Parenting teens is a bit easier with solid info and a dose of perspective Here are a few favorite pieces about teens worth reading this week that provide both. I really enjoyed them and/or found them helpful, and I think you may, too.
Before you try to bribe your kid to do something, read this:
“Brain Scans Reveal Why Rewards and Punishments Don’t Seem to Work on Teenagers” by Gina Rippon in Scientific American
“Knowing about this effect could be of value in educational and training fields. Just increasing any reward/bribe you might be tempted to offer to get a teenager to do something may not have the desired effect. Instead, try to give young adolescents as much information as possible about an upcoming decision—this could help redress the imbalance between cognition and motivation.
For example, instead of bribing them to apply to a certain university, taking them on multiple visits to university open days might just be worthwhile. That said, it may not be easy. There’s also the risk that you’ll be faced with another aspect of adolescent behaviour—a refusal to listen to adult words of wisdom.”
Before you worry about your kid blowing a big project, paper or test in school, read this:
“Why We Should Embrace Mistakes in School” by Amy L. Eva on Greater Good
“For many teens, perceived faults loom large as their self-consciousness grows. Theorist David Elkind’s classic description of an adolescent’s sense of an “imaginary audience” may not be so imaginary these days. Kids are watching each other closely both in school and online—judging, comparing, and evaluating—while mental health conditions like anxiety and depression are on the rise.
Our performance-based school culture may not be helping, but there is an alternative—and it involves guiding our students to embrace the very failures they’re trying to avoid.”
Before you give your teen another piece of advice, read this (because these are so well said):
“‘You Don’t Have to Have it All Figured Out’ – And Other Things I Want My Teen to Know” by Karen Young on Hey Sigmund
“Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Relationships break, friendships fold, your hard work ends differently to the way you wanted – and sometimes this will have nothing at all to do with you. Be open to what you can learn, and how you can grow through the struggle, but it doesn’t mean you caused it or deserved it, or that you could have done anything to avoid it. Let go of the need to rewind, or understand, or hang on to what should have been, or the outcome you wanted. Life has a way of recalibrating sometimes, and sometimes in ways that press heavily against your heart and bruise you from the inside out – but – sometimes things fall apart so they can come back together in ways that will open a new way forward. There are many ways to a happy ending. Be open to the ones that will be different to the way you expected.”
Before you talk with your kid about the Internet again or are tempted to post something reactionary yourself, read this:
“How to Talk to Kids about preventing and overcoming online shaming” with Sue Scheff on Dr.RobynSilverman.com
“Everyone is so quick to post. We must learn patience. Never post in haste. Don’t put a temporary emotion on the permanent internet.
. . .
Our keystrokes are powerful. They can either send out kindness or they can send out cruelty. It’s up to us.”
Before you feel like you’re the only one without a map to this parenting a teen thing , read this:
“Raising a Teenage Daughter*” by Elizabeth Weil on The California Sunday Magazine (the formatting of this piece which makes the teen’s thoughts on what her mother is saying accessible with a click is a reason to read this alone)
“Hannah is the most competent person in our house, and she’s a puddle. She wants to know the correct answer, what other people would like her to say, but she’s furious if she thinks the right answer is untrue.
I want to say: I’ll give you all I’ve got, but I wasn’t that great at being a teenager, and I’m a pretty flawed adult, too.”
You May Also Like: Recent posts on kids and tech that I’ve found helpful
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Filed under: Parenting