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 Feb. 15, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Start Saving Coupons NOW for Dorm Room Essentials

Even if your children are in middle school, it is not too early to start saving those “Bed Bath & Beyond” (BB&B) coupons for when it’s time to outfit their college dorm room. Despite the mouse type that states otherwise, BB&B coupons never expire. And yes, despite believing your children will never be old enough to go off to college, your kids will fly the coop sooner than you can imagine. Dorm Room Essentials It is amazing how many items on the college dorm room checklist you can find in one store – whether you shop at BB&B or Target ...

Posted Feb. 12, 2014, 11:12 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Understanding Diversity in Asperger's Syndrome

I recently had the opportunity to hear an eye-opening speech by Aaron Levinger, a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) who was diagnosed in middle school and speaks to school audiences about his experience. While most of us have heard of Asperger’s, many are unsure of what exactly defines AS. Asperger’s Syndrome is a neurological disorder on the autism spectrum that affects many areas of development. Symptoms vary and range in intensity but often include difficulties with social communication, sensory sensitivities, poor motor coordination, and intense interest in and knowledge of certain – andsometimes unusual – subjects. When You've Met ...

Posted Feb. 11, 2014, 12:50 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
STEAM Doodle 4 Google Competition

Recognizing the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) for a prosperous future, both leaders in industry and academia encourage students to pursue studies and careers in these disciplines. Many educators and businesses, including Google, also appreciate the integral role of art and design in driving innovation. For them, STEM plus Art = STEAM. Doodle 4 Google Google will support their belief in STEAM with the 2014 Doodle 4 Google competition, enticing us with the line, “If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place…” on the homepage of their search engine. The competition’s description ...

Posted Feb. 10, 2014, 4:41 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
The Reality of Teen Athletes

My son attended an all boys’ elementary/middle school. I’ll never forget a parent meeting one evening at which fathers and mothers were all exercised about the school’s sports teams’ official rules of participation. I don’t remember the exact details, but I do remember emotions escalating in the room until the school psychologist stood up and proclaimed, “In the 100 year history of our school, not one graduate has gone on to be a professional athlete.” The psychologist was providing perspective, which is often lost these days when it comes to student athletes. A miniscule percentage of high school athletes will ...

Posted Jan. 30, 2014, 3:22 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Mother-Daughter Bonding: Time Well Spent

As girls advance through the teen years their relationships with friends typically eclipse relationships with parents. Although many mothers realize separation is part of a normal developmental stage that they went through themselves, it’s not always easy for moms to readjust to “the new normal.” In an article in Psychology Today, The Challenge of Mothering an Adolescent Daughter, Dr. Carl Pickhardt explains the reasons for the change: Over the course of adolescence, issues of ‘attachment versus separation' and issues of ‘similarity versus differentiation' are contested by the young person to establish independence and individuality. So for independence, the adolescent wants ...

Posted Jan. 30, 2014, 2:58 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
The Best of the Grammys

My daughter and I watched the 2014 Grammys together. While a friend aptly labeled the performance, “Too much of a good thing,” we: Were mesmerized by the glam and glitter. Loved many pairings of old and new, like Carol King and Sara Bareilles. Cheered for Lorde and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Gasped at Beyonce’s outfit and post-baby body. Giggled at Pharrell’s hats. Marveled at Pink’s acrobatics. Coveted Taylor Swift’s dresses. But you’ll never guess what grabbed us above all else. The advertisement for Microsoft’s search engine, Bing: “Celebrating the Women of 2013.” I am happy to report that my daughter ...

Posted Jan. 30, 2014, 2:52 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
How to Avoid the College Application Frenzy

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, freshman enrollment in degree-granting institutions increased by 48 percent form 1995 to 2009 and is projected to grow 11 percent between 2009 and 2020. With more college applicants vying for a relatively static supply of freshman slots, it’s no wonder that high school students and their parents have a hard time avoiding the college application frenzy. But it can be done. Here are ten ways: Recognize that colleges want what they don’t have. For example, colleges in New England have lots of applicants from New England. So, wherever you live, consider schools ...

Posted Jan. 30, 2014, 2:50 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
How to Achieve Real Happiness

As parents, we want our children to be happy for their sake and for ours. In fact, we all live the adage, “You’re only as happy as your least happy child.” But as the title of a January 9, 2013 article in The Atlantic warns, “There’s More to Life than Being Happy.” The writer opens her editorial with a powerful quote from Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, who says, "It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness," to communicate that people who have meaning in their lives are the most resilient, and are able to rise above even the ...

Posted Jan. 17, 2014, 12:28 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Using Pigtails to Stand Up Against Bullying

High school student Maisie Kate Miller from Marblehead, Massachusetts was teased for wearing pigtails. “Who wears pigtails still? What is this, kindergarten?” mocked the bully as she passed Maisie in the hallway. The taunt came during a difficult week for Maisie, which is one of the reasons she broke down in tears, as explained to the Washington Post. Unfortunately, this was not the first time Maisie was bullied. But despite the pain, tears and anger, the pigtail bully persuaded her to do something about it. Using social media, Maisie asked her school community to stand up against bullying by wearing ...

Posted Jan. 17, 2014, 12:16 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Handling College Rejections: A Role Reversal

My daughter applied Early Decision (ED) to her dream college. She was flat out rejected. I was incensed that the school turned her away. She had the grades. She had the scores. She had substantial extracurricular activities. And she is a really nice kid. But that didn’t matter. Yes, I know that college admission is a numbers game, and that there are far too many qualified candidates vying for every precious spot at top colleges and universities. I knew that only 19 percent of the applicants to my daughter’s ED college were admitted the year prior. But when those statistics ...

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