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Bigger Kids. Bigger Fun.





Middle School

DATING Don’t Be Your Teen’s Best Friend

Who Do I Sit With at Lunch? VOL. 9 ISSUE 1 SEPT.-OCT. 2016 $ 3.95

COLLEGE TESTING: How Early is Too Early?

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At Kent State Geauga and the Regional Academic Center you have access to any career choice you could imagine with over 282 majors to select from. We offer affordable tuition, flexible schedules, small class sizes and free parking at both locations. Financial aid and scholarships are available. Visit us on the web to learn more. Ready to transition to college and still in enrolled in high school? The College Credit Plus program is designed to open the door for early college admission to high school students in grades 7-12. Earning college credit while satisfying high school requirements can reduce the time and cost of attending college after high school -and it’s free. Ready to gain the skills to meet the Workforce Needs? The Workforce Development Program at Kent State University Geauga and the Regional Academic Center is your local resource for lifelong learning, professional development, customized training, business consulting, assessment services, Online training classes, professional certifications, research projects, and other special programs. Find out more by visiting us on the web at





30 High School Stress


6 Ways to Help Your Teen Survive and Thrive


Teen Speak: Dealing with Anxiety

40 Crossroads

Bulletin Board

8 #ParentHack 10 Embarrassing Parents 11 By the Numbers

Suicide Prevention

42 Ask the Doctor

Is it a Cold? Or an Allergy?

12 Product Picks

47 College Corner

The Scoop on Testing Before 10th Grade

14 In a Minute

14 First Day of School Jitters 15 New School Year: Try Something New! 17 Recipe: Old City Hummus

49 Tech Talk

The Upside of Technology (Yes, Really)

16 Move Out Skills

51 Money Matters

18 Family Matters

53 Tween Talk

How to Earn Cash When You're Under 16

Dressing for an Interview The Dreaded “In a Minute”

Middle School Dating

20 In the Spotlight


Susan Cain Talks Introverts

22 Book Review

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

26 Perspectives

Growing Up in Foster Care

Hot Topics



58 Snapshot

My daughter Wants to Be a Vegetarian

60 All About Me

Interview with Delaney Ruston, Director of Screenagers


6 Reasons to Go to a Small, Liberal Arts College

56 Small Stuff

p. 24

Don’t Be Your Teenager’s Best Friend

Presented by Hiram College

ON THE COVER Shot on location at Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio. Gilmour empowers students of all faiths to ask tough questions, think critically, and grow spiritually.







September-October 2016 Volume 9, Issue 1




For generations, Hathaway Brown alumnae have been making their marks in every profession in every corner of the globe. Just like the city that gave them their start, our graduates have the knowledge, skills, tenacity, and drive to constantly become even better versions of themselves. And it’s always such a thrill to welcome them back home.


Jane Parent



Jessica Semel



Mindy Gallagher


Eca Taylor


DeAnna Alonso, Mary Helen Berg, Faye Berger, Helen Chibnik, Cathie Ericson, Dr. Deborah Gilboa, Molly Gleydura, Christian Hines, Randye Hoder, Michelle Icard, Sam Macer, Rebecca Meiser, Joanna Nesbit, Kathleen Osborne, Rochelle B. Weinstein

October 27th

November 5th

For more information, or to schedule your personal tour, call 216.320.8767.

More content online at

Ellen Rome, MD, MPH Pediatrician, Head, Section of Adolescent Medicine at Cleveland Clinic.

Chris Seper

Managing Director at Gries Financial.

Regional General Manager, Digital at The E.W. Scripps Company.

Marcia Hales

Amy Speidel

Amanda Weiss Kelly, MD

Beth Segal


Lauren Rich Fine




Teen Counselor in the Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics at MetroHealth.

Lisa Golovan, Shari Silk

Meredith Pangrace


Elise Ellick

Partner at Morland Partners.


we’d love to show you around!


University Hospitals, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Pediatrician, Director, Pediatric Sports Medicine.

Julian Peskin, MD Cleveland Clinic staff member, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Certified Parent Coach at Senders Parenting Center.

Sonni Kwon Senkfor, MBA

Independent Consultant. Facilitator with The WIT Group and MAC Consulting.

Judy Stenta, MSW

Retired Project Director, SAY, a program of Bellefaire JCB.

Steven Wexberg, MD

Staff Pediatrician, Cleveland Clinic is the owner of the Foundation. popular website Lucene Wisniewski, as well as the mother of 5 PhD, FAED wonderful children. Chief Clinical Officer of The Emily Program

Heather Rhoades

Sylvia Rimm, PhD

Psychologist, Director Lee Zapis of Family Achievement Clinic, Clinical Professor, President of Zapis Capital Group. Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.

Michael Ritter, CPA Retired Partner, Ernst & Young LLP.

Your Teen, Vol 9, Issue 1, September-October 2016 is a publication of Your Teen, Inc., a bi-monthly publication, $3.95. Bellefaire JCB, 22001 Fairmount Blvd., Shaker Heights, Ohio 44118. ©2016 by Your Teen, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of Your Teen magazine.Your Teen does not verify claims or information appearing in any advertisements contained in this magazine. While advertising copy is reviewed, no endorsement of any product or service offered by any advertisement is intended or implied by publication in Your Teen.


Contact Stephanie Silverman at 216-337-1374 Your Teen Media P.O. Box 21083, S. Euclid, Ohio 44121





They told him one hit wouldn’t hurt...

. d e i l They YOUR CHILD’S FUTURE is not a game of chance. Playgrounds and school yards have changed over the years: 60% of teens report that drugs of some kind are kept, sold and used at their school.


“I KNEW THAT DRUGS WERE BAD FOR YOU, but it really meant something to hear from people that have actually done these drugs and have been able to live and tell and educate us on what the drugs did to their lives.”


BONUS FEATURE: The 17 award-winning public service announcements They Said/They Lied that illustrate another “drug of choice”—from marijuana to methamphetamine.

ADDY® Award Winner ! Gold Award for Public Service Campaign

Due to the mature content in some sections of this documentary it is not recommended for children under 10. © 2015 Foundation for a Drug-Free World. All Rights Reserved. The Foundation logo is a trademark owned by the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Any unauthorized copying, translation, duplication or distribution, in whole or in part, including electronic copying, storage or transmission, is a violation of applicable laws. C7288 Dolby and the double-D symbol are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories and are used with its permission.

Truth_About_Drugs DVD Mailer_151026.indd 1

50% of teens are less likely to abuse drugs when they learn of the risks from their parents. FRONT BACK NEW EDITION

Reach them before drugs do with THE Reach them TRUTH ABOUT BEFORE documentary: DRUGS DRUGS DOabout • Real-life insight each of the most abused drugs—what they are and how they are made • Personal stories from former users who survived addiction—they tell it like it is from their DOWNLOAD THE APP own experiences • 17 hip and street-savvy PSAs that talk to teens Get your FREE DVD 1 (888) 668-6378 and play it with your kids Program resources include:

• The Truth About Drugs: Real People, • Fact-filled, no-scare-tactics Real Stories documentary, featuring booklets on the most commonly former users who speak from experience abused substances • Public service announcements And much more… debunking widespread lies about drugs

12/21/15 5:23 PM /DVD 1-888-668-6378

©2016 Foundation for a Drug-Free World. All Rights Reserved.

EDITOR’S LETTER Back to school. The end of summer is always bittersweet for me. The lazy days coming to an end, and the stress of school looming large. Several years ago, it was a particularly rough transition. My third child switched from a parochial school to the public school for 11th grade, and I was a mess. We were entering a new school system at a less than ideal time both socially and academically. For me as a mom, I was unsure of how to navigate a new school after 19 years at the same school. My daughter was nervous and excited (I was only nervous). She had been unhappy at her old school and pushed (relentlessly) for a change. Despite our reservations, my husband and I succumbed. The social adjustment went well. My daughter joined the tennis team, which began practice in August, so on Day 1 of school,

she had a place to sit for lunch. (Turn to page 14 for some tips on handling back-to-school jitters.) Academics, however, were a bigger challenge, as the classes were much more rigorous. Right from the start, she buried her head in her books and devoted endless hours to catching up, doing whatever it took to dig herself out of some low grades. She quickly learned the system and would go to school early for extra help. Despite all of her hard work, the first semester did not go well. But when it came time for parent-teacher conferences, I was pleasantly surprised. My daughter's teachers were impressed with her hard work and loved having her in their classes. They were sure that with continued hard work, she'd be fine.




I got in my car and wept. From relief after the worry and stress. From the joy of seeing my daughter blossom in a better-suited environment. From the awareness that my daughter had made the right decision. And from some sadness that I had resisted the change for many years because of my dreams for her. All along I had worried that she would lose some of her leadership opportunities when she went somewhere without a history, or that her resume would look less impressive without some of her extracurriculars. I was concerned I wouldn't understand how to navigate the system to get her the best opportunities, and that if her grades fell, she'd have a harder time getting into a competitive college. Most of my worries were about her high school transcript, thinking that high school was a means to an end—college. What I learned was that high school was its own end—a time to explore, fail, and grow within a system with a solid safety net. Your child only needs one college that seems like a good fit. Let your child pursue whatever extracurriculars they are interested in. We never know which experience or person will ignite a spark in our child. I learned the hard way, by trial and error, but I wish that I’d had Randye Hoder’s helpful advice in High School Stress: Surviving and Thriving to guide me through my children’s stress (and my own) during their high school years. There’s more great advice, including our second installment of Family Matters. In this issue, the mom Kathleen and her daughter Molly each give her interpretation of the oft-used teen promise, “In One Minute.” I’m also planning to hand my youngest the article on ideas for earning money when you’re under 16 (check it out on page 51). Seasonal allergies, tween dating, foster care, and so much more. As you transition to fall and back to school, Enjoy the Read!

They’ll always remember girls’ night in. Mom is able to stay at home with us because we contacted Hospice of the Western Reserve. Her care team is there to keep her comfortable and her granddaughters are there for game night. I’m

called when we did.

so glad we

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We’re always excited to welcome Los Angeles-based writer Randye Hoder back to our pages. Hoder’s work has appeared in the The New York Times, The Atlantic, Time, and elsewhere. In this issue’s feature story, Hoder writes about a subject that worries many parents: the stress that many of today’s high schoolers are experiencing. Flip to page 30 to get started.

Are you an introvert? Are you raising an introvert? Then you’ll love our interview (page 24) with Susan Cain, author of the New York Times bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. We caught up with Cain to learn about her new book, Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts.

Delaney Ruston is a family physician and documentary filmmaker. Her most recent documentary, Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age, offers an up-close look at how teenagers (including her own) are using technology — and it’s not always a pretty picture. This issue, we talked to Ruston (page 54) about how we can all strike a better technology balance.

Growing up in foster care isn’t easy, but it can be particularly difficult for teenagers, who in many states “age out” of the system at just 18 years old. This issue, we tackle this topic in Perspectives (page 25). Special thanks to DeAnna Alonso, a former foster youth and now executive director of Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association, who helps us understand just what these teenagers face.

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Experts are sounding the alarm at a sharp increase in the number of teenagers who've taken up vaping (the use of e-cigarettes to inhale nicotine and other substances). What you need to know at


Starting middle school or high school this fall? We've got expert advice to ease the transition. For middle school, check out For high school, visit


Get social with Your Teen! Twitter: @YourTeenMag Facebook: YourTeen Pinterest: YourTeenMag Instagram: YourTeenMag

LOVE FROM OUR FANS ... Follow us online @YourTeenMag

Be Web Smart @BeWebSmart

Great tips for dealing with FOMO. @YourTeenMag

Shannan Ball Younger @shannanyounger

Good info for tweens & teens who are babysitting or just at home alone. @YourTeenMag

Mike Atwater PhD @DrMikeAtwater

Helpful article for Parenting After Divorce: 5 Co-Parenting Tips from a Single Dad via @YourTeenMag

#ParentHack I am a Bachelor Dad, which means I raise and take care of my son in every way, but I only have him half the time, because I share joint custody with my ex-wife. But when he's mine, he's mine. I drive him to his activities, do his laundry, plan and prepare his every meal (including the lunches he takes to school), minimize his consumption of fast food, impose chores and discipline, and otherwise manage his existence in order to ensure he grows into a happy, healthy, motivated, and centered adult male. "Lifehacks" are my coping strategies. Little things I’ve done that might seem quirky or weird to others, but—take it from me—they work. After my divorce, I got my son a puppy. How is this a lifehack? Because Na'ia gives my son a reason to look forward to coming home to his martinet dad. Because Na’ia needs me to be calm and assertive, and my son needs me to be exactly the same way for him, too. Because … dog. Need I say more? Fine. The dog will also clean up spills, lick those annoying little peanut butter nuggets off the knife before they become fossilized in the dishwasher, and keep you company on those lonely nights when you are on your own. Get a dog. —Ben Ignacio, father to Tim, Honolulu, Hawaii




Coed Preschool – Grade 12


Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Grades 9-12 Gates Mills Campus 8:30 am

LOWER & MIDDLE SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE Sunday, October 23, 2016 Preschool-Grade 8 Lyndhurst Campus 1:00 pm

UPPER SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE Sunday, October 30, 2016 Grades 9-12 Gates Mills Campus 1:00 pm

To RSVP and for more information 440-423-2950 (PS-Gr 8) 440-423-2955 (Gr 9-12) or visit

RSV toda P y!

Learning spaces and curriculum designed to ignite curiosity and inspire passion.

Stirn Hall Now Open! Tour our new state-of-the-art upper school building. 50,000 square feet of new academic space

Tour the new science center

Test your skills on the ropes course

Experience the new Fab Lab

New media production studios

Student café for refueling


We asked our readers ... 

What do your parents/teens do that embarrasses you?


My daughter does an unprovoked "booty dance" that would make Beyonce proud. The problem is she "twerks" while out shopping, walking down the hall, waiting for the bus. I want her to have agency over her own body, but it is becoming ridiculous and embarrassing—at least for me. Estelle, Fort Lee, NJ


It's embarrassing when my mom screams really loud at public events like a graduation. Jamie, Beachwood, OH

I'm very lucky that my mom is so "hip" and doesn't really do embarrassing things. Although, something that is embarrassing and annoying is when she thinks she is super funny in front of friends.

Every so often they will tell me how to do something (e.g. give directions to a place I have driven to dozens of times) in front of others in a way that totally undercuts my sense of independence. Emma, New York, NY

My parents post photos of me on social media all the time. Spencer, Cleveland, OH

Haley, Newbury, OH

I don't like when my parents harp on things I've accomplished to strangers for an entire night. If I wanted to share that with someone I would do it myself.

They don't remember anything I tell them—like my friends' names or my plans— and they make me repeat myself a lot. Toby, Madison, WI

Mia, Cleveland, OH




My mom tells really bad jokes and barely gets to the punch line before she’s delirious with laughter. Jamie, Athens, OH

I guess I feel embarrassed when my mom treats me like a young kid. And I'm taller than her. Nate, Dayton, OH

My mom dances in public. My dad watches live feeds of bears and salmon in Alaska. Jordy, Fort Lauderdale, FL

We bump into some work colleagues. They ask the kid, "How do you like school." Kid: "I hate it! It's boring and it sucks.” Roni, Beachwood, OH

One of my kids started crying in a public restaurant when I insisted that the outing be parental supervised. Jenni, Tucson, AZ

I am embarrassed by my son who dresses for church or a job interview in cargo pants and sneakers. When asked why he does not take more interest in his appearance, his response is, "Clothes are dumb." Gary, Darien, CT


The Feeling is Mutual

By the Numbers 98.6% of students

We feel embarrassed by our teenagers. And our teenagers feel embarrassed by us. We’re embarrassed because we worry our teenager’s behavior reflects poorly—sometimes really poorly—on us. If we were better parents, our teenagers would always be polite, always dress appropriately, never make dumb mistakes, right? Of course not, but that’s how we feel.

report that a teacher has positively impacted them.


35% of American

teens ages 13 to 17 have ever dated, hooked up with, or been otherwise romantically involved with another person.

Turns out, our teenagers can relate. Here’s what our experts had to say.


“Teens see their parents as a direct reflection of themselves because they haven't yet separated and formed a clear identity,” explains Dr. Barbara Greenberg, a psychologist and co-author of Teenage as a Second Language. “So with this in mind we must understand that teens see themselves as an extension of their parents. If parents do something embarrassing, it reflects directly on the teens.”

25% of teenagers will

help pay for their backto-school expenses, and those who do will contribute around $82 to the total. NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION

88% of teens have

been on the receiving end of a random act of kindness. 85% of those teens wanted to pass along the kindness to someone else. 

“When we feel unsure about ourselves, any of us, we don't want anyone attached to us to highlight that,” explains Amy Speidel, a parenting coach. “We think, ‘I want you to look normal because I'm not feeling very normal right now.’ For teens, the personal perception that they might be ‘out of it’  can be at an all time high. Their hyper vigilance around parents is the hyper vigilance they feel within themselves.” — DS


Between 20% and 30% of adolescents have one major depressive episode before they reach adulthood. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY





Products Picks

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Mace Brand Pepper Spray

Stay safe in a threatening situation with this pocket pepper spray which has UV marking dye that can help police identify your attacker. $16.99

STM Drifter Laptop Backpack

Chic Buds Crossbody Power Purse

Perfect for school, work, or travel, this lightweight backpack has a retro design yet all the space you need for books, gym gear, lunch, water bottle, and a 15” laptop. $139.95

This soft, stylish, vegan leather crossbody features a lightweight battery and built-in USB cords to charge your phone and devices when you’re on the go. $69.99

Gameday Leggings Stay warm in the crisp fall air while you show your team spirit in these lightweight, colorful leggings for men and women. $31

Aureus Ruben Men’s Sneaker

Send your cool teen off to school with this nubuck leather midtop sneaker that has the rugged look of a traditional boot with all the cushioning and comfort of a sneaker. $115




Violife Slim Sonic Toothbrush

Small and portable, these stylish sonic toothbrushes are ideal for students and come in a variety of ontrend colors and patterns. $15.95

Bakery on Main Carrot Cake Instant Oatmeal

Start your morning off in an easy, healthy way with gluten-free, dairy-free, high-fiber instant oatmeal made from an actual carrot cake recipe. $5.99

Nudy Patooty Tee

This seamless layering t-shirt with full underarm coverage is made with Sweat Secret fabric, disappears under your clothes, and keeps you comfortable and clean all day. $50.00

State Bags Smith Cobble Hill Backpack

Do good while looking good. When you buy this stylish leather backpack with modern details, State Bags hand delivers another bag to an American child in need. $235

Handcrafted Honey Bee CreateYour-Own Deodorant Mix, melt, customize, and pour your own aluminum-free, effective deodorant, while learning and having fun. $28.00

T-Fal Powerglide Iron

Specifically designed to answer hard water issues that can clog other irons and leave residue on your clothes, the Powerglide Iron ensures a clean, long-lasting steam and outstanding results. $44.99

Mophie Powerstation 3X

Never run out of battery again with this conveniently-sized battery, slim enough to slide into your pocket, yet powerful enough to charge your laptop and smartphone at the same. $79.95





High School Anxiety:

First Day Jitters


very fall, thousands of students make a significant rite of passage: they transition from middle school or junior high to high school. Many children feel a lot of anxiety around beginning one’s high school career—the fear of being invisible, the worry of navigating unfamiliar surroundings, and the stress of higher academic expectations.   But above all else, social anxiety is likely their top concern: Who will I eat lunch with? What if I don’t know anyone in my classes? Here’s how parents can help their anxious high school students with this transition.  

1. Assure your teen that you have confidence in them.

First, understand that this is a major transition, says Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., author of numerous parenting books and a psychologist in Austin, Texas. “It can be daunting—physically, intellectually, emotionally—to be at the bottom of the rung again after being at the top of the heap in eighth grade.” So honor the struggle and acknowledge their fears, says Pickhardt.  "Tell your son or daughter, 'You have done this before, you have successfully coped with change before, and you have these transitional skills.'” For some teens, a visual progression

helps them keep things in perspective. Keep a sheet of paper at home, talk with your teen at dinner, and give a grade or number score to each day. Chart their progress day by day. Seeing progress from the beginning to the end of each passing week can be concrete, visual data. "This chart can serve as empirical proof to your teen that yes, you are gaining in knowledge and confidence and adjusting to your new situation.” 

2. Make positive predictions and give strategies.

Don’t ever communicate your own worries or concerns to your child. “Your child will receive that as a vote of ‘no confidence’ in them," warns Pickhardt. Instead, help predict challenges, talk about the challenges in a positive way, and assure your teen that these are concerns or fears that every other student also shares. Help your teen strategize and plan for those situations that they fear. If it’s being alone at lunch time, show him how to plan in advance to take care of himself so he can minimize this. Ask your teen, “Can you pre-arrange with a friend to meet before lunch? You can plan and be proactive and care for yourself.” Planning ahead will empower her in this new setting, help her learn self-care, and make sure she gets what she needs to alleviate her anxieties. 

3. Expect changes in friends. 

Some kids—especially introverts who don’t make friends as easily—may feel abandoned or betrayed if their middle school best friend makes new friends. “This is not rejection,” notes Pickhardt, “but a normal fact of high school, where there are more people in a larger, more diverse environment. Many kids discover commonalities they weren’t looking for before in their middle school friends.” Encourage your child to inventory their interests and take advantage of new clubs or opportunities to meet other kids who also share those interests. “Find a belonging place, a way to meet new people based around a common interest, where you have ready-made conversation because you are interested in the same things. This is the best way for introverts to make new friends.”  

4. Encourage non-school relationships.

Help your teen find other friend groups so his entire self-worth isn’t dependent on high school relationships. Encourage and facilitate neighborhood friends, religiously-affiliated groups, club sports, or family to serve as “multiple pillars of self-esteem and friendship” and to lessen the pressure on what happens at school.   n




New School Year:

Try Something New! The start of a new school year is a great time to start something new. Change might be in order because your son got cut from the baseball team, or because your daughter is transitioning to a new school where she doesn’t know anyone.   Regardless, having extracurricular interests outside of schoolwork can help teens broaden their horizons and make new friends. But how can you encourage a reluctant teen to explore new challenges?       Here are five things you can suggest.  


What are your interests? Have you always wanted

to try out something related to art but weren’t sure whether you were talented? Are there other activities that intrigue you, but you’re not sure how to get involved? Make a list of all of your interests—both things that you are already somewhat experienced in and other areas that you would like to learn more about.  And remember, parents: this isn’t about your interests. “ The ultimate goal is to focus on the teen’s motivations, interests, and needs, not the adult’s interests” says Dr. Riina Hirsch, Ph.D., a high school teacher in St. Louis, Missouri. “This is hard because we often feel so strongly that

we know what is best, and it might be true, but people, especially teens, benefit more from experience and mistakes than advice.”


Look through your list and see if any of those interests line up with activities available at your school or in your community. If something you are passionate about is not already offered, consider starting up a group of your own. Most schools have a process for starting new student-run clubs.


Grab a pal to join you in your activity search. “If a teen who is reluctant has a friend who can part

ner in the adventure of a new activity, that can also ease the transition to high school and increase the likelihood of success in joining something new,” offers Dr. Hirsch.


How many activities should you join? Some e xper ts advise that a reasonable guideline is no more than three e xtrac urric ulars — one that’s physical, one that’s creative, and one that’s social or community-oriented. However, if deciding between multiple options overwhelms your son or daughter, start with just one. “Those who are reluctant may benefit from beginning with a single activity to YOUR TEEN

experience success and enjoyment before pushing for more,” advises Dr. Hirsch.


Get a sense of which activities are going to help you develop the interests about which you are most passionate, then dedicate more time to those interests, instead of a smorgasbord of extracurriculars. Choose an activity that will allow you to make friends, build relationships, and get involved in something so you feel connected to your school.    Who knows—maybe that new activity will even lead to a career someday.  n





Dressing for an Interview


ith limited experience in a professional workplace, many teens don’t understand the importance of dressing appropriately for a job interview.   Here are some tips to help teens "dress for success.”  Dress like your boss. The standard rule of thumb in dressing for job interviews in a corporate or office environment is to dress one level above the dress code for the role you're seeking. In most cases, this means dressing like your potential boss does on a daily basis. When in doubt, it is perfect-



ly acceptable to call human resources and ask what is appropriate. Aim for the middle. Now is not the time to show your unique style or personality. Instead, dress to blend in with everyone else. When in doubt, err on the conservative side. The goal is to appear professional and competent rather than super stylish, while also fitting into the office culture.   Pay attention to the details. Ensure that your shoes are clean and polished. Keep your hair and nails neat, wear minimal makeup and avoid extreme


looks or loud colors. Limit jewelry to a watch, ring, or bracelet, and keep body piercings—other than ear piercings—and tattoos covered up during interviews. Don't wear hats, t-shirts, leggings, jeans, or sneakers, and leave the chewing gum at home. Professional, not cute. If it is an outfit you would wear out with friends, it isn’t appropriate for an interview. If you would sweat in it at the gym, or throw it on for a day at the beach, don’t wear it.   If business casual is the designated dress code, for guys that means an ironed, but-

ton-down shirt, dark pants, and polished dress shoes.   Young women should go with a tailored dress, a skirt and blouse, or tailored pants and a buttondown shirt—no cut-outs, cleavage, or bare midriffs. Keep the length of dresses and skirts to the knee or slightly above it. It’s best to wear low-heeled shoes with no open toes.  Remember, your interviewer’s attention should be on you and your qualities as a potential employee. You do not want to be noticed for what you are wearing (or not wearing). n


Old City Hummus Imagine fresh, authentic hummus made right in your own kitchen. Whether it’s served with grilled chicken skewers as a meal, or as a spread drizzled with fresh olive oil and scooped up with warm pitas, it’s sure to be a healthy, easy crowd pleaser your family will enjoy. This delicious, simple recipe comes from Meny Vaknin, who immigrated to the United States from Israel 12 years ago, and is the owner and executive chef of MishMish Café  in Montclair, New Jersey, where the menu blends his Israeli, Jewish-Morroccan roots and the French techniques and expertise he learned in culinary school. His Smoked Eggplant Dip  with feta, lemon confit and za'atar was named one of Time Out New York’s “100 Best Dishes of 2013.” Meny is a two-time winner on the Food Network’s Chopped Champions.

INGREDIENTS: HUMMUS 2 cups of dry chickpeas 2 cloves of garlic 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 Tsp ground cumin 1/3 cup tahini paste Water Salt DIRECTIONS: HUMMUS 1. Soak chickpeas in water overnight, making sure the water volume is twice as high as the chickpeas. 2. Cook chickpeas in water for about 90 minutes, until very soft. Cool. 3. Place chickpeas in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until you get a smooth consistency (add more water for a thinner hummus).

INGREDIENTS: MARINATED CHICKEN SKEWERS 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cubed 1 Tbsp olive oil 1 Tbsp ground cumin 1 Tbsp ground ginger 1 clove garlic, minced 1 Tbsp ground coriander 1 Tbsp white pepper Zest from one lemon Salt DIRECTIONS: MARINATED CHICKEN SKEWERS 1. Place chicken in a bowl and coat with the olive oil. 2. Mix seasoning ingredients and pour over chicken; marinate overnight. 3. Put chicken on wood skewers, and grill 5 minutes per side.

4. Salt to taste. 5. Garnish with paprika, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with warm pita.





I’ll Do it in a Minute! No surprise. This mom and daughter see things differently.



I like to think of myself as a bit of a philosopher. I mean, I’m no Plato, but I aced Logic 101 in college and I own The Truman Show on DVD. I’ve even read Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul. What that book taught me is that when you have children, the concept of time—much like your abdomen—becomes elastic. The nine months it takes for the baby to arrive is an eternity, but after you blink and change 10,000 diapers, your newborn is off to college. I get it. All things are relative. So when I ask my daughters to clap the dirt clods off their softball cleats before they toss them onto the living room floor and they reply, “I’ll do it in a minute,” I know that “minute” could elapse in a timeframe that doesn’t remotely resemble the 60-second increment that’s universally accepted in civilized society. For example, if they’re in the midst of a Snapchat Face Swap, that minute will last until the next softball game (which will be played with dirt-caked shoes). Yes, it’s exceedingly annoying to be continually shushed by my teenagers’ empty promises, but my philosophic mind understands that while one particular minute may never arrive, plenty of other minutes will come and go, and eventually so will those dirty shoes and the kids who wear them. This clarity allows me to free myself of frustration. And that’s much easier to come to terms with than the idea that I have raised three lazy and obstinate teenagers who were babies just a minute ago. — Kathleen Osborne is a marketer and a mother to Patrick, Molly, and Annie Gleydura.

Parents are such nags sometimes. What they don’t understand is that we are busy too. Just like them, we can’t just drop everything to do what they want. For example, if I need a ride to my friend’s house while my mom is in a meeting, she isn’t going to stand up and excuse herself because I have somewhere to be. This is the same as when I’m busy and my parents ask me to straighten the shoes in the living room because my grandparents are coming “any second.” I am also busy. And yes, it still counts if I am bingewatching Scrubs on Netflix for the 12th time with my siblings. Busy is busy. Besides, as far as lifetime memories are concerned, watching Scrubs with my siblings—and reciting every line—is far more important than letting my grandparents see that our shoes aren’t always kept in perfect lines. When I say, “I’ll do it in a minute,” I plan to do whatever is asked of me eventually. However, just because my parents want a task completed that moment doesn’t mean that it needs to be done right then. My parents will carp on something until my siblings and I just have to throw in the towel and say, “I guess I’ll prove you right and I won’t bring my gym bag upstairs after all!” Here’s my advice to my parents: Stop nagging us about silly tasks and allow us a “minute” to do them because there is an approximately 33.3 percent chance that one of us will do it. In a minute. — Molly Gleydura is a high school junior and an aspiring athlete.

ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT The concept of “in a minute" can be a source of conflict for families. Parents make what they perceive to be a reasonable request— pick up your cleats—and expect it to happen within a reasonable amount of time. Teenagers, however, have their own ideas of what’s reasonable when it comes to getting things done. Parents become frustrated with their teenager’s stalling tactics—which can feel patronizing at best and like lying at worst—and demand compliance. Teenagers dig in their heels. Understanding everyone’s viewpoint can be invaluable. So, if "I'll get to it in a minute" has become a frustration in your home, here’s an idea. Challenge the person saying “in a minute” to do one of two things: (1) set an alarm on their phone for one—or five—minutes in which they’ll do the task 18



or, (2) talk about what they really mean by “in a minute.” If what they mean is, “I’m busy”—in a meeting, watching my show—discuss when the task will get done. A parent could say, “I’ll take you to your friend’s house in 30 minutes.” A teenager could say, “I’ll pick up my cleats after my show.” That gives everyone the chance for clear communication and expectations. Most teenagers, when given the chance, can delineate their priorities and intentions. Though they may feel their parents' requests are arbitrary, they still need to follow through or explain respectfully why they don't want to help out. What happens next is up to your family. —Dr. Deborah Gilboa is a family physician and author of Get the Behavior You Want …Without Being the Parent You Hate.

GILMOUR ACADEMY GILMOUR ACADEMY Educating the mind Empowering the heart Educating the mind Empowering the heart

Some things are just better together Some things are just better together Independent and Catholic

Our independent accreditation* means smaller class sizes and Independent and Catholic student-teacher ratios, allowing students to attain a higher level of Our independent accreditation* means smaller class sizes and academic rigor by writing more, discussing more and developing their student-teacher ratios, allowing students to attain a higher level of own ideas more. Catholic means they are learning in an environment academic rigor by writing more, discussing more and developing their that is inclusive, thought-provoking and rooted in the Holy Cross own ideas more. Catholic means they are learning in an environment tradition. This gives them the strength to see how they can make a that is inclusive, thought-provoking and rooted in the Holy Cross difference in the world. If you educate the mind and empower the tradition. This gives them the strength to see how they can make a heart, students do more than succeed- they thrive. difference in the world. If you educate the mind and empower the heart, students do more than succeed- they thrive.

Call today to schedule a personal tour. 440 | 473 | 8050

Call today to schedule a personal tour. Gilmour is independent, Catholic, 440 Academy | 473 | 8050 coed, school in the Holy Cross tradition. Montessori (18 months - Kindergarten) Gilmour Academy is an independent, Catholic, and Grades 1-12 coed, school in the Holy Cross tradition. Montessori (18 months - Kindergarten) and Grades 1-12

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QA &

...with Susan Cain, author of Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts 

Photo: Michael Glass

Author and lecturer Susan Cain knows how hard it is to be an introvert in a culture that misunderstands and undervalues them. As co-founder of Quiet Revolution (, Cain addresses the unique concerns of introverts in parenting and education, lifestyle, and the workplace. In her newest book Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, Cain focuses on introverted children and teens and their world—school, extracurriculars, family life, and friendship.  Is being an introvert the same as being shy?  No. Shyness is more about the fear of being judged socially. An introvert might be shy and might not; it’s really about having a preference for quieter environments with less stimulation. The inner experiences are completely different but they appear the same on the outside, so they kind of get treated the same way culturally. Psychologically they are very different.  Do they not want to go to parties because they are fearful, or do they not want to go because parties aren’t their scene? That’s a huge distinction.     If a parent is an extrovert, and her child is an introvert, how does she learn to appreciate that child?  That’s a really common question because it’s common to have a parent who is an extrovert with a kid who is an introvert. For the more 20


extroverted parent, try  to understand that  being an  introvert  isn’t simply a preference. People are hardwired  that  way. Introverts and extroverts have different nervous systems. By four days old, infants show different levels of reactivity to stimulation. Introverts have nervous systems that are more reactive to stimulation. In an airport or party full of people, the introvert’s nervous system is on overdrive and your body is literally telling you to get to a quieter spot. For an extrovert, your nervous system reacts much less. In fact, you may become antsy if you’re not getting enough stimulation.  Parents can normalize the discussion by asking their child how they like to spend their time. We live in such an overscheduled culture that expects really busy kids with lots of activities, and for some kids, that’s not really what they want to do. Appreciate


that their source of energy is probably different than yours. Extroverts crave stimulating social situations, while introverts might be perfectly happy staying home from the party.   Doesn’t our society seem to say that it's better to be an extrovert?  Yes. Here’s an example. An extroverted mom told me that when she picked up her daughter after school, all the girls were playing basketball together,  but  her daughter was off on the  side shooting hoops by  herself. For this mom,  it pierced her to the core.  She  couldn’t understand it because for her, it would be her pure joy and bliss to be in the mix, so it was mystifying to her why her daughter would want anything else. She assumed that her daughter must be really sad, and for a long time, the mom would not pick her daughter up at

school because it was painful for the mom. But then she started learning about introverts, and she started having these very open, nonjudgmental conversations with her daughter about how she likes to spend her time. And her daughter would patiently explain, ‘I’m hanging out with my friends all day at school. At the end of the day, I just really want a break.’ And that was it, the whole thing  just became defused. The more they talked, the more the mom understood and the more comfortable she became.     Our culture values being able to be charismatic in an interview or walk into a room and make friends with people. Is it a parent’s responsibility to teach introverts those skills?  Yes, but it must be done the right way. It begins with appreciating and respecting an introverted child for who they are. The more a child

feels entitled to be who they are, the more successful they are going to be at that party or in that job interview because they will approach it from that deep-seated feeling of comfort in their own skin, as opposed to feeling inadequate. Once a child knows you’re coming from an attitude of respect and understanding, then you can try and strategize with them.     What strategies can parents suggest to help introverts in social settings?  The simple act of smiling goes such a long way. Not only does it signal to others openness and comfort, but it signals to your own body that it’s time to relax. Try smiling in moments where you don’t feel comfortable. Recognize what your body does when you’re feeling relaxed and comfortable, and remember that sensation. For the moments when you’re feeling uncomfortable, arrange your body into those postures to help you feel relaxed. 

How can parents avoid sounding critical of their introvert?  Avoid saying, “What’s wrong with you?” or “Why don’t you ever want to go out?” Ask questions that are more open such as, “How do you feel about going to this party?“ or "What are you thinking?” So much of it is in the tone of your voice, too.    

How do parents suggest to their introverted child to try going outside their comfort zone? We all need to go outside our comfort zone at different times, but the key is to do it on your own terms and for the right reasons. I interviewed  Arianna Huffington’s daughter Isabella  who told me that she came to realize that she is both shy and introverted, and that sometimes she wanted to stay home from social events because she was afraid, and sometimes it was because she would just rather be alone painting in her studio. So she started being really self-aware about it. If she was staying home from an event out of fear, then she would force herself to go and overcome it, but if it was just pure preference to be alone painting, then that was fine. So much of it has to do with the attitude of it and being intentional. n Interview by Susan Borison

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The Outliers

by Kimberly McCreight

ADULT REVIEW By Rochelle B. Weinstein


e’re a family of readers, so it was no surprise that on a recent ski trip with our cousins, I found myself entangled in a verbal tug-of-war with my niece Faye over my current read, The Outliers, by author Kimberly McCreight. The beauty of a good book connected us and we shared the journeys of our favorite characters. McCreight tackles young adults in The Outliers, creating an intriguing blend of teenage angst that will have readers turning the pages late into the night. Wylie just lost her mom, and her Dad and twin brother can’t understand the depths of her sadness. At 17, she’s trapped in her home, a recent spate of agoraphobia making it impossible to venture out. But when she receives a plea for help from her once best friend, Cassie, Wylie sets off on a journey with twists and turns that will have the reader traveling alongside this remarkable heroine. And nothing is ever what it seems.

Wylie takes her first steps toward freedom, joined by Jasper, Cassie’s boyfriend. The pair head off into the woods while following a string of cryptic text messages. At home, Wylie’s father, who has his own arsenal of secrets, desperately tries to keep his daughter safe. At the same time, Wylie faces circumstances that lead her to question all she knows about her father’s work and the ominous Outliers. Who can she trust? There lies the question that weaves itself through this well-laid out story. There are many layers to dig through. Buckle up! The beginning of the book captivated me as I was drawn into Wylie’s mental state and the impact from losing her mother. I did not see the big plot twist coming—many won’t. But as an adult, I was left wanting to explore the dynamics of Wylie’s fragility and her relationships with her brother and father. That’s the mother in me, and the author, who yearns to understand the how and why after tragic loss. For younger readers, however, the major plot

turn will send them on an exciting and satisfying journey. The novel touches on a range of teenage emotions, centered around a modern day sci-fi thriller. Wylie and Jasper’s faithful bond guides them through life-threatening scenarios that fans of suspense will enjoy. As the mysterious disappearance of Cassie unfolds, we see a young girl face her biggest fears, come to terms with a devastating loss, and discover who she is in a big, scary world. McCreight knocks it out of the park with the book, which is sure to be a fan favorite—leaving an open-ended finale for a sequel that readers will be clamoring for. I highly recommend this book for teens. Rochelle B. Weinstein lives with her husband and twin sons in Miami, Florida. She is the author of three novels, including the recently published Where We Fall.

TEEN REVIEW By Faye Berger


h e Outliers is a thrilling pageturner that begins when Wylie receives a cryptic text from her best friend Cassie, begging for Wylie’s help. Cassie tells Wylie that she got abducted by unsavory characters, and she needs Wylie to rescue her. Despite troubles of her own, and her rocky relationship with Cassie, Wylie chooses to help her friend. To Wylie’s surprise, Cassie also asks her boyfriend, Jasper, to join Wylie on the journey to find Cassie. The first half of the book explores Wylie and Jasper’s journey to find Cassie. In addition, the reader learns the history and nature of each of the characters in the book, which focuses on friend22


ship, relationships, and the intricacies and dances among them. This part of the book was my favorite. It was suspenseful and intriguing, and it kept me wanting to read more. The first part of the book, however, foreshadows that something bad will happen, and it does towards the end of the book. At that point, The Outliers changes from fiction to science fiction. Although this switch makes the book interesting, it completely changes the plotline. Author Kimberly McCreight is able to manage this change with great word usage, ideas, and creativity. Throughout the book, she creates relatable characters. I was fearful of the whereabouts of Cassie, I hurt for


Wylie and the pain she was put through, and I feared for the lives of Cassie, Wylie, and Jasper. There were points in this book where I could not put it down, and I would read it all through the night. There were also parts, however, that I skipped over as they dragged and lacked action. If you are looking for a book that explores relationships, then you should read The Outliers. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mystery or science fiction. Faye Berger, 15, lives in Deerfield, IL. She is Rochelle’s niece, and a fellow book lover.

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The Benefits of a Small, Liberal Arts College


olleges come in all shapes and sizes, but small, liberal arts colleges offer some distinct benefits for students. We caught up with Dr. Robert Haak, vice president and dean at Ohio’s Hiram College, to find out why.

1. They’re focused on undergraduate education (and all classes are taught by professors). Universities educate both undergraduate and graduate students, whereas liberal arts colleges focus more on undergraduate students. Professors, not graduate students, teach the classes, and they get to know the needs of their students. 2. Students get a lot of attention. According to research by US News and World Report, the typical small college has a student-to-faculty ratio of under 10:1. About two-thirds of classes enroll less than 20 students and almost none have more than 50. By comparison, students at major research universities are often in classes with several hundred other students, especially in their freshman and sophomore years. “We have small class sizes, so it’s hard for a student to get lost," says Haak. "And we do pay attention.” At Hiram, which enrolls around 1,100 students, those who are struggling academically receive special attention. “If we see a student is headed for trouble, we have teams of faculty and staff that follow up,” notes Haak. That won’t happen at a big university. 3. More hands-on. There are plenty of research and other extracurricular academic opportunities at big universities, but students don’t always take advantage. And they’re certainly not required to. Not so at many small liberal arts colleges, where engaging students in such opportunities is often part of the curriculum. “At Hiram, we require students to either do a study abroad, participate in a faculty-student research program, or do an internship,” explains Haak. “All students participate in an outof-classroom experience.” 24



4. A liberal arts education. As you’d expect, small, liberal arts colleges are dedicated to a liberal arts education, which experts say prepares students broadly for whatever career they pursue. “Businesses want liberal arts students because they can think and adapt,” says Haak, noting that because of the changing nature of the workplace, students graduating today can expect to have many different careers, some of which don’t even exist yet. 5. Higher graduation rates. Thanks to the extra attention students receive, many small, liberal arts colleges boast far better graduation rates than their biguniversity peers. “Our graduation rate at four years is higher than most public universities at six years,” notes Haak. 6. Extra help for first-generation and low-income students. Low-income students and students who are the first in their families to go to college face particular challenges. They are often resource-challenged, and family members are often unable to help, or even understand, when college-related issues arise. Small, liberal arts colleges often have programs in place to help guarantee these students' success—and that includes Hiram, where more than half of students are first-generation. “Say you tell a student to go to the registrar’s office,” explains Haak. “If you’re a first-generation student, you may not have any idea what a registrar is. We try to be conscious of those issues and are as user friendly as we can be.” n

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PERSPECTIVES Perspectives reflects the full tapestry of our society: from parents, teens and professionals.

Teenagers in Foster Care Teen


By Christian Hines


Christian Hines


Sam Macer


DeAnna Alonso, BSSW



As a young child growing up in foster care, I had some fun times, but most of the time I was sad and depressed. I felt like no one understood my feelings or cared about me. I was angry at the world for taking me away from my parents. I was five years old when I was placed into foster care, and missing my parents was the hardest thing I ever had to deal with. Since then, I’ve been placed with several families and group homes. I really wanted a family to love me, but my behavior kept getting in the way. I was very aggressive toward everyone who tried to help me. I would curse at them. I would try my best to mentally and physically abuse them. I would also destroy other people’s property when I got mad. I didn’t care about anyone’s feelings because no one cared about mine. Over the years, I was placed into some really good homes, but my behavior would always cause a problem. They


would eventually give up on me after a few incidents and send me back to the group home. My feelings became numb after failing so many times. When I met my current family, I felt it was going to be a perfect match. They came to visit me several times at the group home. They took me to the Soul Circus, and we had a great time laughing and watching the show. The next weekend we had an overnight stay. They had a beautiful home, and I instantly fell in love with their two big dogs. I knew right away that this home felt like how home was supposed to feel. I couldn’t wait to be placed there. I wanted them to be my family. But even though I was the happiest I’d been in a long time, my issues started to come back after a few weeks. The honeymoon was over, and the real me came back again. I tried my hardest to keep things right, but I couldn’t control myself. I flooded the second floor

bathroom twice, and my dad was really upset about that because the ceiling almost came down; I hit and hurt the dogs when no one was looking; I would curse in their home and disrespect my mom. They would get really mad and punish me, but they always forgave me. In the next several months, they never gave up on me. I couldn’t ask for better parents. They love me, even though I still have some problems I need to work on. Last year on my 14th birthday, my foster parents gave me the biggest present in the world: adoption. When they told me that they wanted to adopt me into their family, I jumped for joy. I couldn’t believe that they really wanted to adopt me. Wow! My parents care about me and love me for who I am. I love you, my mom and dad. Originally published in Your Teen Magazine in 2011.

Parent By Sam Macer

“I sometimes hear my friends and neighbors say they want to make a difference in their communities. For as long as I can remember, my wife and I felt the same way. We were presented with an opportunity to make a difference when a child in my daughter’s second-grade class asked if she and her sister could live with our family. To make a long story short, we became foster parents to the sisters and, in the years following, to many other children between the ages of 6 and 11. We were able to provide for the safety, permanency, and well-being of these foster children, offering them positive life experiences. Four years into foster parenting, we were asked if we would consider providing care for teenagers. A 16-year-old had contacted our local agency and pleaded to be taken out of a group home and

placed with a family. We were reluctant to move from the comfort of caring for elementary-aged children to caring for teenagers. But we decided to try, and, 12 years later, we have never regretted our decision. Caring for teenagers is critical because unlike younger children, who are usually reunited with family or adopted, we are preparing teenagers for the transition from a supportive fostercare system into the “real” world. These teenagers face risks that include poverty, homelessness, and sometimes incarceration. These teenagers must be prepared to lead adult lives when they leave our home. Thankfully, we do not do this alone. We have a large team of social workers, mental health professionals, teachers, counselors, and lawyers to help us provide the guidance and support these young people will need to be successful. Our state’s Department of Human Resources also provides job training for





foster youth. Everyone’s goal is to prepare these teenagers for positive postfoster-care outcomes. As it is with all teenagers, it is important to set mutually agreed-upon boundaries, goals, and expectations with our foster teenagers too. But it's essential for the teenagers to play a major role in planning their lives. Over the years, my wife and I have learned a lot about parenting the teenagers in our care. They are all individuals, and what works with one young person may not work with another. Every child has a different background, and choosing an appropriate parenting style is important to maintaining placement stability. For example, we sometimes find a democratic style of parenting—in which we present alternatives, involve the teen in planning, and encourage teamwork and inclusiveness—works well. Other times, a more hands-off style—in which the teen defines his own goals and asks for guidance only when he needs it—is more appropriate. Even with my biological teens, one child needed the democratic style while our more self-motivated, goal-oriented teen needed the hands-off method with minimum guidance. When we decided to take care of teenagers, we discovered that almost none of them had the educational support they needed to succeed academically. Unfortunately, the research shows that poor educational experiences are directly proportional to poor life outcomes after foster care. Many of our teenagers were two to three grade levels behind in math and reading. As a result of my experience with these teenagers, I created the Maryland Foster Parent PTA, which promotes foster parent involvement in schools, building the home-school partnership, and engaging teachers. Foster parenting is a team effort dedicated to providing for the safety and well-being of our community’s most vulnerable children. It can make a real difference in a child’s life, and, for my wife and me, it has been among the most rewarding experiences of our lives. Sam and Lisa Macer have been foster parents in Baltimore, Maryland, since 1999, providing care for teenagers. Sam is a foster parent instructor and volunteers with the Maryland Foster Parent Association.



In 2014, more than 22,000 young people aged out of foster care. Those who age out are less likely than young people in the general population to graduate from high school and attend or graduate from college. Professional By DeAnna Alonso

Adolescence is a hard time for everyone, from massive hormonal changes to peer pressure to struggles with their identity. But for a teen in foster care, the maze of life has more dead ends and impossible twists and turns. The outcomes can be grim. The goal for agencies working with foster children is to move them out of temporary foster care into permanent, loving families and to support them with training, respite, crisis services, etc. My agency and others have the privilege of offering supporting programming to “aging out” foster youth. These are 18-year-olds (or sometimes 21-year-olds) who will leave the formal foster care system and transition to adulthood. The sad reality is many will become homeless, incarcerated, or dead within a year. Let’s look at the facts: Children’s Rights, an advocacy organization for abused and neglected children, explains that, “When children cannot return home to their families, child welfare systems must move quickly to find them alternative homes. As time goes by, the prospects for landing in safe, loving, permanent homes grow dimmer for foster youth.” In 2014, more than 22,000 young people aged out of foster care. Those who age out are less likely than young people in the general population to graduate from high school and attend or graduate from college. When a teen experiences a trauma like suddenly being thrust into the world without family or support, the brain sets up roadblocks instead of


straight-line functioning, explains Dr. Bruce Perry, a leading expert in trauma. Only positive experiences and safe options can help correct that “fight or flight” path. We can and should improve the outcomes. My organization has been working to change the numbers for the past eight years, by matching over 80 youth with mentors, holding a life skills weekend retreat, and offering crisis intervention and future planning. We also offer these teenagers the opportunity to advocate and “raise their voice” for systematic change. Our youth have maintained a 100 percent graduation rate from high school over the last eight years. In the last three years, over 70 percent of kids in the program are actually attending and staying in college. However, without continued support and funding for programming, the statistics will continue to rise. Valnita, a former foster youth, shared: “Some things could have been done differently in foster care. All teens should get Driver’s Ed and get licensed before they age out. And we should be taught the basics. I never learned how to do important things like schedule a doctor’s appointment, write a check, pay bills, cook, call in prescriptions, or file taxes properly.” Being a teen in foster care can be an experience filled with confusion and anxiety, but it can also be filled with positive role models and opportunities to succeed. DeAnna Alonso, BSSW, is CEO/President of the Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association and a former foster youth.

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STRESS In some ways, high school hasn’t changed all that much since the days when we parents walked those hallways. The social scene is familiar (we bet your teenager’s cafeteria still has a popular table). Teenagers are still experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and sex. They’re still getting driver’s licenses, going to Homecoming, making (or not making) the varsity team, electing a school president, playing in the band, even reading the Great Gatsby.




But in one significant way, high school has changed a lot: there is more academic pressure. A lot more. Freshman are told everything counts for college. Students now take many more AP classes. And many teenagers are devoting so many hours to extracurriculars, they have little time to relax or spend time with their families. To be sure, some teenagers are able to weather the high-school pressure cooker with aplomb. But others—often boys—are checking out of academics altogether. And still others are experiencing rates of anxiety and depression not seen in previous generations. This issue, we asked experts what’s going on and what parents can do to help.


Ways to Help Your Teen Survive and Thrive



“Children are mortgaging their childhood for the slim chance to get into an elite college,” says Julie LythcottHaims, a parent of two teenagers and former dean of freshmen at Stanford University. Lythcott-Haims explored the growing mental health crisis at colleges in her 2015 book, How To Raise an Adult. “At the end of it, they are scathed, they are brittle, and they are harmed.” In the process, the true meaning and value of an education are lost. “We are now consumed with status, prestige, and rank instead of character, curiosity, and compassion,” says Lloyd Thacker, executive director of The Education Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to re-

en years ago, psychologist Madeline Levine published The Price of Privilege, a book whose central theme was that bright, socially skilled, affluent teenagers were suffering from serious emotional problems. Since then, it seems, things have only gotten worse. Adolescents  from well-off families are experiencing high rates of depression and anxiety, much of it in service of getting perfect grades and perfect standardized test scores so as to get into the “perfect” college. This relentless pressure—to meet an impossibly high bar that continues to move upward—comes from all quarters:  their parents, their schools, their peers, and themselves.


storing sanity to the college admissions process. “That is distorting students’ relationship to learning, and it’s harming their mental health.” Yet, importantly, parents can do things to alter this trajectory. “We have more agency than we realize,” says Lythcott-Haims, w h o s e c h i l d r e n att e n d Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California, home of the widely reported Silicon Valley suicide clusters. (Eight students from the school have committed suicide in the past seven years.) “ The system is broken, but we are not at its mercy. We can make different decisions.” To that end, here are a half-dozen practical things that parents can do to help



HIGH SCHOOL STRESS their teens better manage the stress of high school, especially during the college-focused junior and senior years.

1. Understand the

difference between stress and real anxiety. Kavita Ajmere, Ph.D., a psychologist who works with students at HarvardWestlake, a private college preparatory school in Los Angeles, says it’s important to make a distinction between these two terms—stress and anxiety— that are often lumped together. “Clinical anxiety is qualitatively different than stress,” Ajmere says. Students across the nation are handling a variety of stressors, but they are not all suffering from anxiety.” Indeed, for many adolescents, stress is normal and healthy. “When stress is giving way to growth, that is a good thing—you get stronger by lifting weights that are uncomfortably heavy,” says Lisa Damour,



Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and the author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood. “But if a kid is overwhelmed every day, and the stressors are inhibiting his ability to cope, it’s too much.”

2. Make sure your kids eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep.

This recipe seems like a no-brainer, but most teenagers are not taking care of themselves in these simple ways. Damour calls sleep the “silver bullet.” Adolescents are supposed to get nine hours of sleep a night. “Any amount under that,” she says, “and they’re going be more stressed, more reactive, and sadder.” Indeed, a new study from George Mason University shows that teenagers who lack adequate sleep are at greater risk of depression and suicide. The study found that “each hour of sleep lost was associated with a 38 percent in-


crease in feelings of sadness and hopelessness among teens.”

3. Advocate for best

practices at your teenager’s school.

This can include everything from campaigning for a later start time so your child can get more sleep, to urging your school to have resources in place for those kids who need it. At Harvard Westlake, for example, a team of psychologists, counselors, and trained clergy work with students in tandem with administrators and faculty. But its most impressive program is its peer-topeer counseling, which attracts some 300 students every Monday evening. In groups of 15 or so, students meet with juniors and seniors who have participated in a twoyear training program. During training, they learn to ask open-ended questions and are taught about confidentiality, crisis intervention, and recognizing depression and suicide risk.

“Kids like talking to each other,” Ajmere says. “And we know the kids who are struggling on campus in part because of this program. It’s the biggest wellness program we have.”

4. Be honest with your

teen (and yourself) about the potential costs of competing for admittance at selective colleges.

Damour, who is also the director of Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls in Shaker Heights, Ohio, says schools know precisely what it takes to compete at the highest level: the hours of homework and number of Advanced Placement courses and extracurricular activities required. “If a parent and a kid are set on admission to an Ivy League, it’s important to

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HIGH SCHOOL STRESS pause about what the emotional costs will be,” she says. “They are not the same costs as 20 years ago.” It’s important to remember, too, that a great education can happen at all kinds of places, including colleges with more reasonable admit rates. When teenagers are not competing to get into the most selective schools, they can focus instead on deep learning, creativity, a sense of purpose, and personal connection with friends and family. “A lot of people want the brand,” says Harvard-Westlake’s Ajmere. “But what good is it having those designer jeans if they don’t fit well? Quality of fit is what really matters.”


Recognize the warning signs of serious mental health issues— and intervene. Some things to watch out for: Your child is becoming withdrawn or anti-social, suffering a drop in grades, having panic

attacks or persistent stomach aches, or giving up something they used to love. You may also notice your child becoming visibly depressed or lethargic or turning toward self-destructive measures to cope, like eating too much or not enough, using drugs, drinking, or cutting. “If a kid has a bad week, it’s a bad week,” says Damour. “That’s a normal part of being a teenager. But if your kid has persistent stress and anxiety—several weeks in a row of not sleeping, being teary or overreactive—that’s concerning.” There are many ways, from therapy to medication, to get help. The bottom line: If you’re worried about your teenager, seek professional advice.


Make sure your teens know they are valued for who they are and not for what they achieve.

says. “Kids in this demographic feel that their worth as a human is based on how well they do in school,” says LythcottHaims. “I try to let my kids know that I love them when they get A’s and I love them when they don’t.” Thacker adds that it is vital to allow high school kids to live a life where the stakes are not always high. “Allow them to make mistakes, allow them to play, allow them to have unstructured time,” he says. “Love your kids enough to allow them to be kids.” Randye Hoder writes about the intersection of family, politics, and culture. Her articles have appeared in  the The New York Times,  Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Slate, Time, and elsewhere. You can follow her on Twitter @ranhoder.

Spend time together that isn’t focused on grades or their college application es-

your Children hAve rights. i CAn ProteCt them.

DefenDing the Rights of stuDents AnD MinoRs The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, ., focuses on helping children and their parents address the types of legal problems unique to their lives. Whether it is a matter of school suspension or expulsion, bullying, issues related to IEPs, or allegations of delinquency in Juvenile Court, attorney Daniel M. Margolis – a former prosecutor – brings more than 15 years of experience as an aggressive advocate for Ohio’s youth to the table.

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Parents have your SAY! You talk. They listen. Join the SAY Parent Roundtable You are the #1 influence on your teen! SAY invites you to join our Parent Roundtable ̶ a group of parents that meets monthly to discuss teen issues, and provide guidance and support for connecting with teens in positive ways. Stay connected and LISTEN! Even when teens push you away, don’t withdraw; they’re hearing more than you think! Share your expectations about making healthy choices. The SAY Parent Roundtable meets on the second Wednesday of each month, 9-10 a.m. at Bellefaire JCB, 22001 Fairmount Blvd., Shaker Heights. Questions? Contact Nancy Schaumburg, LISW-S, SAY Coordinator, 216.320.8469 or

For Information: Nancy Schaumburg, LISW-S SAY Coordinator 216.320.8469

SAY – Social Advocates for Youth is a school-based prevention and early intervention program of Bellefaire JCB for students in middle and high school. SAY services are offered in eight east suburban school districts in Cuyahoga County: Beachwood, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights-University Heights, Mayfield, Orange, Shaker Heights, Solon and South Euclid-Lyndhurst.





Dealing with Anxiety By Brynn*


have always been a quieter kid, so when I started retreating into myself my junior year, it seemed like no one noticed. I got two to four hours of sleep a night, ate infrequently, felt worthless, and began to lose interest in everything—classes, friends. As time went on, I became more and more convinced that this was just how I was. I would think about asking for help and then be afraid of being a burden on my friends and family—constantly reinforcing the idea that they did not want me around. I woke up every morning crying and dragged myself out of bed, feeling like I was carrying around a 50-pound backpack.   Despite this, I kept up my grades and my parents had no idea what was happening; they were frustrated with me for being “too sensitive.”    That winter, I began wanting to hurt myself. I finally worked up the courage to say something to my mom, and she was adamant it was just PMS. My confidence was crushed, and my symptoms only got worse. My relationship with my parents deteriorated as we fought more and more. My siblings, whom I used to be so close with, now asked me “where the old Brynn was” when I snapped at



them. It took all my energy just to get through the day.    Eventually that summer, I confessed to my friends how I had been feeling—the worthlessness, the suicidal thoughts. But what could they do? I was entrusting them with something way too important and complicated for 16-yearolds to handle. As the summer went by, I became increasingly fixated on my weight, weighing myself daily, over-exercising, and restricting myself to one meal a day.  Then it was time for school again. I felt crushed and helpless with all the pressures of college admissions, my job, orchestra, good grades, a varsity sport. That’s when the anxiety attacks started. In a way, I think they saved me. The overwhelming shaking and hyperventilating was something physical my parents could see, and that’s when they urged me to see the school guidance counselor. She almost immediately referred me to a therapist who right away saw the bigger issue—depression.   My journey to health started there, but it was—and is—far from over. Because of my depression, I started hurting myself and binging. During my senior


year, I spent almost three months out of school in the hospital and various therapy programs. We struggled over and over to find the right combination of meds that would take the edge off my symptoms. By spring, we did find the right “cocktail,” and that is when I turned the corner.   I will be struggling with depression and anxiety for life, but there is hope for me and other victims of these mental disorders. If anything in my story resonated with you, I urge you to tell a trusted adult about the problems that you are having. There is never any harm in talking to the school guidance counselors; they proved to be an invaluable resource to me over the course of my high school experience.   If a friend or family member has talked to you about experiencing anything like this, know that they can get help. Mental health disorders are not symbols of weakness; they are serious illnesses that can be treated with therapy and medicine. I got through high school, and I am proud to be going to college next year.  n *author’s first name


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When Clark Flatt’s 16-year-old son killed himself with a .38 caliber pistol nearly two decades ago, no one in his community, school, or church was talking about suicide.




“We talked about drugs; we talked about bullying. No one ever mentioned suicide as a threat to my son,“ recalls Flatt, who today is president of the non-profit Jason Foundation, a suicide education and prevention organization. “If I had gone through and learned about the warning signs, I might not have thought ‘suicide,’ but I would have said, ‘I need to get some professional help for him.’” Parents often think suicide can’t happen in their family and avoid talking about it. But suicide is now the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24 year olds, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. “Suicide doesn’t just happen to other people,” Flatt says. “It happens to the football captain, the head of the chess team, and the student body government leader.”

Talk about It

It’s important to be direct when talking to teens about suicide. If you have concerns, ask your teen outright if she ever thinks about hurting herself. Don’t worry that you’re “putting ideas in their heads,” advises Dr. David Miller, president of the Association of American Suicidology. “If an adolescent is already suicidal, talking about it, your words, are not going to make them more suicidal than they already are,” Miller says. “If they are not currently suicidal, then talking about it won’t magically make them so.”

Photo: Beth Segal

Know the Risk Factors

Although we sometimes think of teens as impulsive risk-takers, this trait doesn’t necessarily contribute to more suicide attempts, according to Miller.

“In the research I’ve seen, people who are suicidal have often thought about this a great deal,” he notes.

• B ehavior that is out of character, such as dramatic changes in grades, hygiene, or mood

Risk factors for suicide include a family history of suicide and mental health disorders, substance abuse, illness, feelings of isolation, and easy access to guns, medications, or other lethal means, according to the CDC.

• Giving away prized possessions

A “trigger event” such as bullying, a bad grade, or a breakup can also prompt a vulnerable teen to attempt suicide, explains Flatt, who formed the Jason Foundation in his son’s memory. The Tennessee-based organization now has 92 affiliates across the country, serving an estimated four million people.

Know the Warning Signs

Most adolescents who attempt suicide—four out of five, according to the Jason Foundation—give some type of warning, including: • Suicidal ideation or preoccupation with suicide, ranging from fleeting thoughts to detailed plans • Statements such as, “I wish I were dead,” or, “No one would miss me if I were gone” • Persistent feelings of depression or hopelessness


Have a Plan

Parents know they should take their kids to the emergency room if they have appendicitis, but they often don’t know what to do if their child is depressed. Here’s what experts recommend: 1. Research mental health resources. “Don’t wait until the critical point,” Flatt warns. “If you wait until there’s actually suicidal ideation, you’ve really reached a very dangerous edge.” 2. Maintain an open dialogue with your teen. 3. If your teen seems depressed, don’t ignore it and assume it’s typical teen moodiness. 4. Store guns, prescription medications, and alcohol in safe locations. 5. Encourage your teen to seek adult help if they notice a friend exhibiting suicidal behaviors. “This is not about being a snitch. This is about helping someone and potentially saving someone’s life,” stresses Miller. n





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7/20/16 10:35 AM

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Is it a Cold? Or an Allergy?




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Roxana Siles, M.D., is a clinical allergist, Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, at the Cleveland Clinic. She is bilingual and also sees Spanish-speaking patients.

At what age do teen patients begin to develop allergy symptoms? Some children will have symptoms at an early age, but we generally see that the prevalence of children with allergies increases over time and peaks in early adulthood. Some children will start showing signs and symptoms of allergy as young as 2 to 3 years of age. Which seasonal allergies are most common? What we see very frequently are environmental allergies to allergens such as mold, dust, and pet dander, as well as outdoor allergens such as tree and grass pollen in the spring, and weeds and ragweed in the fall. How can you differentiate seasonal allergies from a cold or the flu? The first clue for distinguishing a cold from allergies is that allergies tend to itch. You may have congestion, a runny nose, coughing, but if you also notice an itchy

Stuffy nose and itchy red eyes? Is hay fever making your adolescent miserable? Your Teen asked Dr. Roxana Siles, allergist and immunologist with the Cleveland Clinic, for advice on how to treat teens with seasonal allergies. itchy bumps. There are also blood tests that measure antibody levels to a specific allergen, but blood tests are not as sensitive as skin testing and don’t always catch every allergy.

nose or red itchy eyes, that’s a clue. With a viral infection, you will have an overall feeling of being unwell, with symptoms such as a fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, and fatigue. You’ll feel better in 7 to 10 days. With allergies, that congestion or runny nose will persist and intensify with weather changes or at specific times of the year. If your stuffiness or runny nose persists for a few weeks, then we may try to determine if there are allergies. How do you diagnose seasonal allergies? The most effective way to diagnose your specific allergies is with skin testing. It’s quick and painless, and helps us to determine the exact allergens to which a patient reacts. We place drops of liquid containing specific allergens onto the skin, then scratch the skin with an instrument and wait to observe signs of an allergic reaction such as redness or raised, localized,

What is the first step for treating pollen allergies? The first step is avoidance. You can’t live in a bubble and avoid the outdoors entirely, but you can be prepared and plan ahead. Keep track of pollen counts in your area,

Photo: Beth Segal





and limit the time spent outside during high-pollen days. Keep your home environment allergen-free. Keep your windows closed. Air conditioning can effectively clean the air and decrease mold spore counts. Change your clothes and wash up when you come indoors. What if your beloved pet is a problem? When there is a pet in the home, not only do they produce dander, but pets also can bring in pollens from the outdoors. You can make a big difference by removing the pet from the home. If a family doesn’t want to do that, then isolate the pet to one area of the home and limit access to your bedroom. Use high-efficiency air purifiers. Vacuum with HEPA filters. Wash your pet frequently. And remember: there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Shedding isn’t the problem; it’s the dander, which all dogs produce. Some breeds may produce more dander than others, but every dog has dander and the potential to cause allergy problems. So avoidance is the first step. What is the second step? The second step is symptom relief. This is where medications come in. The good news is there are lots of very effective medications which used to be prescription only but now are available over the counter. Antihistamines are best for itching, sneezing and runny or itchy nose. The best medicines for this are 44


Zyrtec (cetirizine), Claritin (loratidine), and Allegra (fexofenide). These are all different drugs, and really, which one is best is a matter of patient preference. I recommend trying them all and seeing which one is most effective for you. The generic versions are just as effective and much less expensive. The only major difference between the three medications is that Allegra is least likely to cause sedation and sleepiness. There are also many other medications available by prescription only. These are not necessarily more effective, but some patients respond better to one than another. Are there different treatments for a stuffed nose? For nasal stuffiness, antihistamines will not give you symptom relief. The best way to treat stuffiness is with steroid nasal sprays. These are also available over the counter now as Flonase (fluticasone), Nasacort (triamcinolone), and Rhinocort (budesonide). Again, patients should try each one and see which medication is most effective for them. When these sprays are used consistently on a daily basis with the proper techniques, they are very effective in reducing and preventing inflammation that produces that stuffiness and congestion. One nasal spray we do not recommend for allergy patients is Afrin, which presents a risk of becoming addictive if used for more than 2-3 days. It’s one thing if you


have a cold and use Afrin for relief for a few days, but allergy patients with persistent symptoms should use an intranasal steroid spray. There are other classes of medications available by prescription only that can be very effective if these overthe-counter medicines aren’t giving you relief. If a patient tries medication but is still miserable, what’s next? If a patient is avoiding exposure, using medications, and still not getting much relief, we may recommend immunotherapy. This is a way to train the body to respond differently to the allergen so when you are exposed, you won’t have the same level of symptoms. We can do this in two ways: shots or oral therapy. Oral, or sublingual therapy, is fairly new. Drops of liquid are given under the tongue. It can be done at home, and right now is available only for two specific allergens: grass pollen and ragweed pollen. The FDA has approved ragweed therapy for patients over 18, and grass pollen down as early as age 5. Studies are currently underway for FDA approval of other allergens as well. Most allergy patients have multiple allergies so this treatment won’t eliminate all of them, but can help to alleviate some discomfort if, for example, you’re absolutely miserable at a certain time of year. Are shots more effective? Shots are the most effective treatment to relieve or minimize symptoms altogether.

We introduce the body to the allergen itself in very small amounts via injections so that the body learns to tolerate that allergen. We start with weekly incremental doses of an allergen. It takes between six and 12 months to reach the optimal dose of immunotherapy. After that, we continue monthly doses for three to five years. Shots are a big time commitment, and like sublingual immunotherapy, they're not for everybody due to risk of allergic reaction. Some patients who had allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy may still require occasional additional medications. Teens can be notoriously resistant to following advice. What can parents do if their teen doesn’t always take their medicine? Allergies can really impact your quality of life. The discomfort from allergies can cause teens to miss school or sports or just feel miserable. Parents can tell teens this: if you don’t take care of your allergies, you’re gonna feel it. If you want to feel better, you have to use your medications consistently. I especially worry when allergies start affecting asthma. I don’t want to see teens end up in the ER because of an asthma attack. It’s a team effort—the patient, parents and allergist all play a part. With a little planning, a good treatment plan, and consistent use of medication, most teens can manage their allergies very effectively and independently. n

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College Testing: Is Earlier Better? By Joanna Nesbit


ollege admissions can feel high stakes, and it’s easy to worry tweens will get behind if you don’t give them every academic nudge as early as possible. Earlier is better, right? For testing, too? Relax, say college admissions testing experts. For the majority of students, there’s no need to break out the ACT or SAT study guides until the summer before junior year. Here’s what families of younger students need to know.


Sophomore year is when most students take their first college-

related tests (and they don’t count). Most schools administer the PSAT (the preliminary SAT) in fall of sophomore year as a practice test for the junior-year PSAT and SAT. The PSAT isn’t an admissions test, and scores aren’t reported to colleges. The purpose is to provide SAT practice and to identify top testers who might qualify for National Merit scholarships if they take the PSAT again junior year. This fall, a new PreACT (formerly the ACT Plan) will launch as a sophomorelevel practice test for the ACT. But only students whose schools offer the PreACT can take it because the test isn’t

available to the general public. The PreACT isn’t tied to scholarship opportunities and, like the PSAT, scores are not reported. There’s no need to prepare for the PSAT sophomore year. According to experts, prepping in 8th or 9th grade is unnecessary. Even sophomores needn’t prepare, says Jed Applerouth, founder of Atlanta-based Applerouth Testing. “For the vast majority of students, prepping in 9th or 10th grade is an inefficient use of time,” Applerouth says. “We see tremendous gains when students begin prepping







for the SAT or ACT after sophomore year.” Some schools now also administer the PSAT 8/9 for younger students (new in 2015). Taking this test can be advantageous for students who are trying to get college credit for high school courses through their state’s dual enrollment program, says Cecilia Castellano, vice provost at Bowling Green State University. "In Ohio, for example, the College Credit Plus program allows students as young as 7th grade to take high school courses and earn college credit, provided the student can meet the same admissions requirements as a regular applicant, and an



early PSAT score can be used to demonstrate that a student is qualified," says Castellano. Juniors can take the PSAT again, but for most it’s not worth it. If students score very high (typically in the top 2 percent) on the junior-year PSAT, they may earn National Merit recognition and college scholarships. It’s the only reason students should take the PSAT as juniors, explains Megan Dorsey, test prep expert and founder of the Houstonbased College Prep Results. Students who score in the top 5 to 10 percent on the PSAT during sophomore year would do well to study for the junior



PSAT for a chance to qualify for National Merit.

generally go up a little after the first sitting."

What should 8th, 9th, and 10th graders do visa-vis college testing? Younger students can still work on skills that help on college admissions tests. “The best thing is to focus on schoolwork,” says Dorsey. Take rigorous courses that help build critical thinking, problem-solving, and math skills. Read fiction and nonfiction texts from many subjects to help develop a strong college-bound vocabulary in all content areas. If your student does not take the PreACT sophomore year, encourage her to try a full-length practice ACT at home. Students can get free practice tests at their school’s college counselor office or online. Compare the experience with the PSAT. The tests are more similar than ever, thanks to recent changes to the PSAT/SAT, but there are still some differences: the SAT has three sections, while the ACT has four, for example. Which test suits your student better (feels easier, less stressful, etc.)? Use the results to decide which official admissions test—the SAT or the ACT—your student will take junior year. The results can also help identify areas for improvement (math, reading  comprehension, etc.). While many juniors take both the ACT and SAT, focusing on one is often more effective and less expensive. "I encourage taking each test once to see which test you perform better on," says Castellano. "Then take the better test for you a second time, because your results

So, when do the tests actually count? Most students take their first official ACT or SAT test sometime during junior year. If your student plans to test fall of junior year, then he should start preparing the summer before. Allowing a month or more for prep is key whether studying independently, taking a class, or working with a tutor. Don’t cram the night before!



Wait, what about AP tests? Or SAT subject tests? Sophomores taking AP classes are required to take the AP tests for those classes in the spring. Experts recommend these sophomores also take the corresponding SAT subject tests. Many competitive colleges require students to submit two or more subject tests, so it’s worth taking them while the material is still fresh in your student’s mind. But students can also take subject tests junior year or early senior year.


Some extracurricular programs require a college admissions score. Most families won’t need to think about admissions testing before 10th grade, but some programs for academically gifted students may require that they take PSAT 8/9, SAT, or ACT to get in. Two examples: the Duke TIP program and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Seventh graders and older qualify with SAT/ACT scores. These highly academic programs are suitable for academically gifted children only. n






no-win situation, but what we overlook is that there are tremendous opportunities that come with technology.” So, this issue, we decided to take an up-close look at some of those opportunities. Here’s what we discovered.

cent indie hit Tangerine, a full-length feature film made in Los Angeles with only an iPhone and an $8 app. “There are a lot of creative outlets for teenagers who are writers and artists, whether that’s a fan-fiction community or an art-sharing community,” explains Devorah Heitner, founder of Raising Digital Natives and the author of Screenwise: Helping Tweens Thrive and Survive in Their Digital World. Some of her favorites for writers include storybird. com (where you can make a book in minutes) as well as and one-story. com, both sites devoted to publishing teenage writers. Even what may seem like


Before the internet, few people got the chance to distribute their creative work widely, whether that was a novel, a short story, photography, film, or another visual art. These days, anyone with a computer—even just a smartphone—can produce and share work online, where thousands of people can potentially see it. Take the re-

run-of-the-mill online activities—hello, Snapchat — offers ways for teenagers to express their creativity, adds Lehner. “The things that people are doing with Snapchat are amazing. Tweens can doodle, draw, add video.”


Some teenagers struggle to make friends. Others have unique interests that their offline peers don’t share. And, sadly, some teenagers—particularly LGBT—live in communities that don’t accept them for who they are. Thanks to the internet, these teenagers now have an opportunity to engage meaningfully with others. A gay teenager growing up in a rural, socially conservative community no longer needs to feel isolated and alone. Teenagers with a passion for rare birds or medieval reenactment can find hundreds of like-minded peers online. And teenagers who are “social misfits” offline can now have a posse of online friends to meet up with virtually after school to play video games. “Teenagers can find others with shared interests outside their immediate community,” notes Heitner.


Photo: Beth Segal

exting. Cyberbullying. Porn addiction. Screen addiction. When it comes to teenagers and technology, what makes it into the news can be grim. But the reality is that for most teenagers, technology is a real positive. And for some, it’s literally a life saver. “The only message that we as parents typically hear is that we need to be afraid of all this and feel really bad when our tweens are in front of screens,” says Jennifer Lehner, a Cleveland-based social media expert. “We’re told: shut them down, password protect everything, and look at everything. It can feel like a

We don’ t love the term “branding” to talk about teenagers, but it does sum up an





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other upside of technology: like adults, teenagers can use LinkedIn, a personal website, and many other services to tell the world who they are. “You have the opportunity to create the story about yourself that you want to tell,” explains Lehner. “Say you’ve created a movie, a song, a PowerPoint. You can share this in a way that makes you shine.” Lehner even recommends that parents purchase the domain that best matches their teenager’s name ( “Just hang on to it until they are ready to use it,” she explains. Lehner adds that teens can start their LinkedIn account as young as 13. “In the summary, they can just add things as they make them: the documentary they made for a group project, the video of the violin recital, etc. By the time they need a resume, they can just send a link. And it’s going to be head and shoulders above anyone else’s stale resume that they are submitting.” It’s also a great way to let college admissions officers know more about you. Finally, says Lehner, while teenagers may be using technology in ways that we couldn’t have imagined when we were their age, there are still a few things we can teach them. “Here’s what teenagers really need to know: password protection, what a corrupt file looks like, how to do an effective Google search, and, lastly, the importance of regularly updating apps (which will keep your device as secure as possible).” n

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Photo: Beth Segal

How to Earn Cash When You’re Under 16

By Cathie Ericson


hat is one of the most hated tasks you have to undertake on a regular basis? For me, it’s cleaning and vacuuming the inside of the car: Where do all those mystery stains, wayward  french  fries, and random socks come from, anyway?   So when my tween was looking for a job, I suggested he take the dreaded chore off other people’s hands. I even came up with a clever name for his company, “An Inside Job.” We posted flyers around town, and he got that hand vac whirring.   We had to get creative because he was at that age where he wasn’t yet old enough to hit the mall or movie theater for “real” employment (in most states you have to be 16), but he sure was old

enough to drain my wallet with requests to visit that mall and movie theater.   “As prime consumers of what’s most in style and popular, younger teenagers typically have a strong desire to earn some of their own money to do with as they choose,” says Sara Dimerman, psychologist and author of How to Influence Your Tweens For Good. “They are typically quite motivated to find paid work that will allow them these indulgences.”  

Finding Gainful Employment  

Many of us earned our first dollars babysitting, pet watching, or staffing a lemonade stand—still all fantastic options. But there are other ways your child can earn a buck—or, hopefully, more.  “Mow lawns, collect mail for out-of

town neighbors, and do other household chores for family and friends,” suggests Heather McElrath, director of communications for Jump$tart, a coalition of organizations that promote financial literacy among K-12 students.  If you or a friend owns a business, a younger teenager could help around the office with filing, updating customer lists, and the like, adds Dimerman. Tech-savvy tweens and teens are also a great choice for setting up smartphone or social media accounts. I had mine scan a zillion recipes I had collected and organize my photos online.    “Although I am not a fan of paying your child for chores around the house, it may be okay to offer money for taking care of larger jobs, such as pulling weeds or cleaning out the garage,” adds Dimerman. 




MONEY MATTERS Think of tasks they can do with minimal supervision so their job doesn’t also become a part-time job for you.  

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Parents need to be cautious not to deflate their younger teen’s interest in earning money by doling out dollars every time he wants to download a new song or buy a latte. “The best way to motivate teenagers to want to earn their own money is to be careful not to indulge every whim,” cautions Dimerman. That means that if your daughter is eyeing a new pair of jeans for her alreadybulging closet, she should probably save for them on her own.  “While it’s important for parents to encourage students to earn, it’s also important to talk to them about what they are going to do with their money,” says McElrath. “The conversation can be as simple as encouraging a student to break their earnings into giving, spending, and saving.”  Finally, encourage middle-schoolers and young high schoolers to spend their dough on something that’s fun and relatively attainable, says Laura Levine, president and CEO of Jump$tart. “My opinion, both professionally and as a parent, is that it’s not critical at middle school age to save all their earnings for important or long-term goals.” Levine says that younger teens can learn a good work ethic, delayed gratification, and the pride of ownership by saving up for a bike or an iPad.  n


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Middle School Dating By Michelle Icard

In all seriousness, though, it might be fair to put dating—or “going out” as many middle schoolers say—near the top of the list. An interest in being more than friends is one of many signs your tween is entering adolescence. It’s helpful for parents to recognize that being more than friends doesn’t necessarily mean an interest in physical intimacy. A lack of clear terms is part of the problem. When a middle schooler wants to date or go out, we’re left wondering, “What does that even mean?” Begin by asking your tween what it means for her. Is it spending time together at the mall or movies? Or maybe it’s just extra texting and a change in her social-media status. You won’t know unless you ask. This is also an opportunity for you to talk about your own expectations for what you believe is and is not appropriate in middle school. There is no hard rule for when tweens should be allowed to date. Keep in mind that even if you forbid dating, your tween may still spend lots of time with a special someone at school. What’s more, forbidden fruit has a unique appeal. Rather than a flat no, you might consider a more nuanced answer that includes “yes” to some scenarios (Okay, you can say you’re going out), “maybe” to others (I’ll consider whether you can go to a movie together, but if I say yes, I will be in the theater a few rows away), and “no” to others (You are too young to go to the movies without a chaperone and, by the way, you’re too young to kiss). You should also be talking about the appropriate age or circumstance for different levels of physical contact. This is not for the faint of heart, but you can do it. Otherwise, how will your tween know what’s appropriate?

For many tweens, dating in middle school simply means texting or Snapchatting excessively. Remember, middle schoolers often feel isolated and abnormal by nature. They fret about being likeable and accepted. To be dating (whatever that means) can be the ultimate confidence booster. It can also be a nice way to make a personal connection, learn how respectful relationships are built, and develop personal insight. Plus, remember the thrill of your first crush? It’s just fun. Do keep an eye out for serial relationships, though. A 2013 study from the University of Georgia found that middle schoolers who were in high-frequency or back-to-back relationships tended to be prone to higher-risk behaviors, like drinking or doing drugs, later in adolescence. I would caution against group dating, too. It may seem like a safety net to have more tweens around, but the group mentality can quickly push boundaries. Two awkward, gawky tweens forced to think of conversation is much better than a group of tweens daring the couple to go into a closet for seven minutes. (I don’t know if that’s still a thing, but it was when I was in middle school. ) You get the point. If dating in middle school terrifies you, take stock of your concerns. Perhaps you’re worried about early physical intimacy, heartbreak, or your tween’s reputation. Don’t overwhelm yourself or your child with fears, but take the top one or two and discuss them calmly and without criticism. Whenever your child wants something, he or she is more open to listening to you. Use that to your advantage. This is a good opportunity to share your values , perspectives, and hopes.

If you react reasonably, with a willingness to learn and be flexible, your child will trust your judgment and continue to seek it as the issues around dating become increasingly complex. n Michelle Icard is the author of Middle School Makeover: Improving the Way You and Your Child Experience the Middle School Years. Learn more about her work with middle schoolers and their parents at

Photo: Beth Segal

I sometimes joke that the thing that scares parents most about their tweens going to middle school is “all of it.”






Delaney Ruston

Delaney Ruston is a family physician and documentary filmmaker. Her most recent documentary is Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age. We talked to Ruston about “screen-free zones” and other ways her family strikes a balance with technology. What prompted you to make the movie? There is a tsunami happening with tweens getting smartphones. Every family now has to deal with this. As a parent, I wanted to explore how to make sure tweens have balance. And as a physician, I was thinking about what effects an enormous amount of screen time—the average is 6 ½ hours per day—has on development. The movie offers some helpful takeaways, like creating a screen-free zone in your home. Why is it important for parents to step in when it comes to screen-time? The dopamine in our brains is most active during the teenage years, so screen time is more compelling during these years, too. The idea that we can just tell teenagers, “Do it less” or, “Find moderation on your own” is not going to promote the kind of self-control that we want them to develop. It is asking too much. We need to help them be off of devices for some period of time every day. Anyone can create a screen-free 54


zone in their home; we are doing our teenagers a favor when we create those. How do you make sure screen-free zones stay that way? We have a rule where we don’t use cell phones in the car. Instead, we talk and listen to music. It’s not always easy. Just last night my mom was in town and my daughter was in the back seat. Because I was talking to my mom, it made my daughter feel like she was off the hook and she went on her phone. I had to remind her of our family rule and gently take the phone from her. She just wants to check in with her friends, but if we want to have rules, then it takes effort to make sure it happens. Overall, we are happy as a family to have this particular rule, but we also know that we are all susceptible to the pull of our devices in the car. Many parents would find themselves in a fight if they tried to take the phone away. You need to talk about your rules—and your consequences—in advance. We talk


about this a lot and make decisions about our rules together; my daughter was part of the rule-making process, so she understands our agreement. She might be frustrated in that moment, but she understands why I took her phone. It’s not arbitrary. I wouldn’t, for example, just take the phone from her because I feel she’s been on it too long. That doesn’t fit with any defined rules in our home. You advocate creating a technology contract with your teenager. Can you elaborate on that? Yes, and I recommend the one that Janell Burley Hofmann wrote for the Huffington Post. I learned that taking time to talk about and write down our philosophies about technology offered a roadmap for our family to move through this constantly changing technological world. It’s about sitting down with your tweens and coming up with rules, guidelines, and realistic consequences. And it’s for the parents as much as the tweens. We are all vulnerable to the downside of technology.

How frequently do you revisit the contract? We have a weekly meeting where we talk about technology. We call it Tech Talk Tuesday. What happens during Tech Talk Tuesday? These are short, calm conversations, and we’ve found they do a lot to counteract the ways in which technology is separating families. When making the film, I saw first-hand the impact of technology on family life. I’d hear siblings say that the only time they talked to each other was when they were knocking on the bathroom door. This separation is very real. It’s happening all over. The ability of these devices to take our attention away from those people right around us is so strong. It’s becoming the norm to be in the same room, but to be mentally and emotionally separated thanks to our personal devices.

What topics do you talk about during Tech Talk Tuesday? Just last night we talked about the idea of multitasking. My son said when he is on his computer and his sister wants his attention, he has a hard time shifting his attention away from his screen. He also said that he feels the same way about my daughter. When he walks by and says, “Hi,” he barely gets a response from her. Or after dinner, for example, when I go back to my computer, they don’t feel like I’m going to be available to them. So, going forward, I will try to be more aware of that. If they talk to me, or need me, I will try to step away from the computer. What do you think about monitoring your teen's social media activity? It really depends on your child. Most parents worry about what’s happening on social media. I think parents should worry more about whether their child will come to them with a problem. A lot

of tweens won’t because they worry that their parent will take away their phone. So parents might be missing an opportunity to help during an important time. When my daughter got her phone at 13, I told her that I could look at anything at any time. But now that she’s in 8th grade, we’ve altered that. Instead of just picking up her phone, I will ask to take a look at what’s going on with her texts. I let her be in control of this and walk me through her texts or social media or whatever. The point isn’t to trap her, but to let her know that I’m here if things aren’t going well—that we can work together on this stuff. n





Don’t Be Your Teenager’s Best Friend By Rebecca Meiser


all it the Gilmore Girls Syndrome. You see other mothers and their teenage daughters texting each other constantly throughout the day. On birthdays and Mother’s Day, they post long messages on each other’s Facebook walls, proclaiming how lucky they are to have each other as best friends. Meanwhile your own teenager tells you, at least once a month, how much she hates you. It’s only natural to think: What am I doing wrong? Maybe my daughter and I would be closer if I told her about that time I got really drunk that night in Mexico…. Take a breath before you jump into the sharing. Experts advise keeping those stories to yourself. “Your number one role is to keep your child safe,” explains Dr. Barbara Greenberg, a Connecticutbased clinical psychologist and co-author of Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual. What teenagers need most at this experimental stage of their life—as they test boundaries and try out new identities—is for you to be a stable, attentive parent, not their best friend. “Teens need parents they can lean on and push up against,” explains Greenberg. But that doesn’t mean your teenager will like it when you set limits or tell her no. It is not uncommon, at this stage, to hear your teen yell, “I hate you” or “You are embarrassing me.” To survive these times, Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a child development expert and author of Get the Behavior You Want … Without Being



Photo: Beth Segal

the Parent You Hate! advises putting on some emotional armor and developing a group of close adult friends you can lean on for support. “The role of a teenager is to figure out how to separate in a safe and healthy way from their nuclear family,” explains

The good news is that you can still be close with your child, without trying to squeeze into teen sizes at Forever 21. Gilboa. “But as a parent, this can absolutely feel like rejection. You have to be willing to be not liked. That’s part of the job description.” Your teen shouldn’t view you as his best friend, and you shouldn’t view him as your personal confidant. “It puts them in an awkward situation,” says Greenberg. “Your 16-year-old doesn’t have the answers about how you should deal with your boss.” Nor should he be expected to carry the weight of that adult responsibility. Indeed, referring to your teenager as your “best friend”—even if it’s in a joking way—puts a lot of pressure on the


teen. “It leaves them with mixed feelings about leaving the house because then they feel like they’re leaving you behind or abandoning you,” Greenberg adds. “So many teens say to me, I think my mother is going to be lonely if I leave,” and it stops them from exploring their own ambitions and goals.   The good news is that you can still be close with your child, without trying to squeeze into teen sizes at Forever 21. That closeness comes from being physically and emotionally available— and listening non-judgmentally to your teen’s problems and concerns, experts say. “In life, who other than your parent really cares about the minutia of your day?” Greenberg says with a laugh. And though you may not be your child’s best friend, you can certainly be your child’s biggest cheerleader. By providing a safe, supportive structure during the teen years, you are laying the foundation for having a close, intimate friendship with your adult child in the future. “Putting in these last years of hard work as parents is what enables you to have decades of friendships with your children as adults,” says Gilboa. And if you navigate this part right, you’ll have helped form some really great, independent 20- and 30-somethings with whom you’ll want to hang out. n

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”Mom, I Want to Be a Vegetarian“ By Helen Chibnik

It’s late on Sunday afternoon. The chores are done, dinner is sizzling in the oven, and you finally have some time for yourself. But just as you finish No. 2 across in the Sunday crossword puzzle, your 16-year-old daughter appears before you to say, “I’ve decided not to eat meat anymore, or chicken, or fish.” You peer at her over the top of your glasses and without taking a breath, you point toward the kitchen and say, “Well then I don’t know what you’re going to eat for dinner because do you smell that? It’s a stuffed roaster, with gravy!” This was the scene in my home about a month ago. Because teenagers are filled with minirebellions against pretty much every58


thing, I wasn’t sure if her announcement was a well-thought-out lifestyle change, or a temporary insurgence against beef. But when she didn’t leave the room I added, “I guess you’ll have to learn to cook.” We want our tweens to be assertive, to maintain their values, and to live their best lives, don’t we? Of course we do. But I have three tweens and a job and no time or desire to learn new recipes or change the way our family eats. I outlined why her vegetarianism wouldn’t work: 1. You’re an athlete, and you won’t get enough protein. 2. Nobody in our family likes tofu. 3. I don’t know how to cook without chicken stock.


She still didn’t leave or get upset with me, so I folded the newspaper and gave her my undivided attention. “Okay, why?” I asked. “Things have changed, Mom,” she began. “We don’t need to eat like cave people any more.” She pointed to our family dog. “Would you eat Lucky?” she asked. “Of course not,” I answered. “He’s our pet.” “Some people have chickens for pets. And you know what else? Consuming meat like we do is a problem. It’s hurting the planet, and I don’t want to be part of the problem. You’re always telling us, ‘Don’t be part of the problem.’” So there it was. She was using my advice against me. Damn her for being so incisive! For dinner she had a plain baked potato and steamed carrots. As I ate the crispy skin from my chicken thigh, I started to dislike her for her healthy choices. What was my problem? The next day at her request, we went shopping. I had to fight my herding instincts to let her go down the health food aisle but I managed. Staring at us were cellophane bags of things like almond meal and spelt. “What is spelt?” I asked, in a way that might have been a little snarky. She shrugged and looked at the bag. “I don’t know. Maybe they have recipes online. Let’s look at the package.” All of a sudden I was disarmed. This wasn’t the 16-year-old “I know everything” adventure I was expecting. I calmly explained that this was new to all of us and our whole family couldn’t change overnight. “I know,” she said. “I don’t expect you to change, I just want to change myself.” So, I had it all wrong. She was happy to be the vegetarian member of a carnivorous family and I was the one being immature. She wasn’t judging us. She was asserting herself and asking for help. That’s what I want, isn’t it?

With the pressure off, I made a few vegetarian dishes with surprisingly little resistance from her two younger sisters. I haven’t gotten to the point where I serve the entire family chickpeas and almond loaf for Sunday dinner, but I have learned that understanding and acceptance are more important than what cooks in the oven. Our foray into vegetarianism scared me at first. But given the chance to hear one another out, we learned how to talk about it and to see things from each other’s point of view, in a new and more mature way. She didn’t know it, but she was also teaching me how to be a better parent. Her choice to be vegetarian had more to do with her growing independence than anything else. So as much as I will miss our trips to our favorite burger place, I would rather eat with her at Earth Foods then eat without her somewhere else. And I’m happy to say that I still serve burgers. My daughter doesn’t complain when we eat them, and I don’t mind that she doesn’t partake. Now, when we sit down to Sunday dinner, we offer each other a healthy portion of agreeing to disagree because as it turns out, family harmony is the best dish of all. n

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Campaign topics include: Teen Dating Violence I Anti-Bullying I Distracted Driving I Prescription Drug Abuse I Underage Drinking I Human Trafficking

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For Information: Nancy Schaumburg, LISW-S SAY Coordinator 216.320.8469




ALL ABOUT ME Must it always be about them? All About Me is a chance to talk about something other than your teen—finally.

I’ve Got FOMO Too By Stephanie Schaeffer Silverman

Adult FOMO. I’ve got it bad. Fear of Missing Out—we use it all the time to talk about our teens. They see all of their friends getting together (without them), read posts about the concert they couldn’t get tickets to, the list goes on and on. The acronym seemed ridiculous when I first heard it. Until I realized I had it. Pictures on Facebook of a beach with an amazing sunset? Zip-lining through the trees in Costa Rica? Coffee with a stream of milk in the shape of a heart? Deal me in. At first, I was in denial. I thought it was just a “Well, that looks nice” kind of reaction, but as time went on, the desire got stronger and the “events” loomed larger and more attractive. It happened most recently with the Republican National Convention here in Cleveland. Putting all political party affinities aside, I wanted to be a part of it. Call it FOMO, call it curiosity—I wanted to be there. When I told this to my husband, he offered several responses: “You know there’s a lot of security downtown, right? You can’t just walk in.” 60


I hadn’t thought about that. Good point.

ment in their not-yet-conceived-oreven-conceptualized eyes.

“You know you hate crowds.” Good point #2.

I never had this problem before. Where was this coming from?

Why couldn’t anyone understand that I just wanted to feel the energy of the city? It was historic and it was happening here, in our city.

I decided that this whole way of thinking had nothing to do with my kids getting older—one in college, one in high school, and one in middle school. I pretended this was actually all about me—my needs, my experiences, my worth, my legacy. I pretended there was no sadness about them growing up, leaving the nest and building their own lives. And this had nothing to do with two of them gone for the remainder of the summer, in another country.

My friend offered a similar response. “Are you crazy?” she asked. “I don’t think it’s safe—something could happen.” But I wanted to be there when “it” happens. “Sounds like a lot of work.” Good point #3. I didn’t go in the end, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I missed an opportunity of a lifetime. What if my whole life went by and I missed all of these chances? I pictured sitting in my comfy rocking chair, my grandchildren strewn about, asking me about the time Cleveland hosted the RNC—“What was it like, Grandma?” “I don’t know, sweetie; I wasn’t there,” seemed like a ridiculous response. I couldn’t stand to see the disappoint-


There is a saying about the work expanding to fill the time that is available. With each kid’s burgeoning freedom, I am working harder and harder to fill the “empy” space. Emptiness would feel….I can’t even go there. Best to just fill it and squash those rising feelings, by filing it with new activities to replace soccer carpool, instrument lessons, circling back for pickups, all while having dinner on the stove. I finally had it down to a science. So, FOMO it is—Fear of Moving On.n

LAKE RIDGE ACADEMY The West Side’s Premier K-12 College Preparatory School


Kemper Science and Engineering The new 9,200 square foot building serves all K-12 students and includes: • Advanced engineering and makers lab featuring 3-D printers, laser cutters and routers • Greenhouse offering a year-round living classroom • College-level chemistry and research lab


OPEN HOUSE Sunday, October 16

Presentation Starts at 1 pm RSVP 440-327-1175 ext. 9104 or at

37501 Center Ridge Road • North Ridgeville, OH 44039 • 440.327.1175 •

Bellefaire JCB 22001 Fairmount Blvd. Shaker Heights, Ohio 44118


When Katie Ly ’18 arrived at WRA, shyness often kept her from speaking up in class. But when she discovered dance, her confidence began to grow. As she became more aware of her body’s movement, she started to walk taller, more assured. And she opened up in class. At WRA, every student is encouraged to discover outlets for self-expression on their path to developing the confidence to excel in the world ahead. Katie is taking all the right steps.


To find out why Western Reserve Academy has been ranked among the top boarding schools in the nation, visit, call 330.650.9717 or come to our Fall Open Houses in Hudson, OH, on Oct. 9 and Nov. 13.

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7/20/16 4:54 PM

Your Teen For Parents: September-October 2016  

High School Stress" Surviving and Thriving

Your Teen For Parents: September-October 2016  

High School Stress" Surviving and Thriving