Category Archives: Adolescence

So You Want Your Child to Be Resilient…

Life is hard, and it takes a strong person to stand up to the adversity that life dishes out with amazing regularity. Young adults of the “millennial” generation are sometimes criticized for not being resilient. According to the stereotype, they … Continue reading

Moment to Moment: Teens Growing Up with FASDs

FASD stands for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: a variety of permanent birth defects caused by the mother’s consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. The mother consumes alcohol, the substance travels to the womb, where it can disrupt normal development of the … Continue reading

Groove – A Device That Can Prevent Texting While Driving

In the U.S. every year, texting while driving causes 1.6 million auto crashes 500,000 injuries 6,000 deaths According to the article, “Rocket scientist’s idea could put an end to texting while driving” by Gabriel Noble, “Texting while driving has replaced … Continue reading

My Top 5 List of What Parents Can Give Their Adolescent Children

Nearly every parent knows that growing kids need unconditional love. And of course young children are powerless and innocent about most things, so they need our support for food, shelter, security, clothes, medical care, etc. A big theme of my … Continue reading

The 12 Most Important Insights for Parenting Teens

A common question from parents: “There’s so much advice out there, a lot of it is conflicting. What should I focus on? What’s most important?” Over the years, I’ve read most of the classic books on parenting, and I’ve given … Continue reading

Bonding with Teens – The Secret Sauce Is How You Talk to Them

Teens are different from younger kids in lots of ways. They may not be adults yet, but they aren’t little kids anymore. If you talk to them as if they are, you’ll push them away. They need your guidance, but … Continue reading

“Your Teen” Online Magazine – A Great Resource for Parents

I’ve discovered Your Teen, a weekly online magazine that’s a great resource for parents of teens. The current issue has these articles… “Why a Working Gap Year Is Worth Considering for Your Teen,” by Tim Elmore. “Move-Out Skills 101: Making Lunch” … Continue reading

When a Son “Hates” His Mom

This guest article comes from Tim Wright, author of Searching for Tom Sawyer. In this personal story, he illustrates the shock and disorientation parents feel when they aren’t conscious that their child has reached puberty and has begun the second … Continue reading

Boy Is Beautiful

A guest post from Mark Sherman, who has four grandsons and wants boys who act in typical boy ways to feel good about themselves. Society, at least in schools, may be sending a different message. I remember well in the … Continue reading

How to Help Teens Grow Strong for Adult Life

On April 14, 2014, I was interviewed by Lon Woodbury on LA Talk Radio. The topic was how parents can join with other adult mentors to create a village to raise a teenager to be strong for adult life – … Continue reading

Effective Communication Skills – The Game-Changer for Parents of Teenagers

Teenagers know they’re growing up, and they don’t like being treated like little kids. They need the wisdom and guidance of parents and other adults. But they hate lectures, sarcasm, put-downs, screaming, commands, threats, ultimatums, shaming, judging, and blaming. Don’t … Continue reading

The Heart of Masculinity

For the next several months a group of writers focused on the issues of boys and men are collaborating through the writing and sharing of blog posts in order to bring greater awareness to the unique challenges boys and men … Continue reading

Bye-Bye Dirty Dozen, Hello 7 Key Parent-Child Communication Skills

For me, the best book ever written about parent-child communication was Dr. Thomas Gordon’s P.E.T. – Parent Effectiveness Training, a 1975 classic that is still widely used today. It isn’t easy to raise kids. Sometimes they’re sweet and adorable. But … Continue reading

Recipe for Disappointment – Making Assumptions about Your Teen

The dad lets his son borrow the car. “Be sure to have it back by six. I’ve got an important place to be tonight.” “No problem, Dad.” Six o’clock comes and goes. With no sign of his son, he makes … Continue reading

It’s Never OK to Say ‘Gay’ When You Really Mean ‘Stupid’

For the next several months a group of writers focused on the issues of boys and men are collaborating through the writing and sharing of blog posts in order to bring greater awareness to the unique challenges boys and men … Continue reading

Team Sports – Part of the Answer for Parents of Teens

You know about the tragic circumstances that teenagers can get involved in: pregnancy, STDs, alcohol and drugs, bullying, depression, food disorders, suicide, breaking the law, rebellion, gangs, poor grades, dropping out of school, running away from home. You read the … Continue reading

Why Teens Rebel – In Case You’ve Forgotten…

When they’re little you read to them, hoping they’ll love books and reading and learning. Before you know it they’re in school, beginning a journey that will teach them about the world. And in half a dozen years, puberty begins … Continue reading

A Powerful Parenting Skill – Get Kids to Think for Themselves

My wife, Kathleen Scott,  contributes regularly to the San Antonio Express-News Travel section and sometimes to the Food section. She also is working on a third draft of a mystery novel. I think it’s remarkable that she made a successful … Continue reading

Adults Can Improve the Way They Mentor Youth – And Make a Difference

Adults care a great deal about the youth in their communities. They want fewer kids to be at risk. They want more kids growing up to be strong, happy, successful adults. They’re willing to be mentors to young people. And … Continue reading

Internet Bullying – What Parents Need to Know and Do

From Amanda Kostina at the WhiteFence Savings blog, this insightful guest post… Learning that your teenager has been the target of bullies is both heartbreaking and infuriating. The discovery that your child is party to the torment and agony of … Continue reading

Kid Hacks His Education, Hacks His Life

You’ll want to watch this video all the way through. This 13-year-old boy is amazing. You’ll wonder how young Logan LaPlante could become so smart, so articulate, so mature, and so happy after only one year of adolescence! As you … Continue reading

Good Advice for Parents – Pound the Rock

Parenting a teenager may be the hardest thing you ever do. It can sometimes seem like a thankless, hopeless endeavor. You have your dream – to help your child grow up to be a strong, independent, happy, successful adult. But … Continue reading

Sexting – The Legal Consequences

Teens and sexting is increasing in popularity in the US. With so many teenagers having their own private cell phones, sexting has quickly grown into a new threat for kids. Unless you fully understand the harm and consequences of it, … Continue reading

Critical Thinking – What It Really Is and Why You Should Care

These days, parents are hearing about the “teen brain” in the popular media. The message is that the “prefrontal cortex,” the area of the brain in charge of critical thinking, is still under construction – that this a big reason … Continue reading

Forget Halloween. Here’s Something Really Scary – Rebellious Teenagers

For this post I’ve included an interesting video. Or maybe you’ll find it a shocking video. Watch it all the way through. Don’t click off just because it’s disgusting. The clips were recorded by the teens themselves. There are thousands … Continue reading

The Danger of Teen Substance Abuse – Permanent Brain Damage

Doctors always warn expectant mothers not to use alcohol, drugs or tobacco during pregnancy. By now, the reasons why are common knowledge. Here’s an excerpt from WebMD.com: “Taking drugs during pregnancy also increases the chance of birth defects, premature babies, … Continue reading

Parents – How and Why Teens Risk Their Futures and Their Lives

From Tina Marconi of BabySitters.net, we have this timely guest post that gives parents a heads-up about adolescent risk-taking and the horrendous consequences. Taking healthy risks is an essential aspect of childhood development, and is one of the best ways … Continue reading

Comedian Louis C.K. on Raising His Daughters

“I’m not raising kids. I’m raising the adults they’re going to turn into.” – Louis C.K. An empowering, realistic distinction! Instead of seeing their teenager as a kid who’s been in the family for more than a decade, parents need … Continue reading

Over 300 Teens Trash Retired NFL Player’s Home – And Do Untold Damage to Themselves

I read a disturbing news report posted by NPR. You should check it out. And especially check out the victim’s website… The victim was former New England Patriots pro football player, Brian Holloway (1981-1988). While he was visiting Florida, his … Continue reading

It Takes a Village

This is Myles Turner, a 17-year-old boy from Euless, Texas. He has worked hard to prepare himself to be a highly recruited college basketball player. Next year he’ll join some lucky top program like Duke, Kansas or Kentucky and earn … Continue reading

7 Practical Ideas for Nurturing the Parent-Teen Bond

Thanks to Maureen Denard at FindaNanny.net for this guest post. The adolescent years can stress a parent-child relationship. This article has several practical ideas for helping the bond to grow stronger. In a world where there never seems to be … Continue reading

The Generation Gap – A Failure of Parent-Teen Communication

A teenager made a dumb mistake and damaged a tool. His father, angry, shouted at him about carelessness and irresponsibility. No love, understanding or respect was communicated in the heated interchange. The boy felt like a failure and resented his … Continue reading

Top Three Coaching Skills for Parents of Adolescents

Recently Meredith Bell and I featured a live teleseminar for parents, “Three Coaching Skills for Parents That Will Transform Your Relationship with Your Teenager.” We focused on what we believe are the three most powerful skills among the seven coaching … Continue reading

From Boys to Men – Tales of Two Adolescents

Recently I attended a large family reunion and talked to a lot of young people I hadn’t met before. The conversations I had with two different 22-year-old young men left me wondering. Shane seemed like a loner in this crowd. … Continue reading

Life is Hard – And Then You Strive

I’m recalling a moderately distressing experience that started with a phone call. My wife was about to return home from a shopping excursion at a mall about 30 miles away when her car wouldn’t start. She asked me to drive … Continue reading

Tim Wright – Innovator of Modern Rites of Passage for Youth

By the time young people reach high school, they’re launched on that phase of personal growth we call adolescence. It’s a ten- or twelve-year journey in which a boy can become a man and a girl can become a woman. … Continue reading

10 Important Lessons Moms Can Teach Their Sons

A boy who grows up without the guidance of a father is at a disadvantage, even at risk. But the role of the mother, who more often than not is the primary nurturer, has an enormous influence. This guest post … Continue reading

My Vision: New Rites of Passage Appropriate to the Modern World

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1st Corinthians 13:11. In the modern world, boys don’t … Continue reading

Teens Rise [Fall?] to the Cinnamon Challenge – An Epidemic of Low Self-Esteem

“The Cinnamon Challenge.” Young teens dare each other to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon in less than a minute without water. Many teens see it as a popular way to have a lot of fun. Part of the excitement is … Continue reading

1 Million Adolescent Suicide Attempts Per Year

Recently a huge tornado devastated a small town in Oklahoma, killing 24 people. Stories and images of the destruction were all over the Internet, the newspapers and television news. The coverage reminded me of when in early June, 1966, I … Continue reading

The Internet’s No. 1 Parenting Podcast Series

Have you been listening to the weekly Strong For Parenting podcasts? If not, then you’ve been missing something! For more than 20 years, Meredith Bell and I have been having fantastic conversations about things that are important to us. Frequently … Continue reading

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From Teen to Adult – Take Luck Out of the Equation

I’ve written often about how important it is for teens to work on exercising the critical thinking part of their brain (for connecting the dots, analysis, judgment, self-control and decision-making). Parents need to know that this part of the brain … Continue reading

I Got Lucky – My 9 Rites of Passage

I’ve been reading about traditional and modern rites of passage. So far, the two most helpful books have been Crossroads: The Quest for Contemporary Rites of Passage, ed. Louise Carus Mahdi, et al (1996); and From Boys to Men: Spiritual … Continue reading

You’ll Be a Man, My Son

Once upon a time when my youngest boy was about 18 years old, we were walking together and he asked me, “Dad, what does masculinity mean to you?” A loaded question. I sensed that he was aware that he was … Continue reading

Puberty – The Lost Passage from Child to Adult

The goal of parenting a teenager:  to help the child mature into a responsible, happy, successful adult. Even parents who consciously keep this goal in mind often have an awful time dealing with teen emotion, rebellion, risk-taking and substance abuse. … Continue reading

The True Horror of Spring Break

The women were carrying dishes into the kitchen. Woody grinned, cocking his head towards the study. “I want you to see something,” he said. Woody sat behind his desk and pointed the remote at the TV. Cody settled into a … Continue reading

Dad Gets Lucky – Gives Sons Christmas Present with Profound Permanent Consequences

It was the Christmas of 1982, and my boys were 10 and 12 years old. I didn’t think twice about what to give them. It just seemed like a great idea at the time – identical Commodore 64 personal computers. … Continue reading

Many Parents Avoid Frank Talks with Their Teens – For Good Reasons

I’ve written two books, Conversations with the Wise Uncle (for boys) and Conversations with the Wise Aunt (for girls). Both are fictional accounts about an older relative mentoring a young person during the teen years to give the child a “heads up” … Continue reading

Breakthrough Insights about Teens – The Untold Story

I was once a West Point graduate who became a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. After that I became an expert in adult learning, focusing on how skills and knowledge are created in the brain. But then what happened? … Continue reading

My New YouTube Channel – For Adults Who Care About Youth

I have a new YouTube channel called Strong for Parenting. It will share short, information-dense videos for parents of teens and other youth mentors. My first video,  “Give Your Teen A Superior Mind,” packs a lot of powerful info in less than … Continue reading

When Adolescents Get Drunk – Permanent Brain Damage

Drinking alcohol with the expressed purpose of getting wasted? Believe it or not, this is mostly an activity practiced by kids. Watch this brief video… What can a parent do? In a calm, non-threatening, supportive way, tell the child about … Continue reading

My Interview with Lon Woodbury of LA Talk Radio – What Parents Can Do to Help Wire Their Teen’s Brain for Critical Thinking

Lon Woodbury (LA Talk Radio) and I had a great discussion about the teen brain (to listen or download, scroll down to January 28, 2013). I talked about the big changes going on in the pre-frontal cortex (PFC), the last area of the … Continue reading

Parent-Child Communication – Build the Bridge, or Tear it Down

Teenagers…emotional, inarticulate and needy, may try to ask for something or make a statement. Maybe they want to buy something. Maybe they want to go somewhere. Maybe they’re having a problem. But parents are human, too, and not always in … Continue reading

Grow the Bond with Your Child – Forgive the Small Things

As we prepared to go the gym for our morning workout, my wife discovered that she had misplaced her car keys. We searched for ten minutes and finally found them in the car, still in the ignition. Unfortunately, the battery … Continue reading

Podcast #3 – How to Prepare for Your Child’s Adolescence

The second twelve years of growing up – adolescence – are a lot different and a lot more challenging than the first twelve years. Kids know they’re growing up, and they want to know more about the adult world. They’re … Continue reading

Podcast #2 – Adolescence – The Second Dozen Years of Growing Up

When young people turn 18 and graduate from high school, parents often expect them to start doing adult things. Go to college. Join the service. Get your own place. Get a steady job. Get married. Have kids. Even the law grants them … Continue reading

Street Smart Kids – Teens Need to Hear This Stuff

When I was young, the adults around me shared very little advice, wisdom or skills. So by the time I left home, I was pretty naive. I didn’t know how naive I was! All I knew was that I was … Continue reading

Bad Judgment – The Peril of Adolescence

In this space I’ve often written about how the prefrontal cortex (PFC), the part of the brain that exercises judgment, is “under construction” during adolescence. And that the only way to wire this area more extensively – to produce a … Continue reading

Unconscious Parents – A Review of ‘Lonesome Jim’ (2006)

Seven years after the release of the movie, “Lonesome Jim,” I found it on Netflix. Starring Casey Affleck and Liv Tyler, it’s the story of a man in his late twenties who, after failing to create a life for himself … Continue reading

Teenagers vs. Adolescents – A Heads-Up for Parents

Most parents think of their child as “officially” an adolescent when they technically become a teenager on their 13th birthday. And they think their project of raising the child to adulthood is pretty much over after high school, when most … Continue reading

West Point Ingrained My Critical Thinking Skills

When I was in high school, I got an A in every subject I ever took. I didn’t find out until later that I hadn’t learned as much as I thought. But man, I knew how to make A’s! My … Continue reading

Will a Teen Decide Based on Reason, Habit, or Emotion?

I consider myself a serious thinker. But to be honest, I’m not an intellectual. I’m biased towards action. I have a Ph.D., but 95% of what I know today I learned on my own after earning that degree. So seemingly … Continue reading

The Story Behind the “Wise Uncle” and “Wise Aunt” Books

For quite a while now, I’ve felt that the kind of personal development that we encourage with adults should begin during the teen years, if not before – that in fact the adult learners we serve with programs like ProStar … Continue reading

Teen Development – The All-Important Core Strengths

A successful, happy life. I guess everybody knows it takes more than than money and beauty. Just ask Bernie Madoff and Kim Kardashian. And guess what…It also takes a lot more than a good education and business know-how. I try … Continue reading

A Quick, Simple Overview of the Human Brain

Often when I write adolescence I make reference to a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. To help you appreciate where that part of the brain is and what it does, I’ll give you a quick guided tour of … Continue reading

Why Do Teens Act That Way? – Three Revealing Video Clips

I’m putting in a lot of time right now checking facts about what’s going on in the teen brain. As I’ve written elsewhere, it’s a confusing time for a teen because the part of the brain that does cause-and-effect thinking, … Continue reading