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Teenagers

Children experiencing gratitude

What Gratitude Is – What It Isn’t – And How It Can Help Kids Cope

“It’s okay. I’ve stopped looking forward to things because everything gets cancelled anyway.” This was my son’s response after we shared that we would be spending Thanksgiving week alone instead of driving to visit grandparents. This was certainly an honest and heartbreaking response to a long string of traditions and activities modified to stay safe…  Read More

Don’t Forget to Play (And Be Playful)

“PUG BREAK!!!” my six-year-old shouted. I heard my oldest’s feet pounding towards the kitchen and I quickly to ran down to join them. Despite the pandemic causing us to mentally and physically feel like we are often stuck in thick jello, the call for a well-timed “Pug break” during a day of distance-learning-work-juggling evokes a…  Read More

Masked teenager holding up two pins that say VOTE and 2020

Talking Politics With Kids and Teens

Why Kids Need Us to Engage Them in the Election

During the last presidential election I had a child in kindergarten. It didn’t take long into the school year to understand that kids as young as five-years-old are already deeply invested in national politics. At drop off, kids would run up to me eagerly with all kinds of observations and questions typical of kindergarteners, ranging…  Read More

Back to School Emotional Toolkit

Whether your child is heading back to school in person, online or via a hybrid model, the school year looks and feels different. Stress levels are high, uncertainty reigns, and routines that usually anchor us during transitions are absent. Amidst all this uncertainty, it would be easy to focus our attention on the most tangible…  Read More

Child pressing folded hands against parents hands in an act of apology

Kids, Parenting, and Apologizing

Why Pandemic Parenting Gives Us Lots of Practice and How to Do It Well

I was participating in a meeting last week with a group of parent educators when the facilitator posed these questions as “ice-breakers” before we got deeper into our agenda: What is something you have spent more time on during the pandemic? What has grounded you during this challenging time?  Asking these kinds of questions is, of…  Read More

Ribbon on a typewriter with the words "stories matter" above

Parenting for Media Literacy: Storytelling and Power Matter

I used to teach a course on digital media, storytelling, and social change to college students in Minneapolis. One of our first field experiences every semester was to the artist studio of Minneapolis-based visual artist Ricardo Levins Morales. My students tended to be emerging filmmakers and media makers so many were surprised (and sometimes annoyed)…  Read More

Teenager looking at camera and behind him is a computer screen with fake news

Talking to Kids About Fake News

“Nothing on the internet is real anyway,” my youngest announced emphatically to his older brother. “You don’t know what you are talking about,” my oldest retorted as he searched for evidence that some ducks do indeed sleep with only one eye open. He was clearly ready to launch into an evidence-based defense of his beloved…  Read More

Teenage boy looking at phone and llistening to music with earbuds in his ears.

What Teens Need Us to Know About Social Media and Mental Health

“Any gratitude I had for screens is gone,” a friend shared this week, “I was thrilled in March…thank goodness for technology! Take the iPad and go forth! Now online meetings, gaming, and chats feel more and more empty, especially with everything going on the world. I just want my kid to unplug for a while.…  Read More

Child blowing a dandelion seeds into the air.

Five Things Kids Need to Regulate and Recharge

“Are we still on summer break?” my oldest asked me yesterday. I wanted to respond, “Who knows anymore?” but I held my tongue. Instead, I answered with a cheery, “Yup! Still on summer break!” Then I handed him a popsicle in a somewhat feeble attempt to assert summer-ness into the day. I empathize with his…  Read More

Child raising her arms in defiance feeling lots of emotions

The Goal of Emotional Regulation is Not Quiet, Compliant Kids

The lessons we learn about feelings are powerful. From a very young age we are taught in both spoken and unspoken ways which feelings (and associated behaviors) are welcome and which aren’t. A parent shared with me after a workshop a couple of years ago, “I was always told in one hundred different ways that…  Read More