Tag - parenting

5 ways we misunderstand adolescents, according to brain science

Really good content hear talking about the negative stereotypes we usually give to teenagers.

There is a growing appreciation of adolescence as a time of rapid growth, learning and change. A decade of research studying adolescence makes clear to me the importance of clarifying the truth about this crucial stage of human development.

Here are some important misconceptions:

  1. We over-problematize

  2. We blame it on their brains

  3. We underestimate the brain’s capacity for learning and development.

  4. Calling them teenagers leads to misunderstanding

  5. We forget to see them as a force for good

Please click here for the entire article.

Designing Parents “Report Card”

If our goal is to be the best parents we can be we really need to know how we are actually doing. I am hoping to design a “report card” that we can give to our middle school & high school age children. The goal would be that we can see some areas we need to work harder on in our parenting. There would have to be at least a basic level of trust and openness in a home for a report card like this to be able to be given. I have a few questions I have put down below. Love to hear what other questions you think should be asked.

There would be 3 options for answers:

Always – doing well

Seldom – needs some improvement

Never – time for some serious change

My parent:

  1. Has told me they love me in the past week
  2. Show me that I am a priority in their lives by spending time with me
  3. Knows  and takes interest about my friends, my teachers, my life
  4. Is always willing to sit down and listen to whatever I have to talk about
  5. Is always trying to be a better parent to me
  6. Looks me in the eye when having conversations with me and is not staring at their computer or phone
  7. Is modeling good healthy eating strategies to me
  8. Is modeling good sleep habits for me
  9. Gives me clear expectations of things I need to do around the home (chores, garbage, walk dog etc)
  10. Give me advice on important issues in life (drugs, alcohol, pornography, sex, dating, etc)
  11. Has fun with by going for a walk, bike ride, out to dinner, movies etc.

If you are a student or a parent I would love to hear what you think needs to be changed.

Things we need to teach our kids – Help with list please

I am presently working on a list of things that we need to teach our kids for my new book. I want to give parents a large list of things we need to teach our kids. I am not going to do an age for each list item as different kids can do things at different ages. By the time your child is 18 they should be able to do all of these things. The list starts off with things for small toddlers and grows from there.

There are also only 4 options (in my opinion) for where we are in each category.

  1. Your child has successfully learned this item
  2. You are presently teaching your child how to do this
  3. You have not started teaching your child this item yet
  4. Your child knows how to do it but you do it for them – over-parenting

I would love to know what are some things I am missing. Please add in comments or send me a PM or an email.

Things that all children will need to learn at some point

  1. Put away your own clothes
  2. Use utensils properly
  3. Eat in a proper way. Mouth closed. Not talking while chewing etc
  4. Be able to blow their own nose
  5. Go to the bathroom on your own
  6. Put away their own toys
  7. Tie their own shoes
  8. Learn how to swim
  9. Brush their teeth
  10. Learn how to bath or shower themselves
  11. Put away towels after bath or shower
  12. Learn how to turn on and off the TV and other technology
  13. Learning the basics of money. Learning the difference between spending, saving, and giving
  14. Learn to say “Please” and “Thank-You”
  15. Learn how to ride a bicycle
  16. Learn how to vacuum, dust, sweep, clean windows, toilets etc
  17. Help clean up around the house
  18. Help set the table with cutlery, plates, glasses etc
  19. Learn how to cook
  20. Clear the table and do the dishes
  21. Take care of their pets
  22. Keep track of their school items.
  23. Wash a car
  24. Understand the basics of sex
  25. Change a flat/change snow tires
  26. Learn how to shovel the snow, put out salt
  27. Learn how to work in the garden, cut the lawn, trim trees, plant flowers
  28. Put air in a tire or their bike, basketball, soccer ball etc
  29. Be involved volunteering somewhere to better their community
  30. Get up in the morning without help from a parent
  31. Go to bed at a reasonable time without a parent
  32. Filling out paperwork for school or clubs. Parents should just be adding in information the kids don’t know or understand. Parents, of course, read it over when done before signing
  33. Doing the laundry. I did not say their laundry. If they are putting on laundry they can grab the family laundry basket and do a load or 2.
  34. Emailing adults like coaches or other adults with cancellations etc
  35. Do their own homework. If they need help from us as adults we are always there. This also does not mean we are talking to them about homework and seeing how they are doing. It is the idea that we are not going to hound them to get their homework done. But we will be involved in their education.
  36. Advocate for themselves at school and in society. If they get a grade that is incorrect they should be able to talk to the teacher in a respectful way and advocate for why they should get a better mark
  37. Understand proper respect for friends
  38. Learn proper use of technology. We often call this digital citizenship
  39. Learn how to drive
  40. Be involved with saving for post-secondary education
  41. Learning how to date properly. If dating is looking for a future spouse the end game is different than just looking for current companionship in life
  42. Take control of their own faith journey. They are not a Christian because their family is Christian. They should be a Christian because they believe it is true and decide to follow Christian faith for themselves.
  43. Take control of their own future. Choice of education, job etc
  44. Take control of the own extra curriculum activities.
  45. Learn how to take control of their personal fitness
  46. Learn about a proper diet
  47. Learn proper sleep hygiene (no screens before bed, cooler room etc)
  48. Directions in and around your town
  49. Learn how to address and use maps on a phone
  50. Learn how to ride bus, train, subway
  51. Go out for dinner on their own without parents and understand costs, taxes, tipping etc
  52. Learn how to control addictive tendencies of smartphones, video games etc. When do they have downtime from technology each day
  53. Learn how to deal with a cold, flu etc
  54. Learn how to travel without parents. Passports,
  55. Learn a good work ethic. Find a part-time job
  56. Learn how to talk to other adults.
  57. Learn how to talk to people in a dating relationship. Many men today are struggling with real-world relationships due to the extraordinary amount of time on video games
  58. Learn how to deal with teachers, bosses, other adults that they don’t like
  59. Learn how to deal with criticism
  60. Learn what to do if they do not know what to do

What am I missing?


#Navigating Everything


New Talk is out! Parenting: Navigating Everything

My new Parenting: Navigating Everything talk is now completed. Love a chance to speak this to your parents at your church, school, conference, camp, or other events.

We all want the best for our kids but which parenting information do we choose? With over 75,000 parenting books produced in the past 21 years and the many voices, articles and online resources available, the task of figuring out where to turn for parenting advice is overwhelming. Some foundational parenting questions all parents must consider:

What are Parenting Styles and which ones should I be using in my parenting?
How can I gain better communication skills and use them with my children?
What does spending time with my kids look like?
How do I effectively discipline my children?
Various aspects of home life also need addressing, with each section being a sizeable discussion on their own. In this talk I will look at where parents can begin these discussions, (on-ramps) and give them practical tools so they can effectively talk with their kids about all of the following areas:

  • Family Discipleship (how to raise our kids in our Christian faith)
  • Health (mental, emotional, physical)
  • Sexuality (pornography, dating, marriage)
  • Media (TV, movies, music, social media)
  • Drug / Alcohol use & abuse
  • Education
  • Finances

Let’s look together at how we can best help our kids navigate the world they are growing up in.

They will not be with me forever, so I prepare them accordingly. – Trophy Child, Ted Cunningham

Click here for the link to my website.

New poster is below


Marijuana addiction is real, and teenage users are most at risk

Completly agree with this article.

In the rush to legalize marijuana in Canada, medical experts are warning about weed’s alarming side, particularly for younger users

But after five years of heavy use, Savoie noticed his short-term memory was starting to fray. He avoided talking to people. Worse, festering feelings of anxiety and depression were growing. He tried to mask them with weed, deepening his dependency. He upended his life, quitting his job and breaking up with his girlfriend, trying to find the source of his depression. Nothing worked. “Maybe it’s the drug use,” he recalls thinking, “because I’m constantly relying on it.” (Research shows a link between cannabis use and depression, but causality isn’t clear.) By that time, Savoie was using dabs, a highly concentrated form of marijuana, and he was still grappling with depression. After a minor argument with his sister at the family cabin, Savoie fled and barrelled back to the city in tears. He called a friend to take him to a mental health clinic. Savoie, who had been prescribed antidepressants a couple of weeks earlier, spent two hours with a doctor and was told what he already suspected: he had a dependency on marijuana that was affecting his mental health, and he had to quit.
A survey conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), published last year, found that a majority of youth were unaware that cannabis can be addictive and lead to withdrawal symptoms.
Stats on this are something we all should take note of:

The risk of dependence among those who use marijuana is nine per cent (it’s 16 per cent for alcohol), and for those who start in adolescence, the risk rises to 16 per cent. “The more people who try it, the more people will become dependent,” says Anthony Levitt, chief of the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. “It’s unavoidable.”

It is always important to have good definitions:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders sets out a definition for cannabis dependence, including a strong desire to use marijuana, unsuccessful attempts to cut back and failure to fulfill obligations at work, school or home as a result.

Please take a few minutes to go through this long article from Macleans Magazine.

Click here for the entire article.