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 March 25, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Mother-Daughter Book Group

When my daughter was in 9th grade, she and I were invited to join a long-standing mother-daughter book group that began in elementary school. I’ve heard that when the girls were young, they loved reading the selected books, preparing questions, answering questions, socializing, and eating dinner together in a big group. Book Group By the time we had joined the group, the girls’ homework load prohibited us from reading books except during school vacations and summers. Instead, we read a thought-provoking article or two about every six weeks. The girls typically race through the articles an hour or so before ...

Posted March 24, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Pay it Forward

When someone does a good deed for you, express your gratitude by doing something nice for someone else. That’s the essence of “pay it forward,” a term you often hear in casual conversation. It’s not new. Who knew that this popular concept has its roots in a play from ancient Athens, the exact words from a book in 1916, and was popularized in another book in 1951? Here is the excerpt from the 1951 title Between Planets by Robert A. Heinlein: The banker reached in the folds of his gown, pulled out a single credit note. “But eat first – ...

Posted March 23, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Community Service Inspires Teens

It’s easy to see why some teens and adults feel stymied by the overwhelming array of problems that exist in our world today. Pollution. Homelessness. Hunger. Terrorism. Animal abuse. Lack of quality education for all. Racism. Sexism. Depression. Teen suicide. Unfortunately, the list goes on and on. But, it’s just as easy to be inspired by acts of kindness and heroism to do your part -– no matter how small -– to make the world a better place. Every good deed counts. Any high school community service work done from the heart is worthy. // Why commit to community service? ...

Posted March 22, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Challenges of Being an Introverted Teen

In high school, Alex MacNair created a public service announcement titled “What is an Introvert?” to explain how it feels to be an introvert in a society that he believes values extroverts. Given Alex’s description of himself on his website, it’s safe to assume Alex is an introvert. He explains, “I love learning about technology and utilizing it to express myself creatively. I enjoy programming, special effects, filmmaking, web design, photography, and graphic design...On a given day, you might find me in the woods taking photos, filming a video around town, or at home on the computer working on a ...

Posted March 21, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Supporting Teens with ADHD

As parents, we likely sense what statistics confirm. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is on the rise. According to data reported in The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 received an ADHD diagnosis in 2011 and 69 percent of these 6.4 million youth took medication to treat ADHD. These figures represent approximately 2 million more children with ADHD than the number reported in 2003. Many teens do NOT outgrow ADHD. According to WebMD, most people who are diagnosed with ADHD as children still struggle with it as teens. ...

Posted March 20, 2014, 11:28 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Teens and Current Events

Mass stabbings at train station in Southwest China carried out by separatist militants. Town override passes to fund construction of new public high school. Syrian refugee children deprived of an education. Lobbyists push to require labeling of genetically engineered food. Russia sends more troops into Crimea. Massachusetts bans food wastes from landfills. 6,000 children die daily due to lack of clean water. The headlines come at us fast and furiously – over the web, Twitter, Facebook, radio, and television; in newspapers, and magazines. With so many inputs daily, it’s not surprising that some of us tune out the majority of ...

Posted March 20, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Driven to Distraction

Beyond the popular refrain, “Don’t drink and drive,” parents should include many more appeals to their sons and daughters as they grab the car keys and head out the door—“don’t dial and drive,” “don’t text and drive,” “don’t reach for the phone and drive,” and “don’t eat and drive.” Dialing, texting, and eating put young drivers at risk. According to an article published in the January 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a novice driver who calls a number on a cell phone while driving increases the risk of an accident by more than 800 percent. Reaching ...

Posted March 19, 2014, 2 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Teens Need More Sleep

I was just speaking to a twenty-something graphic designer about setting up a meeting and was taken aback when he replied, “I am not a morning person. Could we meet after 10:30 am?” He readily admitted that he while he has been out of college and graduate school for a few years, he is still on the “work until the wee hours of the night and sleep in late” schedule. No 9:00 to 5:00 corporate schedule for this young business owner. Our conversation segued into how backwards it seems for high school to start before elementary school when younger kids ...

Posted March 17, 2014, 2:16 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Help Your Teen Find a Career

When my daughter Emma was eight years old, she participated in her first gymnastics competition. Her maiden event was her floor routine. Like a pro, she saluted to the judges and waited for her music to come on. But when the music started, she stood there like a deer in the headlights. She had forgotten her entire routine. Elementary School: Olympic Gymnast After an inauspicious start, Emma somehow held it together throughout all the following events—beam, vault, and the uneven bars—but as soon as she got in the car, she broke down in tears, gasping and choking out a question ...

Posted March 17, 2014, 2:02 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Play Hockey Like a Girl

I was watching a segment on the Winter Olympics about the intense rivalry between the United States and Canadian women’s hockey teams. After replays of very physical play--complete with bumping and shoving and brawls from previous games, as well as fighting words of teammates from both countries--a cameraperson panned to a fan in the audience holding a sign, “Play Like a Girl.” No, the fan was not asking the women to play daintily. Quite the opposite. With hockey considered one of the more traditionally male sports, this fan was trying to break the stereotype. Breaking New Ground Today even less ...

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