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 9, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, better known by the acronym ROTC (often pronounced Rot-see), is a college-based program for training commissioned officers for all branches of the U.S. Military—Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. In return for a commitment of military service upon graduation, ROTC funds all or part of college tuition, depending on the type of commission and scholarship contract a student signs, and provides an opportunity for students to develop leadership skills critical for both a military and a civilian career. Don’t let the term “reserve” confuse you. ROTC trains officers for active duty, which ...

Posted Feb. 26, 2014, 9:57 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Eating Disorders Awareness Week

The week of February 23rd is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week – a time to educate ourselves on the pervasive, growing, and serious health issue facing families each and every day of the year. The sponsor of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), is a major advocacy organization in the U.S. working to support individuals and families affected by eating disorders. Their goal is to focus on prevention, assist with better access to treatment, and advocate for broader and increased research to take care of those with eating disorders. NEDA estimates that 30 million Americans will be ...

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. 14, 2014, 11 a.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
High School Cupids

It’s rare to get a first-hand glimpse into our teens’ private lives, especially when it comes to romance. Typical questions from parents such as “Is she your girlfriend?” and “Do you just hang out in a group?” are most often answered with eye rolls and sighs. Given all the debate about teens choosing indifferent “hook ups” over caring relationships, parents should rest assured that high school students still enjoy a little good old fashioned romance on Valentine’s Day. Singing Valentines Think beyond traditional cards, flowers, and chocolates. Think beyond poems and candlelight dinners. At many high schools, vocal groups offer ...

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, 3:17 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Demystifying Common Core Standards

If you have heard the term “Common Core” but not sure what it means, then read on. According to the official website, “The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.” In other words, the main goal of the Common Core Standards is to simplify and systematize American elementary and ...

Posted Jan. 30, 2014, 3:06 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
The Importance of Respect in Teenage Sexuality

By the time a boy crosses the threshold into his teen years he undoubtedly has participated in sex education classes at school and maybe also at his house of worship. Likely a parent has sequestered him on a long car ride for the proverbial “birds and bees talk.” And it’s probable that a couple of coming-of-age books have been lovingly placed on his bookshelf in hopes that at least one will be cracked open in the privacy of his room. No matter a parent’s perspective on sensitive topics such as sexual orientation and pre-marital sex, virtually all want their sons ...

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