Recently, Monica Lewinsky gave a TED talk titled “The Price of Shame” that has become a viral sensation with millions of views. In the talk, Lewinsky boldly shares her experiences around the exposure of her affair with President Bill Clinton in the 1990s and the fallout of that scandal, which was fueled by the rapid spread of information (and misinformation) on the Internet. She also points out that when the affair began, she was just 22 years old–an age that experts say is still part of adolescence. Yet the public shaming for her mistake (which she says she “regrets deeply”) has been carried throughout all parts of her adult life. Teens and young adults will make mistakes–how can we help them learn from them, rather than be defined by them?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released a policy statement on food in schools emphasizing a “whole nutrition” approach to food that is consumed in school. This could include breakfast, lunch, and/or snacks. The writers point out that there have already been changes in school lunches to make cafeteria food more nutritious, but lunches that students bring to school might not meet healthy standards. Having healthy, nutritious meals throughout the school day is essential for concentration in class and performance in sports and gym class. How can parents help teens eat healthy at school?
This week, of course, many people are making their New Year’s resolutions. I find that I always have a long list of things I’d like to do in the new year: for example, this coming year I want to read more books, keep my house clean, exercise more, cook new recipes, keep in better touch with old friends…the list goes on and on. I find that this time of year is a great opportunity for families to set goals toward becoming healthier and happier in the new year. So, how can you and your teen make resolutions that will be sustainable and achievable?
Holidays mean vacation: days where teens are out of school with little to occupy their time and potential for comments of feeling bored. The holiday seasons between Fall and Winter encompass a wide range of cultural and religious themes from Eid, to Yom Kippur and Hanukkah, Christmas to Kwanza. What all of these holidays share is the importance of family. However, a normal part of adolescent development is pulling away from parents and traditional family values. This time of year, parents may hear more requests for gifts than for special traditions at family gatherings. Cooking, cleaning, and anticipating family conflict can cause a lot of pressure for parents and teens. So how can parents continue to make fond memories and include all household members?
When I ask parents and teens, “What do you think is the most pressing health issue facing adolescents today?” I often hear that bullying is on everyone’s minds. Some of this concern comes from high-profile media cases of teens who have, sadly, died of suicide after being victims of bullying; in the media, bullying has also long been blamed as a contributor to school shootings and continues to be reported as a trigger for violent retaliatory behavior. In addition, research on bullying has increased in the last few decades, with many studies finding that kids who have been bullied AND kids who bully others are more likely to have school problems, mental health issues, and even physical health problems into adulthood.