Everyone experiences stress, and each person deals with it in his or her own way. But does your tween know how to handle the stresses of life?
Stress is how the body responds to
outside factors. This can be any kind of decision your body has to make.
We often think of stress as the way we feel when our boss hands us a large number of tasks to get done in a short period of time, or when we have to get our house cleaned before guests arrive. It’s overwhelming, frustrating, and overall exhausting.
So how does your tween deal with the stress in their lives?
Homework. Tests. Maintaining
relationships. Any kind of pressures.
They feel it, too. So it’s
important to talk with your tween to make sure they have healthy coping
mechanisms for tough times.
Here are some ways to help your tween manage stress.
Understand how their bodies react to stress.
This could be increased heart rate,
inability to focus, difficulty sleeping, etc. These factors can be extremely
counterproductive to dealing with whatever is causing the stress in the first
place. Knowing the signs of stress on the body ahead of time can help them
process the situation.
Help them know what is in their control and what isn’t.
Putting off that paper until the last minute will only lead to a stressful night, but planning to get it done ahead of the due date will provide time to go over it again and not worry. Free time is necessary to relax so the body can deal with conflict when it arises. If your tween can control what’s in their schedule, evaluate with them whether they are taking on more activities than they can handle.
Practice positive talk.
Stress can lead to negative self-talk, such as talking down to oneself and telling yourself you aren’t good enough. It leads to convincing yourself you aren’t capable of finishing it and can hinder your productivity for a decent amount of time. If this seems like a lot for an adult, think of how it is for a tween.
Find a relaxing activity.
One thing I’ve learned from my mom is that exercising and getting fresh air helps me get out of my head and get back to rational thinking. When I would get overwhelmed with work or overthink a situation, she would go on a walk around the block with me and talk things out. I could get out of my room and into a new environment, and it always left me in a better state of mind to take on my problem. You could try activities like exercising, meditation, listening to music, stepping away from the cause of stress for a little, taking deep breaths, etc.
One thing to remember is that the biggest way your tween learns how to handle difficult situations is by watching you.
So what do you do? Curse at it and
yell? Or problem solve in a calm manner?
Maybe you’ve heard of an “influencer” – the newest big thing in advertising. It’s all the rage right now.
It starts with an average person (or celebrity) who has an opinion. They build a following, and finally, brands jump on board and pay them either with cash or free product to promote the brand’s products.
There are influencers in beauty, fashion, fitness, gaming and more. It’s a marketing strategy that’s becoming widely successful. And you should know about it.
Where are influencers
Instagram is the most popular platform for influencers. Just scroll through your ‘Explore Page’ on Instagram to find numerous influencers you might like. But influencers are on other social media platforms, too. YouTube is a popular place, and so is Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter.
Popular (adult) influencers
Influencers often are celebrities. This make sense. Its
easier for them to get a large following. In general, more views = more
business. Kylie Jenner is the highest paid celebrity influencer. She earns $1
million per sponsored Instagram post. Selena Gomez receives $800,000 per post
and Christiano Ronaldo earns $750,000. Kim Kardashian West, Beyoncé, Dwayne
“The Rock” Johnson, and many more make millions from sponsored posts.
But many top influencers are not househould names. For exampe, here are a few of 2018’s top influencers:
Founder of Huda Beauty
24.3 million Instagram followers
2.2 million YouTube subscribers
Actor in “Expelled,” “The Outfield,” &
Well-known for his Instagram content
20.7 million Instagram followers
3.8 million Facebook followers
Male spokesperson for beauty
Covergirl’s first male spokesmodel
2.1 million Instagram followers
15.9 million YouTube subscribers
HGTV’s Fixer Upper host
Magnolia Homes, renovation business, owner with
Instagram reflects her work and personal life
4.8 million Instagram followers
There’s no doubt celebrities and influencers are having an effect on America’s youth. A company called Mintel (link) has reported that one third of kids aged 6-17 consider their top role models to be social media stars, i.e. influencers. This outranks actors, athletes, musicians and even the President.
Also, for kids, YouTube is the second most common source of information about new entertainment and toys, behind only TV commercials. This is not really a surprise. The current generation of youngsters already represent buying power of over $44 billion (link) with an additional $600 billion of family-spending also influenced by this generation.
Is there a problem here?
Maybe. Many parents don’t know that the FCC regulates TV content for children. However, they don’t have a say over Internet content. For example, there have been long standing rules about how much time in each TV show can show commercials, whether a TV show can show a product (called “product placement”), and if there was any compensation for that product placement. The regulators and protectors of children have long had their eye on TV.
But that’s not the case with social media and Internet influencers. Regulators are only now beginning to ask: “Should there be a visible disclaimer if a social media personality is being paid to endorse a product? Should there be restrictions on how much ‘content’ is pure advertising? Should there be quality checks on content for effects on health and safety?”
But you’re probably saying: “But really, what’s the big deal? It’s just stuff my kid watches to entertain themselves? Is it really having any impact?”
“Yes” is the short answer. Though this is so new not many studies are out yet, one study did find that influencers can change what your child eats. (link)
And the Bloomberg news service recently had a panel discussion on how YouTube’s children-focused channels actually have a lot of paid advertising disguised as content.
Do you need to panic? We don’t yet think so. But it is a good idea to monitor closely what your child is consuming on social media. And to find out who they follow and why they follow them.
Be aware that your kid is marketed to just as heavily as every other target demographic. Companies want their business. Meanwhile, Internet regulations with regard to children are not nearly as sophisticated and ingrained as TV rules, so it’s a bit more “user beware” out there.
And don’t forget – they don’t call them “influencers” because they have NO effect on your kid – or the bottom line of the company…
Everyone likes a good challenge, your kids included. When a dare is involved, kids have no choice but to step up to whatever challenge they’ve just been confronted with – innocent, funny or extremely dangerous.
2018 brought more dangerous ones
than anything else. Here are the top 3 and the lessons they’ve taught parents
The Drake “In My Feelings” Challenge
The “In My Feelings” Challenge had kids walking along the passenger side of a car dancing the choreographed steps to the Drake song. Most times, the car was rolling along with no help from acceleration, so the speed was close to nothing. While it could have been mostly harmless if kids chose to do the challenge in an empty cul-de-sac or a quiet street, many accepted the challenge at stop lights and on regular-traffic, two-lane roads. (link1 and link2)
Putting themselves in the way of passing cars
Not slowing the car enough and injuring
themselves getting out
Any challenge involving a car is mostly dangerous, especially when the passengers/drivers are barely legal or not legal to drive the vehicle.
Tide Pod Challenge
This challenge needs little explanation at this point. Earlier in 2017-18, kids decided to start eating Tide Pods. Toxic laundry detergent. It’s not necessarily new that kids ingest things they shouldn’t. But the U.S. poison control centers had 10,000 calls because of the pods in 2017 alone. (link)
I confess, when I was in middle school/high school, many kids were eating mouthfuls of cinnamon and choking when their mouths got too dry. They also tried the “Chubby Bunny” challenge. They stuffed their mouths as full as they could with marshmallows. Many people ended up choking or throwing up.
Using a poisonous substance
Using items for something other than their
Even though your tweens are growing up and you don’t think you have to remind them not to eat unsafe items…
…remind them not to eat unsafe items.
This is when the subject sits on the ground, motioning like they’re shifting gear in a car, and a second person pulls their legs, so they speed away out of the frame. (link1 and link2)
Pulling the subject so hard they smack their
head off the ground
It looked harmless on the surface, but having
someone else in control of your body will likely result in injury at some point
2019 is looking a little more
promising when it comes to challenges.
So far, we’ve seen the “What the
Fluff” Challenge, confusing dogs by “disappearing” behind a blanket; the “Snoot”
challenge, making a hole with your fingers and having dogs stick their noses in
it; and the “Trash Tag” challenge, encouraging people to take before and after
pictures of an area of nature filled with trash and cleaning it up.
The moral of the story is not all challenges are bad, but analyze the challenges you see popping up on your social media and ask yourself (a) would my kid try this, and (b) do I want them trying this.
But remember, many times your kid will see a new viral challenge before you do. Encourage them to practice commons sense and think about the consequences of their actions.
For a little bit more from us on pop culture and social media, try…
It’s always important that you keep
up with the latest “technology” trends. Particularly if they might pose a risk
to you and your family. A Twitter thread that recently went viral was posted by
SaraSuze (@tragedythyme). It was a reminder about using apps to meet up with
Luckily, the tweet did not tell of an attack, but it did go viral. Probably because many women want men to know it isn’t as easy for them to do something that most men don’t worry about – like meeting a stranger to buy, sell or trade something.
Sara was using the app LetGo. It’s a very popular app. Currently #26 on the Apple App Store. Many similar apps are also popular, like Offer Up, Vinted, and DeClutter.
It’s true that these apps are slowly phasing out traditional trading sites like eBay or Craiglist. And no one really thinks the younger generation is going to be reading the classified ads (if newspapers still exist). So it’s likely your kid will eventually use one of these apps.
On the positive side, the apps are
easy to navigate, and many have filters that make them a more convenient buying
and selling experience. But it is still
the case you don’t necessarily know who you’re communicating with. Fortunately,
I’ve had mostly good experiences.
For example, I’ve also used LetGo. It
is a basic buying and selling app. Users post items for sale, communicate with
potential customers, and hopefully sell the item once you meet up in person.
The biggest con many might experience with the app is that you can’t pay within
the app, so sometimes closing the deal can be a drag.
I bought a Long Board once using
the app, and it was as easy as showing up at a lady’s door, handing the woman
$25, and taking the board home.
I’ve also used Facebook’s Marketplace. Ironically, this might be one of the safer methods because you can easily check out the person’s profile before you meet with them. Of course, just because the person’s profile looks legit doesn’t mean it always is. There are some fake bot profiles that post items and vehicles that are too good to be true, in an attempt to scam you. But, I actually did buy my car off of Facebook Marketplace and it went surprisingly well. I got a reliable car for a great deal from an honest guy who was moving South with his family. But I’ve also had friends whose experiences did not go as well.
It doesn’t take much work to find a news story about a bad buying experience on one of these apps. Pooja St. Amand, of Middletown, Connecticut, told ABC News in a 2017 interview that she was robbed after attempting to sell an iPad. Although she took proper precautions by meeting the stranger in a populated community center parking lot, she still felt she was put in serious danger. (link)
I’ve also used OfferUP. It’s pretty much identical to LetGo, though
some say it has worse customer service. I used this app when I sold some old KC
Lights that go on top of a car. I had a good experience and the buyer came the
next day to pick them up for his Jeep Wrangler.
Some other apps I haven’t tried include Vinted, a sales app used for trading older clothing and other vintage items specifically, and, Declutter, an online yard sale. There’s also thredUp, a newer app for selling secondhand clothing.
Tips to stay safe when buying and selling online
Although all of my online buying and selling experiences were OK, they did get me thinking after I read @tragedythyme’s tweet. What if they hadn’t? And what if I was smaller, or a woman, or teen? I was a guy, over 18 years old, and I did take a few precautions.
So after a little bit of research I discovered these tips for using buy/sell/trade apps:
Call your local police department to find a safe meet-up spot.
People used to say to meet a stranger in a public space, such as the parking lot of a McDonalds. It used to be just make sure there is enough light so you are visible.
But because of recent stories of assaults and robberies during meet-ups even in public areas, some local police departments have set up designated safe meet-up spots. Most of them are located in the parking lot of the police station. I agree – that should work.
Bring a friend.
Whether you’re the buyer or the
seller, it’s always good to be on the safe side and make sure you or your kids are
not meeting a stranger alone. The more the merrier, I think.
Use your phone.
That might feel obvious, but it bears repeating – always have your phone. And maybe make sure other people know you are making a transaction. Share your location with your friend, spouse or family member. And keep “location tracking” turned on. To learn how to enable this on your iOS device or Android, click here.
Use cash and avoid giving out personal information.
I discovered you should only bring
the agreed upon amount of cash. And while it’s always nice to meet a friendly
face, don’t let your guard down. Also, avoid giving up crucial personal
information, such as your address, bank information, occupation or social
Trust your gut.
At the end of the day, you have to
listen to that little voice inside your head. Be aware of your surroundings and
leave if things somehow begin to go south. No amount of money is worth your
safety and well-being.
Will this danger get worse in the future?
As time goes on, it seems likely the dangers of meeting strangers with buy/sell/trade apps will only grow. For example, very recently, three LetGo-related attacks occurred in a small Delaware community (link )
Most of these occurred while people were buying or selling a smartphone. The attackers took the victims’ cellphones and wallets. One victim was even injured.
So, at the end of the day, YOU and YOUR KIDS need to be careful with these apps. You have to be sure to set a good example. And be aware of your kids online behavior. Are they going to start buying and selling things online? You’ll want to know.
For some of our other blogs on your kid’s technology, try:
In a world full of negativity, it can be hard sometimes to spot the positive. Media companies purposefully hype up the bad news because it gives them more customers (and therefore, more money through advertising). Why is that? Because, sadly, we want bad news. Numerous studies have confirmed it (for example, click here and here) and when a news site goes totally positive, it loses readership big time (click here).
But positive things are happening every day. Sometimes they happen slowly, so they don’t make great news stories. For example, CNN recently thought of a few great things that happened in 2018:
North and South Korea ended the Korean War.
The United States’ unemployment rate was the lowest it has been since 1969.
Women in Saudi Arabia were finally allowed to drive.
Researchers developed a 10-minute cancer test.
157 new species were discovered in Southeast Asia.
A record number of minority and gay athletes competed in the Olympics.
NASA’s Insight captured the first sounds of wind on Mars.
The Online World and
So, good things are happening. But what about the online world? Any parent knows that today’s kids are more plugged in than ever before. In fact, one estimate is that, because of smartphones and computer screens, 1 in 3 Internet users are now adolescents or children.
But maybe it’s not all bad (as a recent Huffington Post article declared). A really cool book that came out in Jan. 2019 (link at bottom) argues that several good things are happening because your kid can access the Internet:
Learning is possible anytime. As our own example, consider DuoLingo, a free app that allows anyone to learn a language on their phone 24/7. Dr. Lauber is currently using it to learn Spanish and he says he loves it. Your kid will have more opportunities to learn than any generation before. And online communities are forming around these platforms. This will allow your children to find friends who share their hobbies and interests.
Social media can help tweens strengthen their current relationships. Did you know that more than 90% of teens say they use social media to connect daily with people they know in real life? And that’s even true for gaming. More than 75% say they play with real friends and they feel more connected because of it. Teens say they are staying in close touch with their family members through the Internet. Again, our example? Dr. Lauber says he is hasfar better communication with this three kids, who have left the house, than he ever had with his own parents because of the Internet.
The Internet allows your child to participate in cultural
change and social movements. Did you know Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani
girl that got shot on a bus by the Taliban but went on to win the Nobel Peace
Prize in 2014, started at age 12 by blogging about girl’s rights in 2009? All
over the world young people’s voices are being heard because the Internet
allows that to happen.
Social media can also contribute to volunteering, voting, and donating. Many young people are civically engaged in their own neighborhoods and communities because of the power of social media. In fact, one 16-year-old created an app called “Sit with Us” to help kids find a group of students to eat lunch with so they would never again have to eat lunch alone.
Finally, creativity is also prospering through the Internet. Apps and software for writing, photography, videography, and more, are popular with tween and teens. They allow even the youngest to discover their expressive and creative side.
What can you do?
We think you can help your tween by focusing on the good happening in the world. And by remembering that technology is just a tool. It can be used for good or bad. Teach them appropriate use of each app or software they install. And role model good behavior. Maybe you can show them how to learn about volunteering opportunities in their own community. Or how to turn their passion for any social cause into progress and action by learning how to communicate and possibly mobilize their community.
In the end you have a far greater influence on your tween/teen than they are likely to admit. Keep it positive. Balance out all of that “bad news” media. And teach that an act of kindness really does go a long way. Even farther, in many ways, than the Internet.
For more good stuff like this, check out Diana Graber’s great book “Raising Humans in a Digital World”.
So, you may know the expression “going down the rabbit hole”. It means going into the unknown and perhaps having unique or disorienting experiences. It comes from Lewis Caroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”.
If your kid hasn’t already done this several
times with YouTube, they soon will.
For example, imagine checking on your child.
You’ve presumed their off playing with their toys or maybe their father. And
instead you find them watching another kid on YouTube play with his toys – and
perhaps his father.
Meet Ryan Toys Review. A 7-yr-old YouTube sensation with 18 million subscribers and an estimated net worth of $22 million.
Many of my
younger cousins and nephews, and even the children I nanny for, are glued to
their iPad or phone. Out of curiosity, I tend to peak at what they’re doing.
I’d say about nine times out of ten they are viewing YouTube videos. Though I
can’t lie and say I don’t enjoy watching YouTube videos also, I do find it mind
blowing the amount of YouTube and screen time these kids will spend in a day.
And I know Ryan
and his parent’s mean no harm by their successful YouTube Channel, it does get
you thinking. Why would a child enjoy watching someone ELSE play with toys
instead of just playing with toys THEMSELVES? I don’t have the perfect answer
to that. Maybe it takes less energy. Maybe it’s about discovery and they
already know about all of their own toys. I’m not sure.
But I did do a little research. Did you know kids between 0 and 5 only spend 50 minutes online but kids from 8 to 12 spend six hours a day? And it goes up to 9 hours a day for teenagers? (This comes from the website Common Sense Media .) Sure, this can be the time you get your household chores done, but in the end, are you allowing a YouTube obsession to get started in your kid?
And does it get better with age? Here’s a graph that shows over 25% of Americans visit YouTube several times a day. That’s a quarter of us!
So, what do you
want to do about it?
This is completely up to you. But I think the first step is NOT deleting the app or banning the computer. I hope instead you consider simply limiting screen time. Plus there are parental controls in most of these apps, including YouTube. One thing you can do, for example, is turn off or pause the search history. This will stop new videos from magically appearing once the current video is done. That blocks the rabbit hole. Or makes it less inviting.
I also think it’s important to sit down with your child and actually observe what they’re watching on YouTube. Many times it will be fine, though you may want to look out for videos that are essentially commercials. We all know that kids are a prime target audience for marketers and there are far less restrictions about what they can do on YouTube than they can put on TV, for example.
You may also want to subscribe for your child some educational channels. No harm in that, right?
And finally, why
not sit and talk with your child about what they find so fascinating about
their favorite YouTube videos? Maybe there’s a chance you could duplicate that
intrigue in some real world activity?
And wouldn’t that
be cool. Instead of art imitating life, you could figure out to get life to
imitate art. YouTube art that is.
Meanwhile, I’ve got to run now. Those kitten videos aren’t going to watch themselves!
Let me start by saying I’m not a fan of marijuana. If you are, then simply don’t read any further. You don’t need to get yourself upset. And I don’t need your angry posts and emails.
If you’re still here, there are a few points I want to make.
First, “yes” there is such a thing as marijuana addiction. If you’re above 30 yrs of age, perhaps you’ve known someone who’s become addicted to marijuana. They might have any of several symptoms. The two worst, I think, are occasional psychosis (losing touch with reality) and “amotivational” syndrome (not wanting to do anything). These effects have been documented extensively and are accepted by the medical community. A percentage of long-term marijuana (THC) users will get these, but not all users. At least not with the doses that have been researched. We simply don’t know yet what the more potent marijuana available today will do. (THC is the chemical in marijuana that gets you high. CBD is another chemical in marijuana that supposedly doesn’t get you high.)
Regular users can also find it hard to sleep without taking a “hit”. Sometimes they can’t eat without marijuana (THC). In these cases, the body has simply adapted to the outside chemical and expects (requires) the drug in order to function normally.
If you don’t think there is anything such as “marijuana addiction”, I suggest you check out these sources (NIDA and The Atlantic), or just call any doctor. By the way, the chance for dependence or addiction is much, much higher if you start as a teenager.
My second point is marijuana (THC) use is far more widespread than when I was a kid – and it was around a lot even back then. This is not the world you grew up in. Maybe you smoked marijuana back then. But things have changed drastically. Oh, and by “spread” I also mean “it is socially accepted”. May kids today don’t think there’s anything wrong with marijuana.
And what happens when teenagers do or do not think something is harmful? Below are two charts from a real, national survey called Monitoring the Future conducted every year. The graph on the left shows that as “perception of harm” from smoking goes up, actual smoking goes down.
The chart on the right shows that the same relationship exists for marijuana. When perception of harm goes up, smoking marijuana goes down. Except that, for some reason, around 1992, teens turned a corner and started perceiving marijuana as less harmful. Notice how marijuana use jumped up after that? (The two scales do not exactly match, by the way. Marijuana use is generally higher than cigarette smoking through all of these years!)
In my state (PA) we have a survey that students do every two years. Most schools participate. It’s called the Pennsylvania Youth Survey or PaYS. When I looked at that data, here is what I found…
This graph shows the percentage of 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th graders who self-reported using these substances sometime in their life. It shows, logically, that usage goes up from 6th to 12th grades. Marijuana use was relatively low, i.e. it was below cigarettes and about where smokeless tobacco was. However, I’m a little suspicious of this self-report data. Marijuana use might be under-reported because it is still illegal in PA, whereas the others are at least legal.
What surprised me about this graph was the height of the vaping bars. They are almost as tall as the alcohol lines. Recently I read that vaping has seen a 900% increase in teens in the last few years.
And then I recalled that my students have told me that you can vape THC. You can buy vape cartridges full of THC. They can be as much as 80%-90% THC. The marijuana you grew up, by the way, was between 1-10% THC.
They’ve also said you can put “dab” in a vaping device. Dab is a very pure form of marijuana (THC) that is in wax form. It will vaporize in the pen, I’m told. (Here is a bit more on dabbing.)
Now, I know the vape shops sell “flavored” juice in their vape cartridges. They also sell nicotine cartridges. (By the way, the amount of nicotine in vape cartridges can be scary high. But that’s for another day. I think we are making another generation addicted to nicotine.) My students tell me it is really easy to get cartridges with THC – even here in Pennsylvania where that is supposedly illegal.
And here’s another scary graph I found. When do kids start trying illegal substances?
This chart says by age 18 already 24% of students (nearly a quarter!) have already tried an illicit drug. Of course, that doesn’t jive with the PaYS data, where the numbers are even higher.
Ok. So, I don’t have a real answer for this. I think many kids are going to try this stuff and many are going to have a problem with it. My point is THC use is on the rise, and this may partly be because kids don’t see any harm in it.
Well, I can’t solve this, but at least I can sound the alarm. We’re not going to solve this overnight, parents. My message is simply “Stay vigilant! Do you want your teenager getting in to marijuana?”
(By the way, “marijuana” means “THC”. It’s the chemical that does the harm – even if your kid is no rolling a plant into a cigarette or smoking it in a bong.)
If you are a pro-marijuana or pro-vaping advocate, I know you’re all fired up to “set me straight”. But I’m simply trying to reach tween and teen parents. Maybe we need a more in-depth conversation about all this.
I don’t want my kids or ANY KIDS doing this stuff.
Have you updated your ideas about your kid’s careers? A lot has changed. Your child may not be old enough to be looking into colleges or jobs, but you need to know that the future is not necessarily like the past, and that includes the job market. Careers that were booming when you first started out are not the same careers your kids will choose. Some job opportunities have only recently been created. And the top majors at many universities and colleges are different than before.
For example, CNN partnered with CareerBuilder and recently listed the top 10 college majors of 2019 (found at onlinecourses.net ):
Other websites say healthcare and technology/business occupations are in high demand and that STEM careers are also booming. “STEM” means Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, by the way.
You’ll find the list a bit amusing, probably. Zuma instructor? But the graph does provide their average salary.
Offshore Wind Farm Engineer
Social Media Manager
Chief Listening Officer
Information Security Analyst
User Experience Designer
The Best Jobs for the
According to thebestschools.org/ the following careers are expected to grow significantly in the next decade, perhaps when your child will be searching for a job.
Solar Photovoltaic Installers
Projected Growth, 2016-2026: 105.30%
2026 Projected Total Employment: 23,200
Median Annual Wage 2016: $39,240
Wind Turbine Service Technicians
Projected Growth, 2016-2026: 96.10%
2026 Projected Total Employment: 11,300
Median Annual Wage 2016: $52,260
Home Health Aides
Projected Growth, 2016-2026: 46.7%
2026 Projected Total Employment: 1,337,000
Median Annual Wage 2016: $22,600
Personal Care Aides
Projected Growth, 2016-2026: 37.4%
2026 Projected Total Employment: 2,770,100
Median Annual Wage 2016: $21,920
Projected Growth, 2016-2026: 37.4%
2026 Projected Total Employment: 145,900
Median Annual Wage 2016: $101,480
They have 20 other future careers listed, check out their website for more. M
What You Can Do
As you look at these lists, don’t get alarmed. Simply do some research. Maybe put your earlier expectations aside and consider how you can let your child explore some of these new opportunities as they grow.
For example, one concern many career counselors express is that some kids never seem to consider jobs far from the “family tree”. This can limit their options. Your child has several years to try out different skills and likes. See how many different careers you can expose them to.
Because, just as reporter Samuel Clemens once said:
“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work
a day in your life.” – Mark Twain
Ever wonder what it’s like to be an eighth grader in today’s world? Let Bo Burnham show you. Usually known for his comedy and music, Burnham explores the crazy world of junior high in his 2018 film “Eighth Grade.”
Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher) is just
like any 13-year-old girl today. She’s self-conscious, lives on social media
and strives to be a YouTube blogger – which means she gives kids her age her
advice. But off camera, Kayla is crippled with anxiety. She can’t take any chances.
The movie follows her through the ups and downs of her last week of classes in
the eighth grade.
Kayla’s dad (Josh Hamilton) may be
a lot like you. He’s a single parent who loves his kid and would do anything
for her, but often finds himself out of touch with his daughter. He believes
she lives in a world where people are more disconnected from each other than
ever before. Throughout “Eighth Grade” Burnham paints a picture of eighth grade
as it is TODAY for American teenagers.
So, I’m a guy in my early twenties
– much closer to that age range than you, probably – and I can tell you the
accuracy of the movie is unreal. It has a
lot of good messages for both parents and teens. But through conversations with
others, I’ve been surprised by how many grown-ups don’t know half the stuff in
this movie. School-shooting drills,
Instagram, “finstas”, and Steph Curry jerseys, a lot has changed since you’ve
been in middle school. I think it has good information for any parent today,
and it provides it wrapped in good story-telling.
The movie talks about (shows)
themes like being yourself, putting yourself out there, discovering confidence and
growing up – all things every teen/tween deals with, but they are a different
challenge in today’s 24/7, hyper-connected world.
Fortunately, “Eighth Grade” also
reminds us that things do get better. At a high school shadowing program, Kayla
meets Olivia (Emily Robinson), who becomes the first person to really put her
arms around Kayla. It foreshadows that high school might just be a bit better
Maybe ironically, I found the music
in the movie really worked for me (you’ll hear what I mean when you watch it.) With
a run time of only an hour and 24 minutes, and a 99 percent critic score on
Rotten Tomatoes, this movie really is a must-watch, especially if you are a
parent of a teen or tween today.
“Eighth Grade” is available to
steam for free on Amazon Video if you are an Amazon Prime account holder. It’s
also available for rental in the iTunes and Google Play store.
Today, Americans spend an average of 32 hours per week listening to music. That means your kid listens to more than 69 days-worth of music per year.
Maybe they’re getting some benefits from music, like lowered stress, improved health, better rhythm. But every generation likes a new style of music – perhaps one (particularly one?) their parents don’t understand.
So what are kids listening to today?
Let me break it down for you.
A short while ago when I was in high school, every Friday morning I had more spring in my step because it was “New Music Friday”. I really looked forward to Friday because I love music and I couldn’t wait to hear new tracks.
You see, Friday is the day most artists release their new music. It’s also the day Apple Music and Spotify, the two most popular music streaming services, update their top charts.
I was able to start my day with new tunes by Maroon 5, Fall Out Boy, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, Thomas Rhett, Florida Georgia Line and many other great artists and groups. The music was relatable, and I felt motivated listening to those new tracks.
Over the years, since I’ve come to college, I’ve found it a bit more difficult to get out of bed on Fridays. I still use music to motivate me throughout the day, but I find myself reverting to the same music I’ve been listening to since 2014. I’m not excited about today’s new music.
Why? Because the music has changed.
Yes, top charts are now completely flooded with rap and hip-hop music, but that’s not it. I’ve always liked some rap and hip-hop. But today it’s not the same rap and hip-hop. It’s “trap” music. “Trap” refers to places where people make drug deals. Maybe you’ve heard of “trap” houses? The lyrics in today’s hit songs would shock you. Go ahead. Google some.
For example, Apple Music’s chart currently says number seven is “Drip Too Hard” by Lil Baby & Gunna. The second line in the song goes, “I gave ’em the drip, they sucked it up, I got ’em on it”. Only two lines later, Lil Baby says, “Takin’ these drugs, I’m gon’ be up until the mornin’.”
After a quick google search, “the drip” refers to the point where cocaine drips down your throat after snorting it.
Other songs in the Top 20 have drug references right in their name. Future’s “Crushed Up” and Lil Baby’s “Pure Cocaine”.
Others songs objectify women. Number 10 on the Apple music chart is Blueface’s “Thotiana”. Another quick google search… Well, let’s say any father of a girl would literally turn blue in the face.
I’m not saying Apple wants people to listen to this music. These tracks are simply on the charts because they are the best-selling songs of the week.
And while there are still some artists making good music about good things… it is getting harder and harder to find these songs. If your kid is listening to “just what’s popular today,” it may be time to introduce them to maybe some of your old music. Say from the 1990’s?