unhappier and more narcissistic.
. . .
Yes, social media is contributing to a new era of adolescent (and adult) social stress, but when we accept that it is here to stay, we can also see it as a new opportunity for connection and mindfulness, if we build it. Mindfulness tells us there is insight to be found in anything when we approach it with mindfulness, and that even includes social media.”
Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection by Reshma Saujani from TED
“We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave, says Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code. Saujani has taken up the charge to socialize young girls to take risks and learn to program — two skills they need to move society forward. To truly innovate, we cannot leave behind half of our population, she says. “I need each of you to tell every young woman you know to be comfortable with imperfection.”
Teenagers’ Advice to Parents of Teenagers by Rachel Pieh Jones on Brain, Child – This was first published in 2014, but it was new to me when I recently saw and I thought it merited sharing. Even if you’ve seen it before, I’m willing to place it in the “oldie but goodie” category.
“1. Don’t pester us with annoying questions like, “What are you thinking?” or “What’s wrong?” I’ll tell you if and when I want to.
. . .
3. Stay up late. We want to start important conversations after you want to be in bed. After midnight you might be able to ask those annoying questions and actually receive an answer.
. . .
9. Limit our screen time. I worry about our generation, that we won’t be capable of healthy social interactions with actual people. We’ll probably fight you, but do it anyway.”
If you have any favorite pieces you’ve read recently, chances are they’ll resonate with others, so please share them in the comments. Thanks!
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