Family Coach. Mom. Teacher. Lover of Life.

Archive for the ‘teens’ Category

What is Sexual Identity and what should we do with it?

What is sexual identity? I’m so glad you asked because I just received a PDF of the short article I wrote for the The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Family Studies. Sexual identity, according to yours truly, “can be defined as a label that helps signify to others who a person is as a sexual being and includes the perceptions, goals, beliefs, and values one has in regard to his/her sexual self.” (p. 1). Sexual identity is a multidimensional construct; it is not just gay or straight. It involves many factors such as gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual attraction, sexual behaviors, and even fantasies & desires. Sexual identity exploration is 100% normal and is an expected aspect of human development.

Understanding sexual identity is pretty important in today’s political climate. Youth is a time of identity exploration, and for many, that includes sexual identity exploration. The issue of sexual identify is often the difference between inclusion and exclusion. Many youth that identify as a sexual minority, which includes orientations such as lesbian, gay, bi, pan, etc., experience exclusion. They are bullied, made fun of, and have laws passed that exclude their protection from such negative behaviors. These youth are four-times more likely to attempt suicide than there straight peers. That is why I can’t help but worry about how sexual minority youth might be feeling about North Carolina’s new law, HB2, a law that limits protections for LGBTQ+ populations. The tone of this law is exclusive, and I know that youth that are exploring their sexual identity are negatively impacted by what they are hearing and seeing.

Understanding sexual identity is a first step, but as adults in the lives of youth, we have an obligation to teach inclusion and kindness. In many ways, this can be a matter of life and death. Parents and caregivers are the number 1 most important protective factor for youth. When the adults closest to these youth love and protect them, their chances of success are greatly improved. All adults can play a part in building inclusive environments that are accepting and supportive. In fact, these environments are essential if we want to promote mental and physical health of our future. Not just for sexual minority youth, but for all youth.

If you would like to learn more or read the article in full, check it out here: wbefs073

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Allen, K. (2016). Sexual identity. In C. Shehan (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Family Studies. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

How Do I Get My Kid To…. (VIP BLOG)

As part of my job, I get to run a program called VIP, or Very Important Parent Program. As part of VIP, we have started a weekly blog on and about all things parenting. Today is my blog called How Do I Get My Kid To….

This one is all about getting my kid to be nice. Which she really needs to work on. Probably as much as I need to work on building my relationship with my kid and working to help her meet her needs. So, here is that blog.

http://www.bevip.org/uncategorized/how-do-i-get-my-kid-to-2/?utm_source=hootsuite

 

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Where Have You Gone, Darling Summer?

Summer has come and gone. But what a summer it was! I got to take some vacation time to spend with the girls. Sofia made a list of things she wanted to do, and we made our way through the list as much as possible.

 

Paint an art piece. 

Back to school shopping. 

Mani-Pedi. (my first ever!)

Mermaid tail. (made it myself after seeing they cost over $100)

Redecorate bathroom upstairs.

Lunch at art museum. (Not nearly as good as we hoped).

Friends over. √ √ √

Furniture shopping. 

Party for friends. Nope. Not yet, but we are working on it still.

Horseback riding. Nope.

 

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While Fiona didn’t have a list, she reached what I can only image where her goals of sleeping and screen time. (No photo as she says it is creepy for me to take pictures of her sleeping. I still take them, I just don’t post them (yet).

We all got sick, and thus spent quality time snuggling in bed. We went to Niagara Falls and Toronto. We swam, ate out, and spent a bunch of lazy time together.

Summers are mixed bag. While I adored having time to be with my girls this summer, I haven’t always had the luxury of taking time off. Like many parents across the country, I’ve leaned on family and piecemeal-ed care for the girls. That’s probably what summer means to my girls-lots of time with Grandparents, some time with their parents, time to exert independence and yes, some lazy days of summer laying around, sleeping late, and watching TV.

I realized this was my 14th summer as a mom, and I only have seven more. That’s 2/3rds of my summers as a mom over. Part of me wants to celebrate, but a lot of me is sad that my kids are growing up. One is now in high school, the other in middle school. It all happened when I blinked my eyes.

Here’s to a great school year, for all us parents and our children! My we find that balance of cherishing every moment and getting through those moments that simply should not be cherished. May we we find time to put down our phones and take a walk. May we be firm and kind in our parenting, and may we celebrate making it through one more summer.

 

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Back to School! Podcast 6

The Allen kids are back in school this week. Unlike times in the past, back to school is changing, especially for college students. The days of going to a brick and mortar school for the first year of college is no longer the only option. Is doing a non-traditional option, such as community college or even doing early college high-school a good option? We will tell you our opinion in this week’s podcast.

Book reviewed: College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What it Means for Students by Jeffrey J. Selingo. (2013).

Article reviewed: How to Make Stuff in Wired, March 29, 2011. http://www.wired.com/2011/08/big-diy/

A story about Limor “Ladyada” Fried, the first woman on the cover of Wired and one of Fiona’s role models.

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Key words: back to school, college alternatives, welding, early college, kids

Parenting in the Future Episode 5: Teens, Technology, and Mental Health

Welcome to the 5th episode of Parenting in the Future Podcast with special guest, Fiona Allen! Fiona, our 13 year old daughter, joined us and gave us information about the apps all the teens are using, and told us her take on mental health, technology, and what it is like to be a teen. Chris reviewed the book, Age of Opportunity by Lawrence Steinberg and helped us better understand adolescent brain development. Kim responded to a quote image she read on Facebook that read:

 

Nostalgic Parenting Judgement

Nostalgic Parenting Judgement

My curfew was lightening bugs. (OK–works for younger kids probably more than teens)

My parents didn’t call my cell, they yelled my name. (Too much to say about this; better listen to the podcast)

I played outside, not online. (Did you have friends from all over the world? Do you want your children to have 21st century tech skills? Do you struggle, like we do, to have appropriate boundaries for your teen and their technology use?)

If I didn’t eat what mom cooked, I didn’t eat. (First of all, that is sexist. Second, my mom cooked with a whole lot of lard and bacon grease. Third, I’m happy we all share in the food prep. Last, I hope I’m more respectful to my kids than that).

With nostalgia aside, this really isn’t true for our family. In face, we embrace technology. Want to know more about all of our reactions? Listen in!

 

Fiona and her Dad doing a podcast. She's a typical teen in that she didn't want her picture taken. This is the compromise.

Fiona and her Dad doing a podcast. She’s a typical teen in that she didn’t want her picture taken. This is the compromise.

Fiona's one and only time wearing a dress. It is a COSPLAY costume from her beloved Anime.

Fiona’s one and only time wearing a dress. It is a COSPLAY costume from her beloved Anime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the joys of parenting: podcasting with my kid.

One of the frustrations of parenting: hearing my child’s cell phone go off every 2 seconds during the podcast.