Ep. 33: Movember & Fall Trends

Ep. 33: Movember & Fall Trends

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Summary:
Men’s mental and physical health are in crisis. In fact, the statistics are staggering. Men die, on average, five years earlier than women. Four out of five deaths by suicide in the United States are men. The Movember movement seeks to change that. Join us as we discuss how to help move the mark, specifically with teenage boys. Then, if you love all things pumpkin spice, this week’s trend is for you. We’ve got all the fall trends and a Thanksgiving tip for making the holidays more fun for everyone.

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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The Power of Validation

The Power of Validation

Do you ever get defensive in a conversation with your spouse or loved one because they just aren’t validating your feelings? Why can’t they simply acknowledge the frustration you’re feeling before swooping in to fix everything?

No? Is it just me?

If I am upset and someone tells me to “stop acting that way” and move on…those are fighting words! I think most of us can think of a time when a situation could have been made better by just having someone empathize and make space for what we are feeling.

So why do we not extend this same principle to teenagers and kids?

Take my 4-year-old for example. He is smarter and more capable than I often give him credit for. But he also has a wide range of emotions and regularly has trouble managing them in appropriate ways (sound like any teenagers you know?). As a parent, it is easy to ask him to be quiet, or stop crying, or quit yelling, or calm down. But what he really needs in that moment is for me to first validate his feelings.

In my house, it could look something like this:

Toddler: *crying because he has to go to bed*
Me: You are upset because you don’t want to stop playing. I understand how that would make you sad. But we have to go to bed so that we can have the energy to play tomorrow! What is the first thing you want to play with when we wake up in the morning?

After the situation has been diffused and he has calmed down, it is much easier to ask the question, “What is a better way for us to act next time we are upset?” I don’t know about you, but positive conversations rarely happen when we are in the heat of the moment. Your kids, teenagers, or spouse is probably not in the mood to be reasoned with if they don’t first feel heard and understood.

Here are a few reasons validation is so important:

It models healthy ways to talk about emotions. You can name their emotion and give them the chance to agree or name a different emotion. Verbalizing feelings is a skill that will benefit them far after they leave your house or classroom.

It reiterates that feelings are not a negative thing. We don’t want teenagers to feel like they are ever being punished for their feelings. Emotions aren’t negative! Often this negative connotation is put on our young men, but every gender and age deals with different emotions every day. We are not trying to correct emotions, but we can accept feelings and then work on better ways to react to them.

It builds self-confidence and trust. When you acknowledge feelings, you are communicating with your teenager that you are trustworthy. You see them and love them as they are – feelings and all! When they can put voice to their feelings, it will also build confidence. They know what is going on in their own mind and can work on tools that will help them express feelings in a way that is both truthful and empowering. When they control their reaction to feelings instead of letting emotions control them, it is a powerful thing!

This is a practice that I am still working on. I am not always perfect at this, but when I take the time to validate feelings first, I have found that some arguments are avoided and tantrums are shorter.

Validating feelings is not a miraculous trick. It won’t stop all disagreements or emotional outbursts. However, I do hope that it will lead to better understanding. I hope it will build trust between yourself and the teen (or child, or adult) that you love. I hope it will help you start positive conversations around emotions so that everyone involved can grow.

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Marketing & Development Director

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.
Ep. 32: School Check-In

Ep. 32: School Check-In

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Summary:
Join the Teen Life Podcast as we explore the kinds of grief, anxiety and other issues students are dealing with this year. School counselors and specialists weigh in on current trends to be aware of, how we can support our schools and what kinds of coping mechanisms we can teach kids and teens.

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. 31: The Father Effect & The Paul Bros.

Ep. 31: The Father Effect & The Paul Bros.

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Summary:
You may have heard recent news about “Dads on Duty,” but do you know about “the Father Effect?” Learn more on the positive effects of having a father figure and how your kids can benefit, whether mom and dad are still together or not! Then stick around to hear the latest on the Paul brothers and where their biggest influence lies.

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 or email podcast@teenlife.ngo.  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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The Science of Play. The Art of Fun.

The Science of Play. The Art of Fun.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much fun have you had this week? How many times have you felt completely free and completely alive?

I’ve recently been listening to the Happiness Lab podcast with Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos. Dr. Santos is most known for the most highly-attended class at Yale, entitled The Science of Well-Being. That’s a fancy course name for “How to Be Happier.” What’s not to love about that?

In a recent episode of her podcast, Dr. Santos joined a research project on how to have more fun, led by Catherine Price, author of The Power Of Fun: How To Feel Alive Again. Catherine Price describes having fun as being “engaged, focused, connected, and completely present.”

It’s not scrolling or checking notifications, zoning out or vegging on the couch. It’s laughing, twirling, soaking in life. It’s that feeling when you turn off your phone for take-off and settle in for a long flight – or is that just me?

It got me thinking about why fun matters- and how to have more of it.

 

It turns out, the science of fun is pretty interesting.

Even though everyone has their own idea of what’s fun, getting to do what we want, when we want is key. So if my mom says I have to do it a certain way, it probably doesn’t count as play any more!

Sharing the activity with other people is also key! When most people recall fun experiences, they are usually with other people. Introverts included. In the last year, we’ve all seen the negative effects of isolation. It stands to reason that the reverse is true. When we have fun together, we reap benefits too.

Physically, when we’re having fun, we get a hit of dopamine, the same feel-good hormone we get when we’re eating our favorite food, being rewarded or falling in love.

And when we get large hits of dopamine, we also lose track of time. If you’re thinking “time flies when you’re having fun,” it turns out it kind of does! Yasemin Saplakoglu writes for LiveScience.com about the research of Joe Paton, a neuroscientist at the Champalimaud Foundation:
“When you’re having fun, [brain] cells are more active, they release a lot of dopamine and your brain judges that less time has passed than actually has. When you’re not having fun, these cells don’t release as much dopamine, and time seems to slow down.”

Not only do we gain a lot of benefits from taking time to play, but when we don’t there are negative side effects too.

Depression, anxiety, and irritability are all symptoms of a lack of play, according to Dr. Stuart Brown, the former chief of Psychiatry at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in San Diego and author of the book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul (Avery, 2009).

There’s even research that suggests that having fun increases productivity and reduces burnout. It reduces stress and balances hormones. It’s the spoonful of sugar AND the medicine!

 

So basically to sum it up…

FUN:
  • Strengthens relationships
  • Makes time fly
  • Decreases depression and anxiety
  • Increases productivity and reduces burnout
  • Makes us healthier

Fun creates bonds and builds resilience, in ourselves and in our families. It makes us better parents, friends, teachers, colleagues. It can actually make us healthier, happier people. And when we do go back to work, because accomplishing goals is awesome too, it helps us be more creative problem solvers and more productive.

That’s great. But I’m busy, you say. I don’t have time to do more. So how do I have more fun?

 

I’m glad you asked! Here are a few ideas to consider:

    1. Try noticing one delightful thing every day.
      Start small. Look for something that makes you smile – or laugh! – and dwell on it, journal it, revel in it for just a moment. For me, I am ridiculously overjoyed by lizard sightings, butterflies, or the way my kids say “afore” instead of “before”. Or the fact that my youngest is suddenly insisting that everyone give him “two blue Easter eggs” for his birthday in February.
    2. Invest time in a hobby.
      Reading, crossword puzzles, painting, pickup basketball games. It might feel like skipping school at first, but research shows that it will make you more efficient and more productive when you return to work.
    3. Plan a family “yes day.”
      Watch the movie Yes Day on Netflix if you don’t know what a yes day is! Pick a day and treat it like a stay-cation. Everyone gets a say in what you do and everyone’s all-in. Remember, having fun together strengthens your bond and increases resilience in your kids.
    4. Have regular family date nights.
      Put everyone’s phone away and go bowling or play games. (We’ve got some game ideas here.) Make sure that everyone gets a chance to choose the activity and don’t make it about the rules or manners. Laugh together as much as possible!
    5. Experiment with new activities.
      Take a dance class or piano lessons. But don’t be afraid to quit if you’re not having fun. Just because it’s fun for someone else, doesn’t mean you have to like it!
    6. Schedule free time into your family’s calendar.
      It takes intentionality to keep the family calendar from looking like a war plan. But just like well-visits and teeth cleanings, everyone needs unscheduled free play every now and again.

     

  1. It turns out, fun is as important for your health as eating healthy, drinking enough water or exercising. And if you don’t believe me, just do a quick Google search and you’ll find a lot more research to prove it! So, take the scenic route, stop to smell the roses, play a little PacMan. It’s worth every second.

 

  1. And if you have more ideas on easy ways to incorporate fun into your day, drop us a note in the comments!
Kelly Fann

Kelly Fann

Marketing Specialist

Kelly has lived in three countries and worked with teens from all different walks of life, encouraging them to pursue their passions and to be kind.

Ep. 29: Teen Driver Safety & Halloween

Ep. 29: Teen Driver Safety & Halloween

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Summary:
Is your teen driving or about to start driving? Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States, which makes talking about safety a vital conversation. Join us during Teen Driver Safety Week (October 17-21, 2021) to learn ways to help teens navigate the fun and the dangers of driving.  Then, we’ll share ideas on Halloween costumes for teens (and adults) that are easy to pull off last minute! And don’t miss this week’s tip on how to help teachers (or other trusted adults) make potentially difficult days a little better.

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 or email podcast@teenlife.ngo.  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