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 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 ...

Posted Jan. 17, 2014, 12:01 p.m. by Elizabeth Suneby | View Comments
Public Vs. Private High School: One Family's Perspective

My son recently graduated from a high-quality private high school and my daughter is in 12th grade at a high-quality public one. My son prospered at private school, while my daughter would not change her educational experience at public school. I have an inside view of both worlds. Rather than provide my perspective on the pros and cons of each educational option, I am sharing the astute insights my daughter offered when she lobbied to stay in public school. Here’s a recap of our conversation with my points and her counterpoints: Just think, in private school you’ll get: Intellectual and ...

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