As a parent raising a kid in The Time of the Screens, I am often trying to strike that balance between allowing him to explore age-appropriate technology while also determining how much is too much.
Tagged With teens
Around the time my son turned 13, he started spending more time away from our home. School activities kept him busy after school, and he and his buddies would take turns hanging out in basements to play video games on the weekends.
In the last two years, most of his time spent away has been spent supervised by teachers or other parents, but as he crossed over to being a full-fledged teen, he developed a social life right along with a heavy case of acne.
When my son approached his teenage years, I braced myself for the inevitable behaviours teens often display. I waited for the eye rolling and the mouthing off. I prepared for door slamming and grunting. I steeled myself for years of silence with a moody teen. I’d often heard parents of teens joke that “you get your kid back” when they head off to college.
Teenagers don't enjoy talking to their parents. Actually, scratch that. Many don't talk that much to their friends either, at least not with their voices. Teenagers like to text. Walk into any establishment where teens hang out and you will see them clumped together in small groups hovering over their cell phones. Sometimes they even text the people sitting right next to them.
It's a strange way of life.
If you've spent any time with teens, you know that they tend to be forgetful. It's not that they don't try, of course, but somehow remembering to change the toilet paper roll or empty the dishwasher escapes their brains. With heavy homework loads and demanding after-school schedules, teens, just like adults, can have a hard time remembering the small details that will make their lives easier.
Most old kids TV shows are like bottles of champagne gone flat. Once the fizz of the pop culture moment passes, they’re just vinegar you pour down the drain. But not always. Some shows transcend their moment, by chance or by design, and manage to become timeless. The 10 programs listed below are my choices for older kid-and-teen focused TV shows that even the most jaded modern child will enjoy.
Mums and dads of teenagers: Does your kid seem extra enthusiastic about addition and multiplication these days? I’m sorry to break it to you, but the calculator app he’s been grinning at all evening may not be the trusty maths device that it seems. It could be a digital safe, hiding photos he doesn’t want you to see. Here are some ways to find out.
You may remember watching a VHS tape as a teenager that showed the very, very bad and gruesome things that can happen when you drive too fast on highways. To raise safe drivers, it seemed to be believed, you needed to give them nightmares for months.
Growing up in the ‘80s, my childhood was filled with such scare tactics — car accident remnants displayed on the school lawn, police officers giving lectures about gaol time, and that damn fried egg commercial that aired in between all my afternoon cartoons.
Being a teenager in 2018 — I don’t know how it’s done. Imagine having the same list of pressures that you had as a high school kid — school, extracurriculars, chores, a social life often filled with angst — and then adding on the constant pull of social media, alerting you to all the things you aren't doing. (“Did you see that Gigi is building houses in Africa this summer and that Jonah has an internship at Snapchat?”)
You knew it would happen, but you never thought it would happen this fast: Your child has become a teen. And now, suddenly, everything about you is annoying or embarrassing - the shirt you're wearing, the way you walk, the questions you ask, the gifts you buy, the pace at which you spread cream cheese on your bagel. The kid can't stand being around you.
High school and university students are suffering from unprecedented levels of anxiety, and anyone raising teenagers these days knows they're coping with huge amounts of stress. This goes double for girls, who have what Rachel Simmons calls "role overload" in her book Enough as She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy and Fulfilling Lives. Girls have to be smart and beautiful and athletic and ... they have to look as though playing all these roles takes no effort at all.
How we feel about our bodies - and how we treat them - is influenced by many different factors, but one of the biggest is how we were raised. As a longtime fat activist, I have heard tons of stories about well-meaning parents who'd talk about food choices in terms of weight loss rather than nutrition, or exercise as a moral imperative rather than a fun way to spend time. And their children grew up to develop harmful attitudes and behaviours because of it.
When I was a child there weren't many options for entertainment after school or on weekends: I could walk to a friend's house. I could watch TV on our 13 fuzzy channels. Or I could read. And so I read, and read, and read -- hours and even whole days would pass with no interruptions. I didn't have any choice but to concentrate.
What happens if your picky-eating child doesn't grow out of it? What if you're begging a 15-year-old to just taste a green vegetable? After all, by the time they're adolescents, kids have spending money, autonomy, and access to plenty of junk food. So what is a parent supposed to do when the strategies they used when the kid was six simply don't work anymore?
Some call it the "good kids' high." Children and teens are playing the so-called "choking game" - an activity in which they strangle themselves or friends for an instant shot of euphoria - believing it's cheaper, quicker, easier and more legal than buying booze or pot. The game, which goes by many different names, is not new, but in an age of stupid teen challenges on social media, hospitals are warning parents about it once again.