TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Author: Kristen Licciardi

Kristen Licciardi-profile-picture

Kristen Licciardi is a freelance writer living in New Jersey and a mother of three boys. She started her career in the editorial department of Glamour and spent many years in marketing positions at magazines including Redbook, U.S. News &World Report and Time. She made the leap into the digital world, working most recently at Slate and Washington Post Digital.

Posted Sept. 2, 2014, 10:45 a.m. by Kristen Licciardi | View Comments
Digital Parenting: 5 Ways to Mentor and Monitor Your Teen Online

When it comes to mobile devices we’re all newbies. Consider this: Apple launched the iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007, and the iPad in 2010. In a short time, mobile devices have multiplied and become ingrained in our daily lives—to the point where it’s hard to remember life pre-smartphone. It’s no surprise that teens have embraced mobile devices with gusto. A recent Pew Research Study on teens and technology confirms that smartphone usage is at an all-time high: 37 percent of all teens have a smartphone, and three out of four teens are mobile Internet users. Our kids are ...

Posted June 7, 2014, 11 a.m. by Kristen Licciardi | View Comments
The Hot New Major: Entrepreneurship

Is it any wonder that entrepreneurship has become a hot topic on college campuses? Americans are fascinated by Internet success stories like Mark Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook fresh out of college. Business-themed reality TV shows like Shark Tank prove that we can’t get enough of real-life entrepreneurs striking it big. And now teens want a piece of the action: tech-savvy high schoolers are designing mobile Apps and striking deals with Apple, according to a recent New York Times article. Suddenly, it seems, everyone wants to be part of the startup scene. Entrepreneurship in College It’s not surprising, then, that college ...

Posted May 13, 2014, 11 a.m. by Kristen Licciardi | View Comments
Teen Vaping Update: FDA's New Rules Don't Go Far Enough

The FDA recently issued a long-overdue proposal to regulate the $2 billion-a-year e-cigarette industry—but the proposal doesn't go far enough to protect children, many public health advocates say. As my recent blog post detailed, e-cigarettes and their flashy cousins, vaping pens, have skyrocketed in popularity among teens in the past few years, yet until now there has been no federal oversight of the industry. What's the takeaway from the FDA report? Among the proposed rules: E-cigarette sales to children under 18 will be prohibited, as will all vending machine sales except in adult-only facilities. E-cigarette companies will have to register ...

Posted March 27, 2014, 1:26 p.m. by Kristen Licciardi | View Comments
Is Your Teen Vaping? The Dangers of E-Cigarettes

Parents, have you heard of vaping? It's such a new word that every time I type it, the autocorrect feature on my MacBook changes it to "gaping." If you haven't heard of vaping, read on, because this explosive trend is catching on with teens right under the noses of unsuspecting adults. Vaping is the trendy term for using an electronic cigarette. Here's a quick overview for clueless parents and nonsmokers like me: Instead of inhaling smoke, users inhale vapor from their e-cigarette cartridge. E-cigarettes contain liquid nicotine and flavoring to make the vapor more appealing. This liquid (also called vape ...

Posted March 20, 2014, 11 a.m. by Kristen Licciardi | View Comments
Athletic Recruiting

Getting into college is not as simple as it used to be. To stand out in a field of star students, college applicants are expected to shine in the classroom and beyond. Not surprisingly, athletics are taking a more prominent role on the well-rounded student resume. ESPN’s recent study on youth and competitive sports notes that overall, high schools are expanding athletic opportunities for students. Club teams are proliferating, too, separately from school programs. In certain sports like soccer, teens are increasingly foregoing high school teams altogether to play exclusively for clubs—a development that is impacting high school athletic programs ...

Posted March 8, 2014, 2 p.m. by Kristen Licciardi | View Comments
What You Need to Know About 529 Plans

“How will we EVER afford college?” For most parents, this question can cause overwhelming anxiety as their children reach the teen years. Paying for college can feel like an insurmountable task on par with climbing Mt. Everest. Parents are right to worry: Tuition costs and fees at public universities tripled over the past 30 years when adjusted for inflation, according to the College Board’s annual report on college pricing. As higher education costs take a bigger bite out of our paychecks, families are turning to 529 plans to jump-start their college savings. There are now more than 11 million 529 ...

Posted March 3, 2014, 11:22 a.m. by Kristen Licciardi | View Comments
Talented Teen Mikaela Shiffrin

The 2014 Winter Olympics may be over, but Americans can't get enough of 18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin. The breakout star of the Sochi Games graces the March 3, 2014, cover of Sports Illustrated, and her picture already appears on the Wheaties box, says Sports Business Daily. In case you missed it: Shiffrin won Olympic Gold in the women's slalom last Friday, becoming the youngest Alpine medalist in U.S. history and the youngest-ever winner—male or female—of any Olympic slalom. Shiffrin's victory wasn't a fluke; entering the Olympics, the teenage phenom was the No.1 ranked women’s slalom skier in the world. The so-so ...

Posted Jan. 30, 2014, 11:57 a.m. by Kristen Licciardi | View Comments
Allowance and Chores: How to Up the Ante

I admit it: getting my three sons to do household chores is, well, too much of a chore for me. Like most parents, my mind is going in a million different directions as I move through another harried day. At any given moment, I'm trying to answer the following questions, usually simultaneously: "Who am I carpooling with for tonight's basketball practice? What time is Leo's winter cello concert? Did I pay the mortgage yet? How am I going to finish my writing assignment and get dinner started? Will I make it home before the dog pees on the oriental rug ...

Posted Jan. 17, 2014, 3:40 p.m. by Kristen Licciardi | View Comments
How to Avoid Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry is a pertinent issue for children, teens and parents alike. Luckily, there are ways to combat this ongoing competition between siblings! Sibling Rivalry: Turning a Negative into a Positive "Mom, why do you pay more attention to HIM than ME?" This was the question posed by my youngest--and most outspoken--son, Daniel. I was interrogated in my very own kitchen, while cooking meatballs. Caught red-handed as I gave a much-needed hug to Daniel's older brother, Gregory, a middle schooler fretting over his homework. "Mom, do you love him more than me?!" Daniel persisted. He's never been one to mince ...