TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Author: Elizabeth Suneby

Liz Suneby is the author of books for children and teens, including “The Mitzvah Project Book: Making Mitzvah Part of Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah” and “Your Life”, published by Jewish Lights, and the Children’s Choice award-winning “See What You Can Be: Explore Careers That Could Be For You.”

Posted Aug. 31, 2016, 9:50 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
How to Get Started with Community Service

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Anthropologist, Margaret Mead (1901–1978) Why should you reach out through volunteer opportunities in high school? When you reach out to your community, you’re not just making a difference for others. Community service projects have huge benefits for volunteers themselves, such as: 1. Helping out. Whether you choose to focus on people, animals, or the environment, there are countless ways to make a difference. Nonprofits have all kinds of volunteer opportunities for teens. Organizations and their beneficiaries truly ...

Posted Sept. 17, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
girls in physics

Does your high school student take physics? If you’re the parent of a son, you are more likely than a parent of a daughter to answer “yes.” Approximately 30% of all high-school students across the United States enroll in a physics class. 31% of boys, but only 26% of girls take at least one year of physics, a trend that has endured for the past 30 years. The U.S. Department of Education’s 2012 “Gender Equity in Education” report documents the shrinking gender gap in many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subjects such as biology, chemistry, and math. The gender gap ...

Posted Sept. 5, 2014, 10 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Take a Fresh Look at Trade Careers

Four years of a college education is one path to a productive and fulfilling life. But not the only one. Numerous trade professions today offer gratifying and lucrative careers. Nonetheless, many well intentioned parents, as well as teens themselves, believe white-collar work is the surest route to success. Approach Education and Career Planning with an Open Mind It’s time to broaden perspectives, to think beyond the repetitive and tedious work of the Industrial Revolution’s assembly line to the creativity and skill mastery required for 21st century technology-driven manufacturing. It’s critical to think about the indispensable value to society of local ...

Posted June 28, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Planning a Productive Summer for Teens with Asperger’s Syndrome

Every teen needs a break during the summer from the routine and the stress of middle or high school. But for teens with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), the need is even more intense. During the school year, a child with AS must attend to two curricula: the academic and the social. It’s exhausting and mastering the social curricula requires continual effort. By the time school ends and summer starts, teens with AS often feel depleted. Schedule Structured and Unstructured Time According to Brenda Dater, Director of Child and Teen Services at Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE), determining the best mix ...

Posted June 26, 2014, 10 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Teens with Asperger’s Syndrome and Driving

To drive or not to drive is not the only question parents of children with Asperger’s Syndrome should ask themselves and their sons and daughters. The issue is more complex than a simple “yes” or “no” consideration. How can you be certain that driving is a safe option? Is driving under specific circumstances, such as only with another adult or for short distances, a good alternative? When is the right time to learn? Who is the best teacher? These are just a few of the topics parents and children must discuss. Driving with Asperger’s Syndrome Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) is a ...

Posted June 25, 2014, 10 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Selecting the Best Colleges For Your Teen with Asperger’s

If you are listening to the college chatter going on among parents of high school students, stop. Let go of what schools your friends’ kids and neighbors’ kids are applying to. Let go of your preconceived notions of which are good colleges and which are not. Let go of dreams about a second generation at your alma mater. What’s best for your child is likely not what’s best for others, whether they have Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) or not. Focus on Fit Fit is the most important attribute to look for when searching for colleges for your child to apply to ...

Posted June 22, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Assessing College-Readiness for Teens with Asperger’s Syndrome

Is your high school teen ready for college? Determining the answer warrants serious deliberation. No parent wants to put his or her child in a situation that is destined for failure. College-Readiness for Teens with Asperger’s Brenda Dater, Director of Child and Teen Services at Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE), identifies two key attributes that signal readiness: self-awareness and self-advocacy. She offers the following questions to help you and your teen figure out your child’s degree of readiness and, equally important, identify developmental priorities for getting ready. Self-awareness: Does your child have a realistic view of his/her strengths as ...

Posted June 21, 2014, 10 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Parenting Without Panic: Practical Advice  for Parents of Teens with Asperger’s

After virtually every support group, Brenda Dater—Director of Child and Teen Services at Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE)—led with the parents of teens with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), mothers and fathers clamored for more information and written references. It’s not surprising. Families are wrestling with weighty issues such as managing chronic stress, determining what information is best to share, and striking the right balance between stretching and supporting their child. And so has Brenda. Her 18-year-old son has AS. Parenting Without Panic To ease parents’ most pressing concerns, Brenda decided to include information in a book, calling upon her professional ...

Posted June 5, 2014, 10:22 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
David McCullough, Jr. Says “You’re Not Special” Is an Encouragement

On a sunny afternoon in June, high school English teacher David McCullough Jr. delivered the 2012 high school commencement address to the graduating seniors of Wellesley, Massachusetts, a suburb west of Boston. "You Are Not Special" McCullough intended his fond farewell to be uplifting words of advice. Much to his surprise, his speech turned into a worldwide social media sensation dubbed, “You Are Not Special”—hardly the sound bite McCullough intended to deliver. His heartfelt goal was to inspire graduates to believe that they all could make their lives matter if they chose to do something special with their talents and ...

Posted May 20, 2014, 11:28 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Teenage Boys and Eating Disorders

Many people consider eating disorders to be a female illness. Unfortunately, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and other eating disorders know no gender boundaries. Although the disorders are more prevalent in females than males, both sexes suffer from this serious mental illness that carries with it the highest mortality rate. Men, including teenage boys, are not exempt from eating disorders According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 10 million males in the United States will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some point in their life, 33 percent of adolescent males use unhealthy weight control behaviors, and up ...

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