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Teenage brain

A group of teenagers seeking independence while out on a walk

Why Teens Respond Better to Collaboration Than Commands

“I need you to get going!” I told my middle schooler. This reminder came at the end of instructions about what-to-do-next in the unstructured day ahead. My pre-teen, more engaged in a podcast than my game plan, didn’t budge. I considered increasing volume, providing more information, or adding in some exasperated sighs for emphasis. Before…  Read More

teenager scrolling on their cell phone

Teens and Phones: How To Talk About Summer Scrolling

Set Boundaries AND Activate Awareness

“Here is what I know I don’t want,” a high school junior recently shared. “ A summer of scrolling. A little bit is fine – you know, to just relax and check out for a bit. But I don’t want to get lost there all summer.”  This young person’s reflection comes at just the right time for…  Read More

Tween at desk looking at laptop

Teens on Social Media: Is There a Case to Delay?

“I am just going to delay as long as I can,” a parent recently shared with me. She added, “I just don’t even want to deal with social media until high school.”  “Yes, I can relate,” I replied thinking of my own middle schooler at home and my intermittent impulses to move deep into the…  Read More

Teens on social media on their phones

New Health Advisory on Social Media Use in Adolescence

What are the latest recommendations from the American Psychological Association?

To say that there is a lot of attention right now on teenage social media use is an understatement. Yet all of the attention hasn’t necessarily produced a clear and coherent path for parents. Instead, we continue to experience significant whiplash between headlines that say, “Screen time is fine!” on one hand, and, “Screen time…  Read More

Mom and teenager laughing and connecting

Identity in Adolescence

When Teens Push Us Away, Let's Get Creative With Connection

“I know that I want to raise an independent kid who eventually goes off into the world,” a parent recently shared. “But I just don’t like this in between part.”  “What part?” I asked.  “Oh just the part where they wrench themselves away from the family and treat me like an unwanted roommate,” they replied…  Read More

Teens walking to school and roaming the neighborhood independently.

Play Without Pressure and Room to Roam: Why Independent Activities Are Key to Wellbeing

In the past two years every major organization dedicated to adolescent health and development has sounded the alarm on mental health. The latest CDC data describes the crisis in detail. In 2021, more than four in ten students felt persistently sad or hopeless and nearly one-third experienced poor mental health.  In the wake of this…  Read More

Let’s Design Tech for Adolescent Development Not Dollars

“When do you think kids should have access to social media?” a parent recently asked during a workshop. Before she could help herself, another parent nearby responded quietly, “When they are twenty-five.” Another parent chimed in more confidently, “Never.” This sparked knowing laughter from the entire crowd. It turns out that both of these parents’…  Read More

Two teens sitting on a bench looking at their phones together

When Phones Get in the Way of Connection (and When They Don’t)

“Hm hmmm?” I said, vaguely attending to my youngest child’s in-depth description of what features he would add to a Minecraft realm if given full coding control. My attention was split between his description (which could go on without end) and scrolling through a headline a friend had texted me.  Actually I hadn’t made a…  Read More

Frustrated child sitting at table with her head in her hands

Why Forecasting Emotions Can Help Kids Handle Them

“I try to have a positive attitude about it and give him a fresh start,” a parent recently shared with me. “But it seems like every day there is a blow up when it’s time to stop gaming. It’s miserable.”  “Ugh. That sounds so hard,” I responded picturing similar scenes playing out in my own…  Read More

Group of young teenagers sitting outside in a circle showing each other images on their phones

Teens and Screens: Why The Shift From Control to Connection is Key to Mental Health

We all have well rehearsed parenting phrases that emerge at different stages in our kids’ lives. Usually they pop into our heads or out of our mouths before we’ve even had time to think them through. You aren’t alone if the dominant phrase during middle and high school is, “PUT. THAT. [INSERT TECH DEVICE]. DOWN.”…  Read More