Tag Archives: adolescent psychology


Teens expressing own views with moms likelier to resist peer …

Via Scoop.it – The Middle Road Washington, Dec 22 (ANI): Teenagers who express their own viewpoints in discussions with their mothers are more likely to resist peer pressure to use drugs or.Via news.hamaraphotos.com Advertisements

Believe it or Not~They Still Need Us!

When children reach their middle level years (ages 10-15), parents/guardians may experience a false sense of relief because they believe their preteens no longer need supervision after school.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  According the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, studies reveal that youth with too much time on their hands may actually be at increased risk of substance abuse issues.

One study found that eighth graders who were unsupervised for 11 hours of a week were twice as likely to use drugs and alcohol as those under some type of adult supervision. That’s just a little scary!

Let’s face it.  In today’s economy, parents/guardians have to hold jobs, many of those not ending until well after their children are let out of school.  Day care costs put family budgets at risk, and not everyone has a family network on which to rely for supervision.  So, how can adults find the after-school supervision their kids need without breaking the bank?  Here are some options:

  1. School activities.  If you look into what schools have to offer after school, you will find a multitude of opportunities.  Anything from after-school homework clubs to science and technology clubs to athletic programs.  There is always something going on once that end-of-the-day bell rings.  These can lead to positive, lifelong connection for our adolescents.
  2. Community centers.  Many communities have Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs and/or other youth programs in which preteens and teens can get involved.  If there is nothing like this in your community, gather some friends and start one!
  3. Volunteering.  These connections often lead to an increased self-esteem because of that “doing good for others” sense of self worth that accompanies community service opportunities.  Just think of the job skills your child can acquire by making the world a better place.  A definite win-win!
  4. Youth organizations.  Scouting, 4-H and many other student organizations have programs designed for middle level students. What better place to meet new friends, connect with others with like interests and develop work and life skills that will benefit them in the future!
Whether they admit it or not, adolescents still need us.  They need guidance, boundaries, compliments and privileges.  They need us to be the adults.  Trust me, the investment made now will pay dividends down the road.
Keeping the Magic,

Motivating Adolescents to Succeed

As I write this, I find myself taking a mental reprieve from the typical, weekend tasks required of a middle level English teacher…editing and grading papers. As I set aside an abysmally small collection of student writings, I ask myself the question I ask myself almost daily, “How the heck do I get these kids to care about their education?” And, moreover, “How the heck do I get them to care about ENGLISH 8?” Possibilities fall anywhere on the continuum from frightening them with the fears of being prepared for high school and beyond to dazzling them with the latest high-tech gadgets and gizmos of the digital world. As differentiated as my students are in ability and socioeconomic status, I need the answers to my questions to be simple and one-size-fits-all. And, I need the answers by tomorrow.

Then, it dawned on me: what motivates us as adults is really no different from what motivates our middle level learners. So, I dug deep into my fitness journals from years past to find pieces of motivation that once moved me when I attempted to lose over 100 pounds on my own. Maybe I could apply the same principles to my ENGLISH 8 students. Here’s the skinny. Maybe it can work for you:

1. I was happy (fat and happy) and really didn’t see the need to lose weight until I faced the fear of potential health hazards. TRANSLATION: Students really don’t/won’t care until they actually see what failure could do to their immediate futures. I need to show them…now.

2. I needed small changes; it would have been too overwhelming to incorporate drastic alterations into my “pleasingly plump and content” lifestyle. TRANSLATION: Outline student success. Celebrate small victories. Make a big deal about turning in an everyday, ordinary assignments. Success breeds success, and they may want more. If nothing else, bombard them with consistent (however, sincere) flattery.

3. I needed to know I wasn’t alone. Reading about and listening to others who struggled with their weight helped me apply their techniques to my own life. TRANSLATION: Engage mentors, former students who, somewhere along the line of their educational growth, realized that positive study choices and responsible behaviors led them closer to their post high school goals.

4. I needed to know that when I slipped up on my nutrition choices or exercise routine, I could always get back on the train without derailing it. TRANSLATION: Offer do-overs. Understand their situations (i.e. no computers at home, split homes, poverty) and offer them alternative solutions to complete their work, meet deadlines, and correct their mistakes. Don’t let them believe it’s a “one and done” situation. Students often close the door all too quickly on these scenarios.

5. Walk the talk. I tended to follow, and align myself with, those who lived a healthy lifestyle and made positive contributions to their own health and fitness. TRANSLATION: Be open and human. When giving deadlines, respect my students by giving feedback in a timely manner. They need to know I care and that I hold myself to the same expectations to which I hold them.

Simple enough. At least it’s a start. That’s said, I have papers to grade and get back for Monday morning writing conferences.

Keep the Magic!