teenager

Seasons of Parenthood: Embracing change & connection

By: Ali Ryan

Parenthood is a journey filled with ups and downs, joys and challenges. As our children grow, we find ourselves navigating different seasons of parenting, each with its own set of emotions and experiences.

From the early years of sleepless nights and endless diaper changes to the teenage years filled with new milestones and independence, every stage brings its own joys and complexities.

In this blog, we’ll explore the bittersweet reality of watching our children grow older, the challenges of connecting with older teens, and the importance of embracing change while finding connection amidst the ever-evolving landscape of parenthood.

When our children were little, we cherished every moment, even amidst the chaos and exhaustion. Yet, as they grow older, we may find ourselves longing for the simplicity of those early years. We catch ourselves reminiscing about the days of cuddles and bedtime stories, yearning for the innocence and sweetness of our little ones.

However, as our children enter adolescence, we’re faced with new challenges and uncertainties. We may struggle to connect with our older teens, grappling with the changes in their attitudes and interests. It’s a natural part of the parenting journey to feel a sense of nostalgia for the past while simultaneously navigating the present.

Yet, amidst the longing for days gone by, it’s essential to embrace the beauty of the present moment. Each stage of parenthood offers unique opportunities for growth, both for ourselves and our children. While we may feel uncertain about how to connect with our older teens, it’s important to remember that our love and support remain constant. Finding common ground and shared interests can help bridge the gap between generations, fostering deeper connections and understanding.

As parents, we’re tasked with navigating the ever-changing landscape of parenthood, from the early years of wonder and discovery to the teenage years filled with challenges and growth. While it’s natural to feel nostalgic for the past, it’s essential to embrace the present moment and find joy in the journey.

By fostering open communication, understanding, and connection with our children, we can navigate the seasons of parenthood with grace and resilience, cherishing each moment along the way.

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Unlocking Teen Potential

By: Joey Mascio

Hey amazing teens! Ever find yourself yearning for a bit more excitement in your social life, struggling with confidence, or feeling a bit out of place? You’re not alone. These are challenges all teenagers face today. Let’s explore a solution that’s both fun and impactful. 

Navigating the middle school or high school social scene can be tricky. Sure, you’ve got some friends, but forging connections beyond that circle is challenging. Confidence? It’s there, but maybe not as robust as you’d like. Ever felt like you just don’t quite fit in? Yeah, we’ve all been there. 

Then there are those days that feel like a bit of a slog. It’s not a full-blown battle with depression, but motivation seems to be on vacation. Stress and anxiety throw their hats into the ring, making life feel like a bit too much. The struggle is real. 

What about personal goals? You’ve got them, but distractions seem to be ever-present. Video games, YouTube, Netflix – they’re all beckoning for your attention. It’s the classic tug-of-war between what you want to achieve and what ends up grabbing your focus. 

Does it feel like I’m reading your mind? That’s because adolescents everywhere are experiencing what psychologist Viktor Frankl calls the Mass Neurotic Triad, which is depression, addiction, and aggression. That may sound a bit much for what you’re experiencing, but it’s translated for teens as “I don’t feel like it, I don’t have enough time, people are stupid.” Familiar, right? 

This general feeling of being down, distracted, disconnected may come from teens spending a lot of time with “imaginary friends.” No, not the imaginary friends from childhood. These imaginary friends are the influencers, video game characters, and binge-worthy show protagonists. Spending too much time with them may be entertaining, but it won’t help you grow into the incredible person you aspire to become. 

Now, I’m not suggesting a complete digital detox. But what if those moments of feeling down, disconnected, and distracted are a result of spending more time in someone else’s world than your own? 

Introducing the Live Your Own Life Challenge. Here’s the gist: prioritize spending more time living your life before delving into the virtual worlds of influencers, video games, or shows. Everyday, take concrete actions towards your goals – whether it’s working out, pursuing a hobby, or taking steps to become the person you envision. 

Balance is the key. For every two hours invested in creating something amazing in your real life, allocate just one hour to your virtual escapes. Do this consistently, and you’ll witness a positive shift. 

The promise of this challenge? Less of those down days, reduced feelings of being distracted and disconnected, and a surge in feelings of accomplishment, motivation, and personal value. 

So, incredible tweens and teens, are you up for the challenge? It’s time to unlock your awesomeness and fully embrace living your own life! 

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Of Pangolins and Teenagers

By: Terri Hayes

Of Pangolins and Teenagers 

One Christmas, my husband (Ron) and I had daughter #4 make some custom Christmas cards to give to our immediate family. She was running low on ideas for cute kid cards for our grandchildren. So I talked to daughter #2 to ask what her kids are currently into to give daughter #4 some ideas. She told me both of her kids were really into pangolins lately. I’m like, oh yeah, penguins would make a cute card! Not penguins, pang·guh·luhnz. “What’s that?” I asked her. She told me it was like a scaly anteater. So, of course I google them. I was in a hurry, so I peeked, was not impressed, thought they were rather ugly and the next time I chatted with daughter #2 gave her my opinion. She rebutted with, “awe, but they’re so cute!” Knowing this daughter is drawn to cute things like kittens, I thought maybe I should give pangolins another look-over. After giving pangolins a little more time and attention, I could see them more from daughter #2’s perspective although the word I would use is more like “cool.” Their scales look dragon-like, and their defense is to roll up into a ball. Very cool! So, now I’m a pangolin fan rather than pangolin hater.  

Now, on to teenagers. Well, transport back to when I was a teenager anyways. As I’ve mentioned before, I was a thoroughbred tomboy. As I approached high school, social cues told me that I should be liking boys… you know, in the hand-holdy type way. I struggled to transition from being “one of the guys” and competing with and against them, to trying to like them and date them. I didn’t feel like I was dating material and apparently the guys didn’t either.  

I have a sister that is a year and two weeks younger than I am. She had the cute girly figure, the flirting smile, liked proper girly things, and literally had herds of boys following her around.  

So, all I had to do to catch a boy’s attention and start getting asked out on dates was to watch how my sister and the cheerleader type girls acted and follow suit. It was a horrible attempt! Any time we try and be something we’re not, it’s disturbing if not downright creepy! I’ll not go into detail but let’s just say it didn’t get me the results I was hoping for.  

Trying to be something or someone you are not is exhausting. Besides that, if you gain friends or boyfriend/girlfriend in that manner, they “like” someone that isn’t really you! You attract others that aren’t really “your people.” I think this is common for teenagers, and truth be told, we get sucked into this as adults as well. Wanting to be part of a community is an inherent need and can cause us to wander out of integrity with who we are at times – trying to act or be a certain way to fit in with whatever group we want to be a part of.  

Me not liking the pangolin right off the bat did not mean there was anything wrong with the pangolin. It was ALL about where I was in my understanding of pangolins. The pangolin had always been cool and interesting, I just missed out on that because of my lack of interest or knowledge. The same is true about you and me! You are awesome, I am awesome, and if someone doesn’t like me or you or anyone else, it’s all about what’s going on (or not going on) in THEIR mind and doesn’t affect our awesomeness! Could you imagine what our world would look like if we all just went about being ourselves and attracting the people that resonate with the real us? No pretending or faking. All the mind drama that is taken up trying to figure out how to fit in could be directed towards making the world a better place just by being me and you just being you! No one, I mean no one is liked by everyone! Even the nicest people have haters. If someone doesn’t like you, it has everything to do with them and where they currently are in life and in their present thinking and has nothing to do with you. If someone doesn’t like me, that’s ok. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Do you like everyone all the time? As I’ve thought about this, I truly would rather have a fan club on one side and haters on the other. It shows I’m standing up for something. Showing up in the world. Expressing myself. If everyone were to like me, it may indicate that I’m hiding and not giving my all because I don’t give enough to love or hate. I’m just existing.  

Brené Brown said, “If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.”  

There may a price to pay for hiding and not living your truth. 

As I look back on teenage me, I wish I could convince her the world needed her just as she was, not a lousy copy-cat of someone else! I wish I could assure her that what people think of her has nothing to do with her worth whatsoever. But alas, I cannot. However, I can learn from that and be 100% me now. I can love me for who I am now and look forward to the person I will grow into, focusing on what I am vs what I am not. So, go out there and be yourself! Attract those that are like-minded and use your mental resources to adore your life and elevate the world around you! 

Comment below your favorite attributes about yourself. 

High Five!

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