Ep. 14: Independence & “Likes”

Ep. 14: Independence & “Likes”

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Summary:

The need for independence drives many of the power struggles with teens at home and at school. Chris and Karlie get real on the reasons behind the most common difficulties between adults and teens. They also explore the effect “likes” have on teens’ mental health and how you can help.

Teen Life Summit sessions are available on demand until August 10. Register and watch at any time. Use code podcast20 for $20 off!

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

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Ep. 10: Searching for Identity & Vaping

Ep. 10: Searching for Identity & Vaping

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Summary:
Adolescence is hard work! One of the biggest reasons it’s so hard is because as teens we explore who we are and develop our identity. So how do we help teens develop their identity? Find out more on this week’s episode as Chris and Karlie discuss identity. They’ll also share the important facts on vaping, a health hazard that 1 in 5 teens is doing. Plus, don’t miss the breakdown on fun, family friendly games that bring everyone together.

All Teen Life Summit sessions are available on demand until August 10. Register and watch at any time. Use code podcast20 for $20 off!

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

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Ep. 7: Overcoming Obstacles & Graduation

Ep. 7: Overcoming Obstacles & Graduation

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Summary:
How do we help teens overcome obstacles or bounce back when things are going bad? This week on the Teen Life Podcast, Chris and Karlie explore ways to help teens see past present difficulties and look to more optimistic future. They also talk graduation gifts and gap years.

All Teen Life Summit sessions are available on demand until August 10. Register and watch at any time. Use code podcast20 for $20 off!

In this episode, we mentioned the following resources:

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

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Death of “Future Me”

Death of “Future Me”

Recently I stumbled upon a short podcast series by the New York Times entitled “Odessa”, which chronicles the physical re-opening of Odessa High School out in West Texas after the shutdowns of the spring and early fall of 2020. The series focuses on the marching band and the many struggles they faced as Odessa faced a COVID surge on top of school reopening.

In a later episode of the series, a student introduced in the first episode starts to exhibit a significant change in behaviors. A teenager once vibrant and socially active suddenly fell off the map. She stopped attending school, returning texts, and showing up to band practice. While those who knew and loved her made sure she was safe, otherwise she became completely disengaged.

After a while the interviewer was able to connect with this student and it was interesting to hear how she was doing. She said overall she was fine, but just wanted to be alone. In fact, her and many other students reported the same. They didn’t seem to be depressed or anxious, but they also didn’t really want to engage in any meaningful way with their friends or adults.

Also recently I read a really compelling article that got me thinking about stories like the one above, and even my own story in a way. The article cited a psychologist who explored aspects of consciousness and he divided our experiences as being either in the “experiencing self” or the “remembering self”. That is, the present moment and about 5 seconds before and after are what we experience. But we also have another “self” that is in the past telling us stories about times already gone. He did a lot of work in understanding how our two senses of “self” interplay with each other and how we need to be aware of how much noise each “self” is making.

Yet, this article expanded this framework to include what she called the “anticipating self”. That is, the part of us that hopes, dreams, and expects. Typically the “anticipating self” is a bit more optimistic about things and hopes for the future to be just a little better. The author posits that it is this “self” that drives us to make positive changes and choices.

We choose to eat better because we hope for better health.

We save our money because we envision ourselves being financially secure.

We make the better, harder choices so tomorrow will find us in a stronger position.

In other words, our “anticipating self” is the driving force to make better choices.

I think about this teenager featured in the “Odessa” podcast. As the episode ended, several school counselors were interviewed about the behavior of this student and those like her.

They said they had lost all motivation. No hope for the future. Anything beyond today became fuzzy or opaque.

In other words, their “anticipating self” was incapacitated.

If you know much about adolescence, you know that the “anticipating self” is a new developmental tool available to teenagers as they enter those early teen years. Children don’t often dream about what’s going to happen to them in 10 years. But as adolescence settles in, thinking about tomorrow becomes more of an option. I call this a new “tool” because often adolescents don’t use this tool, even if it is available to them.

This pandemic has caused so much uncertainty to the developing mind of an adolescent that they choose to silence the “anticipating self”. This last year has been so hard that thinking about anything positive for the future feels like a fools errand.

I believe this is why we are seeing such a surge in mental health issues with teenagers. When there is no real future, no real reason to engage with our “anticipating self”, then what is the reason to engage or even, hope?

As I work with teenagers these days, I’m especially mindful of helping them talk about the future in a positive light. And, it’s incredible to see how they respond. Often, they have forgotten that a positive future is even a possibility.

Because, it is. Let’s do everything we can to help teenagers engage with their “anticipating self”. What if, instead of engaging in the doom and gloom of this moment, we helped students anticipate what could be better or different? What if we rejected the notion that things are only going to get worse?

Let’s revive our anticipating selves.

 

 

For more tips on helping teens look for hope, check out this recent post.

Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.

Ep. 3: Building Connection & Prom

Ep. 3: Building Connection & Prom

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Summary:
Building trusted connections is essential for teen development, but how do we help teens know who to trust and how to connect? Chris and Karlie offer practical tips for encouraging healthy adult connection and building those connections as a parent or a helper. They also talk promposals and ways to help teens experience the best of prom.

In this episode, we mentioned the following resources:

Have a question?
If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!

About Us:

Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

Follow Us