Ep. 92: Social Media Report & Parasocial Relationships

Ep. 92: Social Media Report & Parasocial Relationships

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Summary:

There’s been much ado about teens and social media in the last few years. This year’s Bark Social Media Report confirms many parents’ worst fears. So what can we do to keep teenagers safe and help them navigate online dangers like predators, dangerous health advice, sexual content, and violence, among others?

Then, do you or your teen feel connected to the characters of your favorite show or a particular celebrity? Chris and Karlie discuss the pluses and minuses of parasocial relationships.

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 has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

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Dry January and Teens

Dry January and Teens

One trend that has recently taken shape in the last couple of years is Dry January. You may be thinking to yourself, “Tobin this blog is for teens and their issues. Every month should be dry for them.” You’re right. But this month could be a good time for you as a parent to practice, model, and educate on alcohol awareness and responsible drinking. 

UNDERAGE DRINKING STATS

First things first. Underage drinking is never responsible. Just setting that boundary for your teen and reminding them of the dangers of underage drinking is never a bad idea. But the temptation is definitely there for teens.

  • The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 1 in 5 young Americans aged 12-20 drink alcohol regularly.
  • The 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey goes even further, saying that 1 in 3 high school students have tried alcohol at least once.
  • 10% of 8th graders have drunk within the past 30 days. That number jumps to 35% among high school seniors.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, adults ages 26 years and older who began drinking before the age of 15 years are nearly six times as likely to have an alcohol use disorder than those who waited until at least age 21 to begin drinking. 

One of the biggest dangers with underage drinking is the tendency to binge drink. In fact, 90% of the alcohol consumed by teens comes from binge drinking. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 18% of high school students engaged in binge drinking within the past month. 

OK, SO THAT’S SCARY. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

  • BE SHOCK PROOF – We say that a lot here at Teen Life but it is always the best advice. If your teen is coming to you with an issue regarding alcohol, hear them and love them. That is the first step to getting them help. A trusted adult can go a long way when a teen is in need.
  • HAVE CONVERSATIONS – Talk to your teen about the dangers of drinking. Check in regularly. Get to know the people they are spending their time with. Research shows that children of actively involved parents are less likely to drink alcohol. 
  • MODEL POSITIVE BEHAVIOR – If you choose to drink, make sure you drink responsibly. At times, you can turn down alcohol in social situations to show you can be sociable without alcohol. 
  • SETTING BOUNDARIES – Depending on the level of intervention needed, make sure alcohol is not available in your home. Supervise any parties or activities that your teen is attending. Encourage your teen to participate in healthy, fun activities that do not involve alcohol.

So whether you’re practicing Dry January or not, working with your teens on the safety of being sober is vital to their development. Always remember that being a teenager is hard. They need our help!

Tobin Hodges

Tobin Hodges

Program Director

Tobin graduated with a Bachelors of Music from Texas Tech University. A teacher’s kid twice over, he taught for 13 years before coming to Teen Life. His entire career has been centered around helping students and teens from all walks of life become the best version of themselves.

Ep. 91: Eating Disorders & Instagram Updates

Ep. 91: Eating Disorders & Instagram Updates

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Summary:
Millions of teenagers are plagued with eating disorders every year. In episode 91, we follow up a previous conversation on overeating disorders and discuss restrictive eating disorders, like anorexia and ARFID.

Then, we walk you through some of the (many) changes coming to your Instagram feed and a hot tip on why wet hair might be a hazard to your health.

In this episode, we mentioned or used 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 has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

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Ep.  90: Curiosity & the Gas App

Ep. 90: Curiosity & the Gas App

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Summary:
Are you a curious listener? Get tips on how to truly connect with your teen through curiosity. We’ll take a look at when to ask the right questions and what you might want to ask.

Then, learn more about the pros and cons of the latest app to circulate among teenagers- the Gas app.

In this episode, we mentioned or used 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 has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

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Ep. 89: Revisiting Identity Formation

Ep. 89: Revisiting Identity Formation

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Summary:

In an excellent follow-up to last week’s episode with Dr. Borba, episode 89 revisits a topic from one of our most listened-to episodes. Identity formation.

As caring adults, it’s our job to help teens grow and develop. At the same time, it is essential that we let them find their own identities! Listen for important tips on when to hold on and how to let go.

In this episode, we mentioned or used 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 has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

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Ep. 88: Revisiting Developing Thrivers with Dr. Michele Borba

Ep. 88: Revisiting Developing Thrivers with Dr. Michele Borba

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Summary:

What takes a kid from being a “striver” to being a “thriver”?

Dr. Michele Borba is an educational psychologist, best-selling author, and TODAY show contributor who has spoken to over one million participants on five continents and to countless media about child development issues.

We know you’ll enjoy this episode from May 2021, when Chris talks with Dr. Borba about the 7 teachable traits that, when combined with a caring adult, become the keys to resilience.

In this episode, we mentioned or used 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 has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

Follow Us

Ep. 87: Revisiting TikTok

Ep. 87: Revisiting TikTok

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Summary:
Learn what makes Gen Z’s most popular app tick in this informative review of everything you need to know about TikTok over the last two years. Don’t miss the link to the Ultimate Adult Guide to TikTok here below.

In this episode, we mentioned or used 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 has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

Follow Us

Ep. 86: Staff Christmas Party

Ep. 86: Staff Christmas Party

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Summary:
Join us for a special episode where the Teen Life staff share their own Christmas traditions. Chris and Karlie are joined by Program Director, Tobin Hodges, and Development Director, Priscilla Morrison, who give their insights into ways to make the holidays fun (and less stressful) for the whole family.

In this episode, we mentioned or used 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 has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

Tobin Hodges

Tobin Hodges

Program Director

Tobin graduated with a Bachelors of Music from Texas Tech University. A teacher’s kid twice over, he taught for 13 years before coming to Teen Life. His entire career has been centered around helping students and teens from all walks of life become the best version of themselves

Priscilla Morrison

Priscilla Morrison

Director of Development

Director of Development Priscilla Morrison is a mother to two teenagers with a wealth of personal experience in managing relationships. She believes it is our moral obligation to prepare young adults to face life’s challenges.

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Why Apologizing Matters for You and Your Kids

Why Apologizing Matters for You and Your Kids

I overreacted last week.

I’m sure that seasonal stress and staying up to wrap presents was a factor. I realized about halfway in that my tone was harder than it would usually be, and I softened it. But I hadn’t tempered my initial reaction in the same way and my son was embarrassed. Not so much of me, but in general.

We were walking home and I said, “Hey, I’m sorry I embarrassed you in front of those kids. I didn’t mean to.”

He said, “I know.” “I love you,” I said. He said, “I know. I love you, too.” And we talked about why I was worried.

Later, I apologized to the other kid who had been there. He said, “Oh no. You were right. But thanks for apologizing.” And everyone played together at the park for a while.

As parents, it’s hard to keep a neutral tone sometimes. We’re wired to protect and defend our kids. We’re tired and often frustrated. We overreact.

Honestly, even about 2 minutes after it had happened, I could see in my head how I could have handled the situation better. But fight or flight had kicked in before I got there.

The older I get, the more fearless I’ve become in owning and repairing my mistakes. To own the areas where we could have improved and just say I’m sorry. It wasn’t something I learned as a child or a teenager. I was afraid of being wrong. Afraid of talking about it or seeming weak. It wasn’t until well into my twenties that I had the confidence to admit mistakes openly and fully own them. And I’m pretty sure I lost out on deeper connections, better self-esteem, and less shame.

I’m hoping my kids will grow up with the courage to fail and recover again and again. I wasn’t always brave enough to do it.

In my experience, there are a few key factors at play that make us brave in the face of our shortcomings.

  • Feeling loved.
    When kids and teens know that someone loves them unconditionally, they’re more willing to be wrong because their identity isn’t linked to perfection.
  • Recognizing that failure in one moment is not failure as a whole.
    This is often called a “growth mindset.” When we recognize that we can learn from our mistakes, we are better for it and we are more likely to keep trying until we succeed.
  • Realizing that the whole is too important to risk and failure to repair my mistakes would put it at risk.
    At Teen Life, we talk a lot about being shock-proof. For me, this hit home when I started my journey to become a better parent. The stakes are too high to risk that my teenagers might not come to me with big things like drugs, mental illness or pornography. Teens are facing some pretty serious obstacles on their way to healthy adulthood.

    If we overreact to smaller things along the way, how will they trust us with the things they really need help with?

    If they don’t see us recover and repair mistakes, how will they believe that they can do it too?

  • Putting people over pride.
    If we don’t learn to set aside our own pride (or shame) and sincerely apologize, we’re sacrificing relationships. But sincere vulnerability can strengthen them. It’s that simple.

Parenting is hard. It requires us to look in the mirror and own our imperfections- and give ourselves grace. Apologizing is part of that process. So our kids can learn to do the same, too.

Kelly Fann

Kelly Fann

Digital Media Manager

Kelly has lived in three countries and worked with teens across the world, encouraging them to pursue their passions and to be kind. She’s been refining messages and telling stories for brands and non-profits since 2009.

Ep. 85: Christmas Activities & New Movies

Ep. 85: Christmas Activities & New Movies

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Summary:
What Christmas traditions do you look forward to every year? Chris and Karlie share a plethora of great ideas for holiday traditions that will involve the teenagers in your family and create great memories for everyone. We’ve also got a great lineup of movies to see this season in theaters or on streaming. Be sure to stay tuned for our tip on how to make the holidays more meaningful.

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 has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

Follow Us