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The Resource Publication for Parents with Teenagers

Your Not-SoStereotypical Teen ResumĂŠs 101

Teen Resources

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e r e h


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Contents e l th

l i w

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a l b

e k ta

? r e h



The 411

Resumés 101


Back to the Future of Relationships

Teen Resources



Raising Responsible Teens

Talking About Substance Use




Parents, Teens & Driving Mothers & Daughters

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A Daughter’s Thoughts Your Not-SoStereotypical Teen 28

Island Parent Teens, published by Island Parent Group Enterprises Ltd., is an annual publication that honours and supports parents by providing information on resources and businesses for families, and a forum for the exchange of ideas and opinions. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. No material herein may be reproduced without the permission of the Editor. Island Parent Teens is distributed free in selected areas.

Island Parent Teens

830–A Pembroke St, Victoria, BC V8T 1H9 Tel: 250-388-6905 Website:

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Island Parent Magazine

Publisher/Owner: Mark Warner Editor: Sue Fast Advertising Consultant: RaeLeigh Buchanan Office Manager & Sales: Linda Frear Design & Layout: Eacrett Graphic Design Printed by Black Press ISsN 0838-5505 On the Cover: Beth R (13) & Luke R (7) Cover photo by Erin Wallis, Erin Wallis Photography,

Island Parent Teens 2018

Welcome to Island Parent Teens


mpulsive, reckless and emotionally unstable; driven by raging hormones. That’s the rap teenagers take when we fall back on clichés and stereotypes. But, according to Dan Romer, director of research at a public policy centre that studies adolescent risk-taking—and according to Tim Collins in his article “Your Not-SoStereotypical Teen” on page 28—it’s time to lay those stereotypes to rest. Romer, who studies teenage brains and teenage behaviour, says it’s been popular in some scientific circles to explain adolescent behaviour as the result of an imbalance in the development of the brain. But brain deficits, he says, don’t make teens do risky things; lack of experience and a drive to explore the world are the real factors. In an article for Smithsonian Magazine, Romer says “Risky behavior is a normal part of development and reflects a biologically driven need for exploration—a process

aimed at acquiring experience and preparing teens for the complex decisions they will need to make as adults.” Research suggests that adolescence and young adulthood is a heightened period of learning that enables our teens to gain the experience needed to cope with life’s challenges. “What adolescents lack is not so much the ability to control their behavior,” writes Romer, “but the wisdom that adults gain through experience. This takes time and, without it, adolescents and young adults who are still exploring will make mistakes.” So take a deep breath and hang on. “Teenagers are just learning to be adults,” writes Romer, “and this inevitably involves a certain degree of risk.” To help navigate the risks, this annual issue of Island Parent Teens is filled with valuable information, insights, and resources, along with words of wisdom/frustration/ elation and support.

You’ll find articles dealing with topics that range from the importance of talking to our teens about quality, fun and equal relationships, how to help our teens build strong and effective resumés, and a 15-year-old’s thoughts on the ever-evolving mother-daughter relationship, to talking

Sue Fast Editor’s Note

to teens about substance use, tips to help raise responsible young adults, and a look at parents, teens and driving. There’s also “The 411”—tips, facts, stats, and inspiration—along with Teen Resources listings. We hope that Island Parent Teens helps you in the job of guiding your teens into young adulthood. We welcome any comments or feedback at We also welcome your ideas, thoughts, suggestions and stories for our upcoming bi-annual Island Grandparent issue, on stands at the end of June.

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Spring 2018 5

411 The

Writes of Passage

…Teens’ Top 10 books, according to Young Adult Services Association: • Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan (Sourcebooks Fire) • Scythe by Neal Shusterman (Simon & Schuster) • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (Delacorte Press) • Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster) • This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (Sourcebooks Fire) • Heartless by Marissa Meyer (Macmillan Group) • P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (Scholastic) • Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch (Simon & Schuster) • Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout (Macmillan Group) • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (Flatiron Books) • For more reading ideas, visit

Post-secondary Learning Paths for Teens

After high school, most teens choose one of the following stepping stones to further learning: post-secondary education or training programs through colleges, institutes or universities; apprenticeship; finding work and learning on the job; volunteering; taking a year off to work, travel or just figure out next steps. Taking the time to think each one through, ask questions and come up with a plan can help teens make the right choice. While each path has its own benefits, it’s estimated that, between 2015 and 2025, 78 per cent of future job openings will require some form of post-secondary education and training. Resources such as Education Planner ( allow students to compare programs, admission requirements and student outcomes, and the BC Transfer Guide ( shows how courses and programs transfer within B.C. Then encourage your teen to talk to an academic advisor at school or at a post-secondary institution. B.C. has one of the most flexible post-secondary systems in Canada. B.C.’s transfer system allows students to begin their studies close to home and transfer credits they earn to another post-secondary institution. Planning is really important to ensure that credits can transfer. For more information, visit

From My Teens I Have Learned… • I need to be on Snapchat if I want to see what is going on in my teenagers’ lives. • A cell phone car charger is a life essential when teenagers are riding in my car (and anything less than 10 per cent battery power is a HUGE deal). • Pondering the answer to a question on my mind is foolish. Say the question out loud and my son will Google me the answer in a few seconds. • Teenagers don’t need a reason to try something stupid like shaving off an eyebrow or waxing an arm. “Just because” is a good enough reason. • Teenagers can’t hear their mothers’ voices when they are looking at their cell phone screens…they just can’t. From

6  Island Parent Magazine

“Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in.” Astronaut Chris Hadfield

We do not need magic to change the “world, we carry all the power we need

inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better. JK Rowling

6 Steps to Crossing Anything off Your Bucket List Tips for teens from Ben Nemtin, Co-Founder of The Buried Life & Four Peaks Media Group (from Huffington Post). 1. Stop and Think About It. Forget what you think you should do or what others say you should do. What excites you? What feels impossible? 2. Write It Down. Simply put, it’s not real until you write it down. By that I mean, take your dream and turn it into a project. Dreams have a funny way of staying dreams. But a project is something that needs to be done. 3. Talk About It. If you don’t talk about your list, no one can help you. Tell everyone you know. And don’t just talk about it, talk about it passionately. Enthusiasm is infectious and people want to help when given the chance. Help will show up in the most unexpected places. 4. Be Persistent. The simple truth is people fail because they stop trying. 5. Be Audacious. The majority of people don’t go after their wildest dreams because they think they’re unrealistic. Author Tim Ferriss says it well, “Ninety-nine percent of people believe they can’t do great things so they aim for mediocrity.” This means the level of competition is highest for realistic goals, therefore you have a better chance of achieving unrealistic goals because there is less competition ;) 6. Help Others. Not just because it fills you in a way that doing things for yourself does not but because it comes back to you. When people see you making a difference in the world they are more inclined to help you. The film Into the Wild says it best, “Happiness is only real when it’s shared.”

Island Parent Teens 2018

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy for the Whole Family

Biodynamic CST supports the emotional and physical wellbeing of teens. It helps to regulate the Triune Autonomic Nervous System, teaches them about stress management, improves quality of sleep, strengthens their sense of identity, and assists them in making good choices for themselves. All of these contribute to establishing optimizing living a meaningful and joyful life. BCST is beneficial for treating: Allergies Anxiety ADHD Behavioural issues Dentistry issues Depression Digestive Issues

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Spring 2018 7

Resumés 101


esumés are hard. And they are even harder when it’s your first kick at the job application process. It’s hard to tease out your skills and abilities when you have little to no professional experience, hard to articulate the experience you do have with the correct catchy language, and for some, hard to boast about yourself. But it’s also hard for potential employers to read them. Not only is it time consuming sorting through numerous applications to decide who rises to the top of the pile, but it is also discouraging to see easily avoidable mistakes sending others to the bottom. To help your teen build a strong, effective resumé, sit down together and talk about their strengths and past experiences. Then have them consider the following tips:

Find your experience.

When you’re new to the workforce, finding content to fill the glaring white page is the toughest part. Reflect on skills you’ve gained through paid work, school, clubs, sports, volunteering, and other extracurricular activities. Emphasize your talents in leadership, teamwork, communication, and technology. Mention special achievements, accomplishments, certifications, and your ability to speak a second language. Self-reflection and teasing out your skills and experience can be a challenge. Enlist the help of those close to you; they have a front row seat to your strengths and accomplishments. When applying for a specific job, share the job posting with them so they have an understanding of the skills and qualities required for the role.

Words matter.

After brainstorming and uncovering your skills and abilities, reframe them with dynamic and active language. Countless lists and examples are available online. When you organize your resume into categories, pick headings that accurately reflect what is to follow. Research the business or organization’s website and social media accounts to learn their terminology and buzzwords. There may be a way to integrate them into your documents.

Layout and design.

There are an overwhelming number of resumé formats online; pick one and be consistent. Balance the white space; try to avoid large white gaps or the opposite, filling every line, top to bottom, margin to margin. Keep the font classic, professional, and no larger than a point size of 12—good options include Calibri, Arial and Verdana. Your first resumé may only be one page, future resumés should be no more than two. Don’t forget to include your contact information—phone number and email are required, physical address is optional.

Cover letter.

Unless specifically asked not to, always include a cover letter. It is daunting and definitely time-consuming but this highlights why you are the right person for the job. It draws attention to how specific resumé points link with the potential employer’s expectations. Cover letter samples can easily be found online. Remember a cover letter focuses on

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what you bring to the employer not what the job will provide you. If the posting clearly states the hiring employee’s name, use it. Avoid “to whom it may concern” and “Dear Sir/Madam.”

Add sparkle.

Within your cover letter, compliment the business or organization, but only if it is genuine. Is there something about them you admire? Do their values align with yours? Do you follow them on social media? Did a particular post resonate with you? Mention a positive personal experience you have had with a product, an employee, or customer service. On your resumé, add one line or a short list about your interests and hobbies; also keep this genuine—a common interest might intrigue an employer.

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Spell check.

Even with technology helping us out by underlining spelling and grammar errors, relying on spell check is the most common mistake. Also keep in mind computers don’t account for unique people or company names. Double check; it’s awkward to receive an application with the business or employer’s name misspelled. Some employers may even be sticklers for Canadian/British spelling versus American.

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Start a master resumé.

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10  Island Parent Magazine

Start a chronological master resumé document to keep dates, work experience (including role, responsibilities, and skills), volunteer work, coursework, certifications, awards, and references together. As time progresses and your experience builds, this will be invaluable for jogging your memory and saving you time when tweaking applications for future job opportunities. Yes, you will need to tailor your cover letter and resumé to every single job you apply for.

Edit, spell check, and save.

Proofread again. Better yet, have a friend, family member, or teacher take a look. It is surprisingly easy to overlook your own errors. Editing tip—read your cover letter and resumé out loud. When you are confident they are ready, save your cover letter and resume in one PDF document. A PDF maintains your format ensuring what you worked so hard to create and perfect is the same design they receive. Creating one document also saves the recipient an extra click in their likely already busy day and should they wish to print, it reduces the chance one will be missed. Give the PDF a relevant file name combining the job and your name.


Have you checked and double checked grammar and spelling? Are you ready to submit? Follow the submission guidelines noted in the job posting. Doublecheck the email address, type a clear subject line referencing the position, type a few introductory sentences, and attach the PDF. To apply in person, staple your cover letter to your resumé, dress appropriately, and ask for the person listed on the application or the person in charge of hiring. Some larger companies may require you to complete an online application. Online forms contain fields you are to populate; have an updated resumé and cover letter content on hand to easily transfer the information. It may also ask you to upload a copy of your resumé.

A little extra note.

Po te n t i a l employers may check social media platforms, sometimes as a way to verify information or maybe out of simple curiosity. Do your social media profiles contain content you’re okay being seen by a prospective employer? The same goes for your email address and outgoing voicemail message—keep them professional. “If you’re not hiring them to write, why does it matter?” someone once countered when it came to my nit-picky approach to reviewing job applications. Perhaps, but diligence and attention to detail are important work attributes and your resumé is your first impression so put in some time and demonstrate you really care. Good luck and I hope you get the job.

Tina Kelly is the Director of Learning at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea. Island Parent Teens 2018

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Spring 2018 11

Back to the Future of Relationships I

always begin my parent education sessions by asking participants to reflect on their own experiences with sexuality and relationships as youth. Aside from a short break from the chaos of today’s world and a way to build connection through the sharing of funny stories, a trip down memory lane serves in supporting our youth. It reminds us that no matter how large the generation gap between us and our kids, we, too, have had many of the same feelings and experiences that our youth are having now. Reminding yourself of the many moments—the good, the not so good, and especially the awkward—that come along with young relationships grounds you in what you want your youth to know and experience. Do you remember your first “more than friends” relationship? That feeling of being so into someone, you could think of little else. The heart racing, palm sweating, cheek flushing response at the mention of their name, the sound of their voice or the sight of them in the hallway? Can you remember the intensity, the adrenaline, the excitement? I’m sure you can. The newness, the fascination, and the feelings of connection make up some of the most influential relationship experiences of our lives. As a sexual health educator who spends the majority of her days with youth between the ages of 13 to 25, facilitating and learning about all kinds of wild and wonderful things, I know our youth need direction from their parents/adult allies about relationships more now than they ever have. Yes, we definitely need to be talking about menstrual cups, IUDs, gender identity, orientation, chlamydia, and pornography. While all of these topics are important—you’re not off the hook!—our youth need conversations about quality, fun, and equal relationships.

Every day, the amazing youth I work with challenge me to answer tough and real questions. The toughest of those questions always revolve around relationships: “How do you know if your relationship is a good one?”…“How do you know if your partner wants the same things you do?”…“How do you know when you’re ready to take the relationship to the next level?” and “How do you tell someone that your feelings have changed without hurting them?”

Jennifer Gibson For me, these are the questions that I struggle with the most to answer because they’re so personal, complex, and significant to their future. Relationship education is the real-life messy subject that often mystifies youth the most. They often lack experience and self-knowledge but they make up for this in curiosity and desire for these types of connections. Parents and close adult allies can be the best sources of relationship support and information because you know your youth so well and you can tailor information to their personalities and abilities, and


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connect it to your own family and cultural values. This is the information youth will be using as a foundation for the most important and influential experiences of their lives. In our education sessions, parents often ask me for tips on how they should be talking to their kids about modern relationships. What should they be including and

Spring 2018


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Send Us Your Stories! Island Parent is looking for articles for upcoming issues. Some of our best content comes from people just like you—Vancouver Island parents who are passionate about their families and are dealing with the day to day issues of raising children in our community. Share your experiences, your thoughts on a particular issue, your ideas on places to see or projects to do—anything related to parenting. Check our Writer’s Guidelines at for specific information on submissions. We’d love to hear from you. Please email submissions to

what should they be leaving out? Based on the most successful conversations I have with youth about relationships, here’s a summary of the basic yet essential healthy relationship ingredients to include in these conversations. The nine ingredients are easily summarized by the slightly cheesy, but really effective acronyms: SHARE and CARE:


Both people feel physically and emotionally safe with each other. You’re comfortable to set and respect boundaries even if those may be different than their own and they work to support the safety the other needs.


Honesty in a relationship means you are able to be honest with yourself about your feelings, boundaries, and decisions and you’re able to be honest with your partner, your friends and your family about your relationship while still maintaining privacy.


Relationships aren’t passive experiences. People in relationships need to be aware of their actions and how they can impact the others inside and outside of the relationship and be considerate of the other person’s feelings and experiences.


You demonstrate respect for your partner’s boundaries, beliefs, values, sexuality, family rules and personal space and they do that in return. You are also respectful of yourself within the relationship.


Both partners share equal power in the relationship in terms of decision making, boundary setting, and commitment and you work together to manage the power within the relationship, especially in the not-so-easy moments.


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Both partners develop a decision making process and communication style that works for their relationship. They create space to talk about boundaries and what they want, what feels good, and what doesn’t. There is no pressure to move beyond these boundaries.


When you’re in a healthy relationship, you accept yourself and feel accepted by your Island Parent Teens 2018

partner. Whatever differences you have, you’re able to talk about them and find a way to understand and accept them.


Both partners bring personal and shared responsibility to the relationship. This includes sharing responsibility for the happiness of the relationship.


You feel content in the relationship. You enjoy spending time with your partner but you can still manage and enjoy the other commitments in your life like your schoolwork, family, friends and other activities. Your personal feelings of happiness and identity are separate from your partners, not dependent on it. In this era of anything but subtle messages about sexuality, unprecedented access to (mis)information, the lack of healthy relationship modeling, and daily disclosures of sexualized harm and violence, it is more important than ever to ensure that we invest our time and energy in relationship conversations. Youth can’t and shouldn’t be getting relationship education from Riverdale or anything else they’re binge watching on Netflix. They deserve to have fulfilling successful relationships and they crave the guidance to achieve this. We need to use our own experiences combined with these nine healthy relationship ingredients to guide them. We must ask teens what they think, what they want, and what they want to feel like when they’re in a relationship. Most importantly, we need listen to what they’re sharing with us and what they are asking us (especially when it’s “for a friend”). We must talk with them about our hopes for their relationships, our personal values, and family guidelines in the most comfortable and open ways possible. And the place to begin is with the little trip down memory lane which will inevitably bring you back to the future. DeLorean and Marty McFly not included.

Jennifer Gibson, MA, is also known as “The Sex Lady”— officially now for 15 years in Greater Victoria!—to the thousands of amazing youth and adults she is lucky to educate and learn with through her job as the Coordinator of Community Education at Island Sexual Health. She’s passionate about making sexuality education as positive, fun and non-cringe-able as possible.

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Spring 2018 15

Teen Resources Dance/Drama SKAM School of Performing Arts offers young people with a dramatic interest or passion, special courses and programs which run fall, winter, spring and summer. The studio is highly regarded in Victoria for running quality theatre programing for youth. There is something offered for all levels and each term, students will have an opportunity to perform their work for an audience at the end! Groups are small for quality instruction. For more information, call 250-386-8593 or email katerubin@telus. net.

16  Island Parent Magazine

blend of activities and action that make it the perfect place for a day of family fun. All Fun features the only batting cages on the Island, along with go-kart raceway, 18 holes of adventure mini-golf, a motocross track, an RV park and Western Canada’s longest operating auto racing facility. Visit the track on Sunday morning for the All Fun Swap & Shop, a great open-air family shopping experience. Ask about group rates, birthday parties, and special event packages. 2207 Millstream Rd. or westernspeedVictoria Academy of Ballet was estab- 250-474-1961. lished in 1990 and is under the ownership and direction of Bleiddyn Del Villar Bellis, Winner of BC’s Remarkable Experience FCSC-CICB. VAB offers specialized dance Award, the Horne Lake Caves is a natuinstruction to children ages 3 to Profes- ral jewel and one of the coolest family sional level. VAB is a registered Vocational adventures on Vancouver Island. This park Institution with its two-year, full time has wild adventure both above and below Bridge Program for high school graduates ground. Start with a video in Canada’s only designated with the BC Private Training Cave Theater and then hike and explore the Institutions Branch. 716 Johnson Street. crystal-filled caverns. Tours depart every 250-590-6752. day, year-round. Prefer your adventures above-ground? Try a rock rappelling session designed for beginners. Lakefront camping and canoe rentals are also available within Family Fun walking distance. All Fun Karts, Cages and Camping at Western Speedway offers an exciting

Island Parent Teens 2018

Health Cowichan Valley Craniosacral. Christina Hamill RCST® has a biodynamic CST family practice in Duncan supporting clients in establishing a baseline of health during all stages of life: gestation, pregnancy, birth, infancy, parenthood, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and palliative. BCST is beneficial in the treatment of: allergies, anxiety, ADHD, chronic pain, dentistry issues, digestive issues, headaches/migraines, hormonal imbalances, injuries, learning disabilities, mental health issues, orthodontic issues, posture, sleep issues, stress, TMJ disorder, trauma, and more… cowichancraniosacral. com 250-748-5551.

Orthodontists Dr. F. Edward Murdoch and his team at Ocean’s Edge Orthodontics love creating beautiful, confident smiles using the latest technology and processes. Practicing in our

community since 1996, Dr. Murdoch is passionate about orthodontics and preventative dentistry, and is now excited to be an Elite provider of Invisalign, plus the top provider of Invisalign Teen on Vancouver Island!

Schools Aspengrove School in Nanaimo teaches the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, a gold-standard in education worldwide, in junior K through graduation in grade 12. The IB is outstanding preparation for university, teaching independence, organization, and perhaps most important, the ability to live and work in community. Students graduating with the IB Diploma can see their work recognized by universities such as UVic and UBC for up to a full-year of credits. Learn more about our entrance scholarships at

In many ways, Discovery School is like any other school. We are Ministry inspected and have bright cheerful classrooms where children study the BC core curriculum. What makes us unique is that we are dedicated entirely to helping students with learning disabilities. Here elementary, middle and high school students work at their own pace in small classes under the direction of skilled, experienced teachers. For more information, please visit discoveryschool. ca, or call 250-595-7765. Get credit for what you’re interested in! At Oak and Orca School and DL, we work to connect your interests to the BC curriculum—for credit. Through inquiry-based learning, students and teachers work to co-create a program unique to each individual. Bring your passions and together we will design a school experience where you can explore what you love and work on skills tailored to your plans. Options on-site in Victoria and at home. Special education students welcome. Oakandorca. ca. 250-383-6609.

Spring 2018 17

Pacific Christian School invites you to come and explore “Educational Excellence to the Glory of God” from pre-school through grade 12. We strive to nurture students in Christ-like living, critical thinking and joyful service to be faithful citizens in God’s world. Call us for a tour today. 250479-4532.

St. Margaret’s School is an all-girl, independent, day and boarding school located in Victoria. Established in 1908, SMS provides empowering education for girls from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12. Our rigorous academic program emphasizes STEM and leadership at all levels, and is supported by rich experiential learning and co-curricular opportunities. NEW 5-day boarding option for nearby families. Ask us about our entrance scholarships for local teens (Deadline: April 30, 2017). 250-479-7171.

Westmont Montessori’s Middle School helps students learn how to learn and trust their own ability to discover and think logically. Fostering curiosity and self-motivation, we challenge students to become independent thinkers, to think deeply, and to think about others. Westmont’s Montessori Middle School program connects students with themselves and the world around them. Visit, or better yet, come past our beautiful campus on Thursdays to see our program in action. 250-474-2626.

Education Services & Programs Math4me, BC’s premiere tutoring and supplemental education program has been operating since 2010 and now has 15+ locations all over BC. Updated BC curriculum is followed and help is offered in all subjects including Math, English, Science, Socials and French. With a vision to make tutoring affordable and effective for all families, tutoring fees are between $8- $15/hr. Thou18  Island Parent Magazine

sands of parents have improved their kids’ grades with us and children have entered reputed universities with scholarships. Students build competitive advantage by learning ahead and our research based programs have been customized for individual students. In addition, information about scholarships, volunteer opportunities and career guidance is offered to ensure a successful post secondary career for students. 250-589-9995. Founded in 1984, Oxford Learning uses innovative approaches to learning that have helped over one million students reach their educational goals. Customized programs based on the science of cognitive development help children to develop the skills that they need to succeed in school while they develop the confidence that they need to succeed in life. It’s never too late to get started! For more information visit or contact Oxford Learning Victoria at 250-477-5550 or What makes Smart Tutor Referrals unique in Victoria? Firstly, we were founded in 2002 in Victoria. Since then, we have tutored over 1,000 local students. Being local, we are familiar with the challenges local students face. Secondly our service is student-focused. Only the best matched tutor is selected; it’s always about suitability not availability. Thirdly, all our tutors have both experience and at least a Bachelor degree to work with us. Many have Masters as well as experience and qualifications in learning challenges. We are proud of our commitment to Victoria and our many, successful, long-term relationships with students and their families. Total Learning Services (TLS) is a unique tutoring service in Victoria. TLS is dedicated to improving quality of life through effective clinical reading programs for children, teens and adults (age of clients- five to fifty). The reading process can be a frustrating struggle for my clients; most times it is affecting their daily lives. As a reading specialist, I use strategies that make the reading process fun and easy. Achievement testing is done to determine the areas of the reading process which are of the greatest concern. My programs have changed the lives of many. Pediatrician recommendation. For your free consultation,

contact Brenda Osadchy, B.Ed. M.SpEd. 778440-0997 or totallearningservices2014@

Parent Support

Canucks Autism Network (CAN) provides sports and rec programs to individuals and families with autism, while raising autism awareness and providing training in communities throughout BC. Programs for youth (13-17yrs) and young adults (18+yrs) with autism include weekly swim lessons and monthly social events and year-round family events in Victoria, Nanaimo and Cowichan Valley. To register for programs, become a CAN member for $25 per year. Visit! Vancouver Island Psychological Services is a large practice of experienced, professional psychologists with two locations in Victoria. We provide a safe, respectful, and compassionate environment where people can access treatment and support for their emotional and mental health needs. We help teens, children, adults, couples and families by providing psychotherapy services and by offering psychological, psycho-educational and neuropsychological assessments. Many extended health plans provide coverage for our services. 250-727-7060.

Recreation Let your child experience everything you hope for them. Camp Pringle is more than just an amazing week of fun; our trained and screened leaders provide safe place for children to develop socially, mentally, physically and spiritually. Spring Break Camp for ages 7-123 at only $460 + GST, Sunday to Friday with meals provided by our dietary Chef Lorri; you will love Camp Pringle. Visit for easy online registration or call 250-743-2189. Camp Qwanoes is a youth-oriented highadventure Christian camp celebrating 52 years of adventure on Vancouver Island. We are fully accredited and maintain standards of the highest quality. Choose from week-long co-ed camps for Juniors, Junior Highs, and Senior Highs, plus Family ReIsland Parent Teens 2018

treats. Seeking to encourage, challenge, and develop the entire person, our well-rounded programs include over 75 activities, stimulating speakers, music & singing, Bible study, firesides, and of course pure fun! Qwanoes is an ideal place for fun-filled, life-changing adventure. Watch our video at summer/media. Order a free brochure at 1-888-997-9266 or

Outward Bound Canada. Get Out. Look In. Since 1969, Outward Bound Canada has made it our mission to cultivate resilience, leadership, connections and compassion, through inspiring and challenging journeys of self-discovery in the natural world. Outward Bound Canada has challenged over 150,000 Canadians to step out of their comfort zone with our unique outdoor adventures. We pride ourselves on offering transformational journeys that encourage participants to push beyond their limits and discover their true potential. 1-888-OUTWARD (688 9273).

Scouts Canada: Adventure and Leadership Development. Scouts Canada promotes youth leadership and empowerment through its unique programming that teaches life and outdoor skills, friendship and the value of community involvement. The coed program offers opportunities ranging from international travel, vocational programs like medical services, and fun Scouting activities like hiking, camping, scuba diving, climbing, and sailing! To try the program for free, visit and click on “Join” to connect with a group near you. Westshore Motorcross Park offers dirt bike rentals and lessons for all ages. Learn to ride programs range from $35 to $50 and include bike safety gear and lesson. Kids and teens are known to love this sport for its adrenaline pumping excitement. Groups, birthday packages, summer and spring camps. Open year round. Tuesday-Friday, 11am-8pm or dusk, Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm. 2207 Millstream Road. 250-590-8088.

check out the teen section of our Activity Guide. Get your babysitting credentials, update your resume or take an Aspiring Artist workshop. There is always something fun happening in the West Shore. For information on teen programs and Friday Night Drop-In email acooper@westshorerecreation or call 250478-8383. Find us on Facebook; facebook. com/westshorerecreation. West Shore Parks & Recreation 1767 Island Highway, Victoria BC.


Foster Parent Support Services There are over 1,000 children in care on Vancouver Island. Can you help just one? Children and youth who are unable to live with their families need a temporary home, a safe haven while they and their families heal and become strong. Maybe fostering is something you’ve never thought about. West Shore Parks & Recreation offers Maybe you’ve thought about it for a long wide range of programs for all ages. If you time. Maybe now it’s time. It begins with are looking for quality youth programs a phone call. Go to today.•

Spring 2018 19

Healthy Families, Happy Families

Child, Youth & Family Public Health South Island Health Units Esquimalt Gulf Islands

250-519-5311 250-539-3099

(toll-free number for office in Saanichton)

Peninsula 250-544-2400 Saanich 250-519-5100 Saltspring Island 250-538-4880 Sooke 250-642-5464 Victoria 250-388-2200 West Shore 250-519-3490

Raising Responsible Teens A

s children become teenagers they usually want more independence from their parents. At the same time, parents often expect more responsibility from their teenagers. While this is a normal part of growing up, there can be problems if changes in demands and expectations aren’t well managed. Helping teenagers become independent and responsible at the same time is the real goal. Independence and responsibility are best thought of as two sides of the same issue. As teenagers

skills needed. Family decisions can include a range of issues from what meal to cook to more serious issues such as moving. Family meetings may be useful for these more important issues. 2. Being respectful and considerate. If teenagers learn to be considerate to members of their family, they are more likely to develop good relationships with other people. Some ways to encourage respect are to be respectful yourself with your teen, praise your teen when they are polite,

demonstrate increased responsibility, they are given increased independence. Triple P—the Positive Parenting Program suggests that there are six ingredients for teenagers becoming mature young adults who are valued and healthy family members: 1. Taking part in family decisionmaking. Teenagers need to learn how to make good decisions. By involving them in family decision-making they can learn the

remind your teenager to be polite and help your teenager follow reasonable requests. 3. Being involved in family activities provides opportunities for sharing and spending time talking together. Teenagers can also learn some useful skills for when they leave home and need to manage on their own. Set aside time to plan and do things together but avoid arranging the activity occurring at the same time as something

Central Island Health Units Duncan Ladysmith Lake Cowichan Nanaimo Nanaimo Princess Royal Parksville/ Qualicum

250-709-3050 250-755-3342 250-749-6878 250-755-3342 250-755-3342

Port Alberni Tofino

250-731-1315 250-725-4020


North Island Health Units Campbell River 250-850-2110 Courtenay 250-331-8520 Kyuquot Health Ctr 250-332-5289 ‘Namgis Health Ctr 250-974-5522 Port Hardy 250-902-6071 20  Island Parent Magazine

Island Parent Teens 2018

your teen enjoys such as a favourite show or social event. 4. Developing a healthy lifestyle. Encourage good personal habits in your teenagers such as cleanliness, orderliness, self-discipline, exercise, and diet. Check your expectations and model this behaviour. 5. Being reliable. Teenagers who are reliable can be trusted. Show interest in your teen’s activities by having conversations with them every day about doing what they say they will do, ensuring they are where they say they will be, ensuring they are spending time with people they say they will be with, asking them to come home at the agreed time, and asking them to contact you if plans change. Problem-solve any obstacles

Ch i ld Yo ut h & Fa mily P u b l ic H e a lt h

Cindy Knott

to meeting these commitments by discussing the commitment, what prevented them from meeting it, what they might have done differently, and how they might meet their commitment next time. 6. Being assertive. Being assertive is somewhere between being timid and being aggressive and means not being pushed around or pushing others around. Encourage your teenager to state their wishes and to clearly and calmly make requests or express their views. Show them what being assertive looks like by modelling the behaviour. Keep track of whether they are being assertive or not and if you see them being assertive, acknowledge their efforts. Practice with your teen and help them to learn to manage their emotions. Don’t get upset if your teen makes mistakes as they struggle to become independent and take on adult responsibilities. Think back to how it was for you when you were that age. Most teenagers eventually leave home and lead independent lives, and maintain healthy links with their parents. For more Triple P tips and ideas for all ages and stages of development or to find Triple P services in your community, visit or Cindy Knott has worked for more than 25 years supporting children and families in Manitoba and now in British Columbia. She is currently the Vancouver Island Triple P Coordinator and an adoption social worker.

The Island’s Hidden Jewel


Open Year Round

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The support you need for the life you want. BeConnected supports children, youth and adults to lead rich lives in community. · · · · · · · · ·

Residential Services for children, youth and adults Home Share Services Supported Living Options Respite Services for children, youth and adults Community Inclusion Services Employment Services Host Agency Services Personalized Supports Initiative Other Services and Supports for Individuals and Families Victoria and surrounding communities, the Southern Gulf Islands, the Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, the Comox Valley and Campbell River. ve e’ W           Contact Us! Moved!

Victoria 240—4243 Glanford Ave Duncan 202—321 Festubert St Phone 250-727-3891 Phone 250-748-3858 Find us on facebook! Spring 2018 21

Talking About Substance Use


s a service provider to youth, young adults and families, one of the common questions I hear from parents and caregivers is around drugs. Namely, what drugs are youth in our communities using, and why. Needless to say, the latter question is far too complex to cover in one article. All people use substances for a variety of understandable reasons. Why, however, do we see one drug more popular than another in our community? Substance use patterns vary from province/coast/community. This is often a matter of basic economics. Drug supply is steered by demand—youth and young adults are savvy and intelligent consumers and if they want to get high they will seek out what is easily accessible and cost-effective. Whatever is currently flooding our com-

pipe or bong) or eaten in the form of edibles. Notable: Shatter is a form of cannabis concentrate that provides a stronger high, usually smoked, and looks like honey. When warm, it has a honey consistency, and when cold it is hard and can be broken like glass (hence the name). Also notable: “mauling” is a common term for combining tobacco and cannabis and taking a large inhalation munity market is going to be the drug that (toke or hoot) which then provides a head is cheaper, easier to get than alcohol and rush sensation. cigarettes, and as a result, trending. To help support parents and families in starting a conversation around substance use, I am providing a basic guide of what drugs we see used by young folks on the Island, including different names people use for each drug, a brief explanation, and some notable facts. I will not be including alcohol or tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco) in this list, though acknowledge that they are commonly used drugs. Cocaine (Coke, Blow)/

Lorna Mace

Cannabis (Marijuana, Pot, Weed, Ganja, Kush, Shatter).

Derived from the cannabis plant, a psychoactive drug. Provides a feeling of calmness, heightened senses. Commonly used by smoking (in the form of a joint, in a

CISV educates and inspires action for a more just and peaceful world

Local and international programmes starting at age 11 right through to 19+promote youth leadership development, multi-cultural awareness and global citizenship Make new friends Learn new things And we have lots of FUN!

22  Island Parent Magazine

Crack Cocaine (Crack).

Strong stimulant. Provides a feeling of intense happiness, confidence, and agitation. Cocaine comes in powder form, usually snorted through the nose or dissolved through a process and injected into a vein. Crack Cocaine is a crystallized, free base form of cocaine that is usually smoked or dissolved through a process then injected into veins. Provides a short but intense high.

Cough Syrup with Codeine (Lean, Sizzurp, Purple Drank).

Cough syrup used in a manner that is inconsistent with how it is recommended on label, usually in excess. Codeine is an opioid. Often combined with carbonated beverages and hard candies for flavor. Notable: In case of opioid overdose Naloxone (also goes by brand name Narcan) can be used to reverse the effects of the overdose. Naloxone is distributed for free throughout British Columbia, go to for more information).

Cough Syrup with Dextromethorphan (DXM, Dex, DM, Robo).

Cough syrup also used in a manner inconsistent with how it is recommended, and in excess. Has dissociative, stimulating and sedating properties at higher doses.

Crystal Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth, Meth, Side, Jib, Shard, Ice, Glass).

Strong stimulant. Provides increased energy and attention, euphoria. Highly addictive properties. Comes in crystallized Island Parent Teens 2018

chunks, can be smoked, broken into powder community as a painkiller in the form of a and inhaled through the nose, or dissolved patch (placed on skin). In the recreational through a process and injected into veins. community it is sold in powder form. Notable: In case of opioid overdose Naloxone Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB, G). (also goes by brand name Narcan) can be Commonly used in the form of a chemi- used to reverse the effects of the overdose. cal salt which is taken in clear liquid form. Naloxone is distributed for free throughout Often dosed in caps of the bottle it’s stored British Columbia, go to in (for example, poured from a used water for more information). bottle into the cap and swallowed). Taken recreationally with effects similar to those of Xanax (Xannie, Bars). alcohol. Notable: because GHB is an odourA benzodiazepine in pill form, usually less clear liquid, it can be used as a “date rape” taken orally. Provides an extreme calming drug and given to people without consent. sensation, drowsiness. Prescribed in mediThat said many people in the community cal community to relieve anxiety, but the use it recreationally, with full consent, with name now extends to describe powdered intent to enjoy the experience. Also notable: benzodiazepines brought into the country, the combination of alcohol and GHB can be pressed into pills, and distributed illicitly. especially risky, and folks should be warned to not use in combination. 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphet-

Heroin (Down, Pants)/Fentanyl.

An opioid, powder form. Heroin is derived from opium, but now on Vancouver Island and throughout BC is usually cut partially or completely with Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is prescribed in medicinal

amine (MDMA, Ecstasy, Molly, M).

A psychoactive drug usually used recreationally. Causes feelings of emotional warmth and increased self-awareness, increased extroversion (feeling less shy, less inhibited) and can heighten enjoyment from sensory experiences.

Come Ride With Us!

Dirt Bike Birthday Parties We supply everything: Bike • Gear • Riding Lesson for ages 6yrs to adults over 30 bikes to choose from

Westshore Motocross Park No experience necessary 2207 Millstream Rd, Langford

250 590 8088

Helpful Resources Toward the Heart: A project of the provincial harm reduction program, a service of the BC Center for Disease Control. Discovery Youth and Family Substance Use Services—Island Health: Community-based counseling for youth, parents and families. Let’s Talk: Speaking with our kids about substance use, an Island Health resource for parents/ caregivers. web.pdf Family Smart “In The Know” Webinar Series: Numerous helpful webinars, including talking to youth about substance use. Government of British Columbia—Mental Health and Substance Use Supports: Resources for information, support and treatment for substance use and mental health supports.

Victoria Youth Clinic is becoming Foundry Victoria. This means the Victoria Youth Clinic, along with Need2 Suicide Prevention Education and Support, Island Health— Early Psychosis Intervention, and Island Health—Discovery Youth And Family Substance Use Services, will be expanding services for young people ages 12-24. Over the next few months, Foundry Victoria will be working with partners to include more walk-in services, services for mental health assessment, counseling and groups, substance use counseling, peer support, youth and family engagement, and social services. Lorna Mace is an Outreach Worker at the Victoria Youth Clinic, which will soon be Foundry Victoria.

Does your child have difficulty reading? • can’t read words just read earlier • letter reversal • symptoms of dyslexia • “sounds out” words but can not blend them correctly • confuses similar sounding words • avoids reading/poor speller I offer an effective program that works! Call for more information or to arrange your individualized one-on-one tutoring solution.

Brenda Osadchy, BEd, MSp.Ed. 778-440-0997 Spring 2018 23



ST. ANDREW’S REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL ANNOUNCES EXTENSIVE SCHOOL RENOVATION St. Andrew’s is a co-ed 8 to12 Catholic high school in Victoria, BC. This Summer the school will undergo seismic upgrades and in the Spring of 2018 a major renovation and expansion will begin!

Why students are excited: • Large and modern art room • Food lab with six kitchen stations • State-of-the-art multi purpose room and new classrooms • Innovative gathering places for students both inside and out • Technology to support 21st-century learning • Natural lighting

• New Fine Arts wing • Music and Drama rooms with practice facilities and performance capabilities • Fitness centre and change rooms • Beautiful new chapel • Upgrading of athletic field and new basketball court

2017 graduating student Liam Keane was awarded a rowing scholarship to the Ivy League School Dartmouth College. Many of our former students have moved on to successful careers in the fine arts (for example, Ken Lavigne, one of the original three Canadian Tenors).



Percentage, on average, of students accepted to post secondary institutions.

Faith-based education encouraging the formation of citizens with a value-driven work ethic, compassion, and service to others.


250-479-1414 | |

24  Island Parent Magazine

Island Parent Teens 2018

Parents, Teens & Driving I

remember all too well the moment I wrecked my mom’s Subaru. It wasn’t a huge crash, but it did some damage to the passenger-side door and set my new driver’s confidence back for weeks. We were in Duncan on a miserably rainy day, and we were stopped at a blind corner near the railroad tracks. There was traffic coming from the left and I couldn’t see past the car parked on my right. The longer I sat there with my mom in the passenger seat, the more antsy I got to move before the person behind me honked. I thought I saw an opening and went for it, but surprise! There was a pickup truck coming from my right. I gunned it but there wasn’t enough time. My mom’s poor old Subaru got T-boned. I got lucky. Though the accident was entirely my fault, the man I cut off was only a little angry. I think he softened a bit when he saw 16-year-old me bawling on the sidewalk. After we exchanged insurance information, I told my mom that I was not getting back in that car. “Oh yes you are,” she said. “We’re not going home until you get back behind the wheel.” She told me about something that happened when she learned to drive years ago, and that she, too, swore she would never drive again. But Grandpa wouldn’t let her get away with that and she had to get back on the horse to shake the fear of falling off. I drove us home with the fresh new dent and broken bumper, and for weeks I was mad at my mom for making me drive. My driving anxiety stayed with me for a few more years until I got to know my own little car and how it worked. Now, my anxiety is little more than an afterthought. But that begs the question: is it a good idea to take your teen out for driving practise? There are plenty of jokes about the nervous parent in the passenger seat as their eager 16-year-old grips the wheel with a devilish grin and takes off at hair raising speeds. I’m sure the anxiety is strong, considering the seriousness of some car crashes. Here is your kid going out into the world in this big metal box, a kid who will encounter other

drivers, pedestrians, distractions, and more. My guess is that parents, when they get into the “death seat,” are there because they want to make sure their kids become responsible drivers, people who know all the rules of the road and is able to respond appropriately. Parents have all the best intentions. But that doesn’t change the fact that I, and many of my peers, consider driving with our parents in the car to be one of the most stressful experiences we’ve ever had. In contrast to the careless maniac child, there is also the over-reacting parent that grabs for the roof handle at every gentle turn and shrieks whenever the driver goes over 50km/hr. Personally, my driving experience involved a lot of nervousness and more than a few handle-grabs. I fed off the nervousness of my parents and as a result was afraid to make any sort of mistake. But then my parents decided to sign me up for professional driving lessons. Suddenly there was a stranger in the passenger seat, not my mom who, on more than one occasion, told me to “Go. Go. Go now! Go!” My teachers had seen it all, done it all, had their lives flash before their eyes as their students panicked and made a left turn in front of an oncoming semi-truck. I was hardly the worst student they’d seen. Once again, I fed off their energy and (very) slowly began to gain confidence. I took lessons with three different teachers right up until it was time to take my driver’s test. Thanks to those teachers, I passed without any trouble. I won’t say that my parents shouldn’t have taken me out for driving practise—that isn’t true. Helping your child learn to drive is one of those essential life experiences, just like potty training or riding a bike. What I am saying, though, is that there are definitely benefits to professional driving lessons. The experience of learning how to drive is different for everyone. I consulted my friends and coworkers about their teenage driving lessons and for the most part, the response was the same; parental help has

its benefits, but so do professional lessons. One of my coworkers said that his father made him feel comfortable in a vehicle, but professional lessons taught him technical tricks that his parents didn’t know. While parental guidance can be helpful with “realistic” driving, lessons are great for driving tests. A friend of mine from Japan told me that in her hometown, teens can’t learn to drive until they’re 18, and even then they can’t drive in public until after they

Emily Collis pass their Learner’s test. Only after they’ve completed the full course and gotten their permanent license—at the total cost of up to $3,000—can they drive with others in the car, including their parents. Driving requirements in Japan, due in part to the highly populated urban areas, are very strict. Another friend told me he’d never been taught how to drive, either by his parents or by professionals, he simply taught himself. At age 13, living in Nova Scotia, he said he knew how to handle a vehicle. Once he reached 16, he got his motorcycle license with no issues. He said that, as a young driver, he had navigated a “four leaf clover” (aka, a four-circle roundabout) without breaking a sweat. He drove illegally until he was 19 when he was stopped by the police and fined $300 for driving without a proper license. Only afterwards did he go and get a driving license. “That’s the bad boy perspective,” he said. “Not recommended.” In retrospect, there are many things to learn about driving, some of which can be taught by parents and some of which are better left to the professionals. Though the experience of driving with a parent in the passenger seat can be stressful for teens, there are benefits. And for those teens that feel that they might never be comfortable behind the wheel no matter who’s teaching them how to drive, take it from me, it gets easier with practise. Emily Collis is a recent graduate from the University of Victoria, born and raised on Vancouver Island. Though she is currently immersed in the working world, she aspires to eventually publish her young adult adventure series. Spring 2018 25

Mothers & Daughters The relationship you have with your daughter will go through massive changes during her teen years. It can happen gradually as she tells you less and less about her life or it can come on like a clap of thunder as she calls you a bitch and slams her bedroom door. Either way, at some point, in some form or another, your daughter has to turn away from you. It hurts. How can this child, who you have given so much love and support to, look at you as if she can’t stand you? Understanding what the behavior is about can help—sort of. But getting this on an intellectual level doesn’t always soothe the pain, real pain that comes up during this time. Be prepared; your own vulnerable, inner child will surface as you face the rejection. Even though you get it, you will find times that you can’t do what the parenting books tell you to do. At that point, you will hear yourself lecturing and yelling at your daughter or find yourself melting into a puddle of tears. You might feel like punishing her by pulling back and closing your own door, but that won’t leave you feeling grounded or living in your own integrity. Like it or not, when there is a relationship challenge, it calls on the parent to figure it out, kids can’t. They aren’t able to gracefully tell you that they are trying to individuate so that they can develop a sense of self. They don’t know how to say things like, “I know you are trying to help me but your parenting feels intrusive right now.” It’s not going to happen like that so brace yourself. Daughters often individuate right in front of their mother’s faces by arguing, swearing, criticizing, stonewalling and lying. Boys are a bit different, they get lost in their rooms with video games or take off and find goofy stuff to do. This is a time for you, mom, to take the focus off of your daughter. She is allergic to your suggestions, opinions or loving reminders. She can’t give you consideration and regard right now. Remember, this is a clumsy and messy process and all teens are egocentric which means they really don’t get the effect that their behavior has on you. Yes, I know, it might look like there is a character flaw or you may wonder if you have totally ruined her by spoiling her but the most likely truth is that she will turn out just fine. Moms often become so focused on their daughters’ behavior at this time that they 26  Island Parent Magazine

lose sight of their own juicy lives. Pull back in a way that isn’t a punishment or a hurt reaction but rather showing up lovingly for yourself. Do that thing you have wanted to do for years. Go out. Dance. Call your friends. Write that book. Your daughter may have a good point when she tells you to get a life. Drop some of your mothering habits like asking her questions about her school work or telling her to clean her room. Those are her responsibilities and she needs to learn by taking them on, even if that means some small failures. If you say anything, she will just resist the task because she doesn’t want to do these things for you. You might notice that praise doesn’t land that well right now for just the same reason. If you bite into arguments with her, you will end up feeling like her sibling, not her mother. As hard as it is, you have to train yourself to either stop an argument by suggesting you both talk later when you aren’t upset or turn things around by pushing your needs aside and plugging into hers. This can be powerful and while you mutter the words “Tell me how you feel” or “What is your need right now?” you might notice her soften a little. You, mom, may be the only person who will help her identify her needs. Her friends won’t.

When you can tentatively put yourself in her shoes and give empathy, it might sound like:

• It hurts you when I call you lazy. • You feel angry when I barge into your room. • It is annoying to be nagged and reminded. • You seem upset and sad that your friends don’t include you.

Allison Rees

She needs this from you and your task will be to avoid giving her advice and taking over her problems. When she fails, take a deep breath and just love her. Don’t say “I told you so” or try to teach her, that isn’t your role now. If you can ignore some of the verbal flak and eye rolling, you will not only avoid needless power struggles, you will hold on to your own personal power. Practice interior withdrawal; this is the art of unplugging in the moment to go inside yourself and give yourself a positive message. Come up with a couple that will help you: She is handling her stress the best way she knows how right now. Or, This too shall pass. Or, I can take a breath, I don’t have to react. A slight change in perspective can keep a level of harmony and peace in the day and in your relationship with her. If you can remind yourself that this is a stage, it will help. And if you can practice the art of loving and letting go, the stage will be that much shorter. Take a step back, but not too far. She needs to know that you are okay and that you understand her. There will come a day, in the not-too-distant future when she looks lovingly at you, and she will thank you for always being there for her despite how horribly she thinks she treated When you say I know it’s important you. Don’t let her slip into shame over this. Tell her how important it was to go through to you: • To make your own decisions…You are this dance of separating so that she could become the amazing young woman that she validating her need for autonomy. • To spend time with your friends…You are is today. Let her know you appreciate and respect her. Just love her. validating her need for connection. • That I stay out of your room…You are validating her need for privacy. • That I don’t judge or criticize you…You LIFE Seminars has two books available, “Sidestepping are validating her need for respect. the Power Struggle” and “The Parent Child Connection.” See Island Parent Teens 2018

A Daughter’s Thoughts An interview with a 15-year-old Allison Rees: What’s challenging for teens today? Teen: I don’t think it is much different than what was challenging for your generation. The one thing that we face is the social frustration of people being on their smartphones instead of socializing face to face. I went to a party where it seemed like everyone was either texting or…playing a game on their phones.

Allison: What advice can you give parents? Teen: Well, most of my friend’s parents are really strict so they don’t actually know what my friends are doing. It’s not worth telling them because they just say no to everything or get upset. My parents make it safe for me to talk to them about things so they know what I’m up to.

Allison: How is school going? Allison: It sounds like you trust them. Teen: I’m worried about my marks, I got straight Teen: Well, I didn’t last year, but I got caught doing A’s last year and now I’m getting mostly B’s. some dumb stuff, so they just let me know that we could work things out. The one thing that doesn’t Allison: What’s changed? work though is talking about something when I am Teen: Well, I’m enjoying my friends more this year upset. I’m not going to be able to do that in a very and I have a boyfriend. One of my subjects is really nice way. I’d like them to give me a choice about hard though and I don’t connect with the teacher. She when we can talk. gives us instructions that are confusing and when I ask for help, she says it’s in the text book. Why can’t Our interview lasted an hour, during which this she just help me? She gives us a ton of work, without teen was engaging and self-aware. She talked about much time to do it. I tried to explain I have a lot of the importance of connection with her friends and, other activities after school but she doesn’t seem based on her upbringing, I can see that this is a value to care. Last year, I had a teacher that I loved. He that she has grown up with. They say teens tend to gave us time to do our work and he felt more like a gravitate toward values from their own families. I also appreciated that teens and younger kids friend, like he understood us. He didn’t pressure us feel more content doing school work when they so I felt like doing the work. have a connection with their teacher. A sense of Allison: So you are worried about your marks? being understood and supported encourages kids Teen: Yeah, kind of…but I’m really enjoying my to push through the work. That is true for adults, too. social life now, too. I have to figure it out. Sometimes The developmental task for a teen is to form in class I get in trouble for talking but it is hard not an identity outside of her family, so socializing is to when I’m sitting with my friends and the class is an important part of her development. This often an hour long. comes on in Grade 10. While it can take time, teens usually figure out how to balance socializing and Allison: What advice do you have for mothers? doing their schoolwork. The pressure to get straight Teen: Well, my mom invites me to go places with A’s though, often prevents them from getting started her when I’ve already made plans to see a friend. Then, on projects. If the bar is held too high, kids spend she’ll invite my friend to come, too, but we already too much time on projects and because of this, will have other things to do. I’d like her to ask me once procrastinate about doing them. The pressure also and then let it go. I think she is trying to get used to creates anxiety which can interfere with writing the fact that she doesn’t have the control now and tests. Test freeze is common and doesn’t allow a that I’m not interested in playing with her or tagging true representation of what a student knows. Is it long like I used to. okay to encourage kids to find balance and not be a walking letter grade? Allison: Do you feel irritated by your mom at times? Finally, while this teen knew her behaviour was hard Teen: Well, sometimes I have something going on on her mom at times, she knew that her mom was with a friend. Maybe plans didn’t work out or some- okay. She sensed that they were both adjusting to thing and my mom keeps asking me if I’m okay. I tell all that goes with this dance of loving and letting go. her I don’t want to talk about it, but she doesn’t leave me alone. I know she is worried about me, but I just — Allison Rees need to sort some stuff out on my own. I don’t want to talk about everything. If I’m in a bad mood, I’ll figure it out, but it isn’t like I’m depressed or devastated.

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Your Not-SoStereotypical Teen O ne of the aspects of today’s society I find most troubling is our propensity to characterize large segments of our society with broad brush strokes. It’s our nature, I suppose, but those characterizations are the root of some of the worst atrocities of the human race. And the tendency to compartmentalize groups of people can be insidious, influencing our treatment of one another without our even being aware of the bias with which we’ve been infected. A few years back there was a series of ads from one of the chartered banks that featured a pair of older men sitting on a park bench (because, apparently, that’s what seniors do). The duo was unable to reconcile the day of the week because the bank was open on a Saturday—something, in days of yore, that never happened. They eventually decided they must be wrong about the day of the week—it couldn’t be Saturday. The

all teens are a collection of hormonallyconfused, drug-using, sexually-at-risk, chronically-depressed individuals who are desperately in need of guidance and intervention. They are hopelessly addicted to sexting, drugs, their phones, and heaven knows what else and are fundamentally unable to ad was a caricature of seniors as doddering, function without a lot of hand holding. inflexible and grumpy and helped to reinforce a bias that said seniors are incapable of adapting to change and prone to beginning sentences with “when I was your age…” In the same way, the millennial generation has, too often, been described as selfish and entitled. In film and television and in countless online posts, they are portrayed as venal, immature, and just silly individuals living in their parents’ basement and decrying the These beliefs have led to some startling, fact that they haven’t been handed a good and ridiculous, declarations. life despite their lack of effort. Recently, in the journal Lancet Child & The description belies the fact that the vast Adolescent Health, lead author professor majority of men and women in their 20s and Susan Sawyer writes that early onset of 30s are living, achieving and, often, striving puberty, the continued development of the to improve a flawed world in which issues like brain and body into the 20s, and delayed climate change threaten their very future. partnering and parenting means the “semiThat brings me to teens. dependency” that characterizes adolescence Look up “teens” on the internet and what has expanded. you get is a bombardment of websites that, Sawyer posits that young people should upon review, would lead one to believe that be considered adolescents until the age of 24

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28  Island Parent Magazine

@wsrecreation Island Parent Teens 2018

since they are so messed up that they can’t be trusted as adults before that age. Twenty-four. Really? Lets bring a little reality back into this discussion. As a journalist, I’ve had the privilege over the years to write about some of the amazing

These teens were not chronically depressed and they were not stuck in perpetual adolescence. They were as informed and engaged as any adult, and more so than many. Teenagers have always taken the brunt of unfair stereotyping. I can still recall the way that my elders viewed my generation during the massive changes of the 1970s,

Grooming • Food • Supplies

Your pet’s source for health and happiness things that today’s teens are doing. Recently, I wrote about a leadership class that, seeing the need of the most vulnerable of our population, organized a Christmas dinner and gift exchange for the homeless. This same class of students takes on a series of projects and design solutions to local challenges with only minimal guidance from the teaching staff. “These kids are amazing,” their teacher told me. “I don’t lead them as much as try to keep up with their ideas and energy.” I’ve interviewed teens who are taking their school breaks and using them as an opportunity to volunteer in third world countries. It’s just the way things are. A good number of our youth are generally pretty selfless and often dedicate their energy to helping others. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to innovative teens working in the technology sector, developing projects with real-world applications to improve the planet. One of them had developed a biological approach to cleaning up oil spills. These students were intensely aware of the challenges they are facing in a world to which, let’s face it, the older generation has done a lot of damage. I’ve seen teens involved in peer support and the mentoring of an even younger generation. I’ve seen them take the lead on issues including bullying, sexual harassment, racism, and equality. And teens have been at the heart of stories where they create art, theatre, music and literature.

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as a sure sign of the coming Apocalypse. 250-590-5803 Teens in those days, they said, were the worst Grooming: #106–751 Goldstream Avenue generation ever. But these days, with “information” on the nature of teenagers being shared and re-shared on social media, those same sorts of characterizations are reinforced in their own echo chamber of pre-existing beliefs. Aspengrove School....................................................13 It’s time we bring some perspective back to BeConnected.............................................................. 21 Brentwood College....................................................19 the discussion. Camp Pringle..............................................................IBC If a teen is stressed, depressed, or moody, Camp Qwanoes..........................................................BC accept that it’s a part of being alive. Of Canucks Autism..........................................................15 22 course we should reach out to those teens CISV................................................................................ Cowichan Valley Craniosacral...................................7 with issues and help where we can—in the Discovery School...................................................... IFC Parent Support Services Society............. 9 same way as we reach out to human beings Foster Horne Lake Caves....................................................... 21 at any age who are undergoing the challenges Island Catholic Schools........................................... 24 of whatever chapter of existence those folks Island Pet Source......................................................29 Little Steps...................................................................14 are navigating. Math4me.......................................................................10 But lets not assume that every teen is Oak and Orca................................................................ 9 Edge Orthodontics....................................10 the same, or that they are the only ones fac- Ocean’s Oxford Learning......................................................... IFC ing challenges. Teens do have to deal with Pacific Christian........................................................ IFC Point.................................................................... 21 bullying, sexual activity, drug use, alcohol Pivot Scouts Canada............................................................13 abuse, obesity, peer pressure. Well, you get SKAM School of Performing Arts...........................14 Smart Tutor..................................................................15 the idea—a lot of stuff. St. Margaret’s................................................................ 4 So do we all. Stages.............................................................................11 And, where we can, we should try to offer Swan Lake...................................................................IBC Foods................................................................. 3 help. But let’s end the bias that wrongfully Thrifty Total Learning Services............................................ 23 characterizes teens, and ignores the fact Vancouver Island Psychological Services...........16 Academy of Ballet....................................IBC that we have a pretty amazing group of Victoria Victoria City Rowing Club.......................................... 4 young people poised to become the adults VIHA................................................................................20 Wallace Driving............................................................30 of tomorrow.

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Tim Collins is a writer and freelance journalist living and working in Victoria.

West-Mont School.................................................... IFC Western Adventures..................................................13 Western Speedway.................................................... 17 Westshore Dental........................................................ 5 Westshore Motocross.............................................. 23 Westshore Parks........................................................ 28

Spring 2018 29


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