Stories about: teens

Why our teens turn us into shrews

mom of teenIt happens each time one of my children enters the teenage years (sometimes a little bit before). I go from having a lovely child and feeling like a reasonably pleasant parent to having a moody houseguest and becoming a shrew.

You’d think, having gone through this now four times, that I’d figure out how to avoid it. Or that I’d expect it. Or not let it bother me so much. Nope. It happened again, it caught me off guard, and I hate it.

To be fair, it’s only natural to be optimistic each time a child of yours moves out of the sweet years. After all, they are such sweet years: the years after diapers and being woken all night, the years when you begin to have real conversations and real fun with them, when they make you laugh and still love to snuggle with you. Sure, they can be messy and maddening, but overall they are so sweet that you think: how bad could the teenage years be?

Pretty bad, of course. Not just because of how teens act, but also because of how we parents end up acting in response. Here’s why turning into a shrew is inevitable:

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Could starting high school later be healthier for teens?

Lack of sleep can affect academic performance in teens.

According to experts, teenagers need a little more than eight hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately, (surprise, surprise) most teens aren’t listening. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that only 31 percent of high school students get eight or more hours of sleep on an average school night.

This is upsetting news because poor sleep is tied to a lot more than a teenager having a bad attitude when she’s tired. Insufficient sleep is linked to an increased risk for chronic diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, depression and obesity. Sleepy drivers are more likely to get in an accident, and sleepy students tend to do worse on tests than their well-rested peers. Teens who average less than eight hours of sleep per night are also more likely to drink, do drugs and indulge in inappropriate sexual behavior.

Clearly our teens need more sleep. But as any parent will tell you, telling a teenager to go to bed earlier is one thing—getting her to actually do it is something else all together.

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Pink cigarette ads target teenage girls

Camel No. 9by Dafna Lemish, PhD

The “pinkification” of girls’ culture – their clothes, toys and accessories – is a booming and relatively recent marketing strategy, marking girls as “cute” and thus very different than boys, who are “tough.” Walk into any clothing or toy store or go online and try to buy something for your daughter that’s not pink. Check your favorite online shopping sites.

But pink has recently shown up in a more insidious and dangerous place: cigarette packaging. The “pink campaign” by Camel cigarettes was introduced in 2007 to appeal directly to pre-teen girls by exploiting a color associated with this age and gender group.

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