Ask any high school teacher you know: there are certain questions from parents that come up time and time again during parent-teacher interviews. The most common ones are usually marks related, but English teachers will tell you that parents also want to know how they can foster the joy of reading in teens who claim to "hate" books and wouldn't read one if their lives depended on it.
The last couple months have taught me a lot about youth, bullying and the politics of it all. As I tell the youth, I am "just a guy named Tad" and I am not an expert or professional on this topic at all. Having reflected on this recently, I believe it is safe to say that I do know a lot about bullying however, directly from the source ... the youth.
As young as Grade 3, kids are under pressure to wear the right clothes, like the right music, have the right friends and be cool. Often, that leads to stress and anxiety for youngsters. Well-intentioned parents often try too hard to prevent the bumps and scrapes of feelings as kids grow up, but one parenting expert says they're doing more harm than good.
My son couldn't wait to turn 16 because it meant he could finally get a job. He has applied to McDonalds three times, Tim Hortons twice, KFC, Cineplex twice, No Frills, Loblaws, golf courses (to do anything), coffee shops, Canadian Tire, FreshCo, Pizza Pizza, Wonderland, and City of Toronto. What I keep hearing from people is that my son is lacking the most essential of life skills -- the powerful network.
I was lost. A mother of six with four hormonal teenagers -- that in itself, even spouting out the words is enough to drive anyone to a liquored-stupor. But I am not here to tell you what you already know or what you fear, I want to share my survival skills, how I managed to keep myself together, or appear to and hope that some good comes out of my experience.
Those who have seen the documentary Queen of Versailles usually laugh at the outrageous lifestyle of David and Jacky Siegal, a billionaire and his trophy wife. The film begins in 2008, before the market crash. The economic downturn froze the construction of their incredible 90,000 sq ft mansion in Florida. But we can learn from them. What kids and adults need are some lessons in the lost art of budgeting, living within your means and learning not to spend what you don't have.
Every July, around 10 Canadian universities scattered across the country play host to 500 students from all provinces/territories and even internationally. Although the program is for open-minded high school students who are not afraid to delve into any subject and become challenged or inspired in ways they never thought possible in one month, I hope to break the stereotype that this is "nerd camp". My program consisted of 56 total Shads and we lived in residence at the university.
As a mom, you may have noticed your teen struggling with self esteem. While it could be acne, weight gain or hormones, it might be your teen's smile. Are they proudly displaying their pearly whites or do they cover their mouth when they laugh? I spoke to Jennifer Vishnevsky, a contributor to TopDentists.com and she gave me some great guidelines to help you decide if tooth whitening is the right choice for your teen.
Just imagine... A happy, successful, life where playtime is as fulfilling as work-time. Relationships become opportunities for joy, sharing and lots of close, meaningful contact that is mutually satisfying. But seriously, we're talking about a full life for teens and young adults. Let's face it, the teenage years are not easy and they're not drama-free. Basically a lot about them suck.