Put on your SSHADES! Using a strength-based approach to empower teens

Put on your SSHADES! Using a strength-based approach to empower teens

The strength-based approach to screening and counselling adolescents in clinical settings has been proven to help build resilience. Developing resilience helps kids handle failure, which is an important predictor of life success as an adult. Recently, I had the opportunity to teach a wonderful group of pediatricians from across the Netherlands about working with teens and the use of a tool called SSHADES which starts with asking teens about their unique abilities.

Preparing kids for the path ahead: the ‘Snowplow’ vs the ‘Dolphin’ approach

Preparing kids for the path ahead: the ‘Snowplow’ vs the ‘Dolphin’ approach

Snowplow, helicopter, lawnmower: what do all these terms refer to? Believe it or not, they all refer to forms of parenting brought to light in the aftermath of the recent college bribery scandal in the USA (read the article). ‘Snowplow’ parents (or ‘curling’ uders, as they are known in Dutch) are defined as, "machines chugging ahead, clearing any obstacles in their child's path to success, so they don't have to encounter failure, frustration or lost opportunities." Helicopter parents hover overhead. There’s a fine balance to be sought between being supportive and engaged vs being controlling or trying to engineer outcomes. As mentioned in our previous post on strengths, handling challenges is a predictor of adult success. If the snowplow approach prevents kids from facing obstacles and experiencing challenges or failure, perhaps being present and engaged (but not clearing the way of challenges) would be a better option?

Teen Sexting: When it’s more than just saying no

Teen Sexting: When it’s more than just saying no

Sexting is emerging as a modern way to flirt. According to a recent survey, nearly 80% of US adults have sent or received a sext. Many teens believe it is fine to sext, too. How should adults approach teen sexting? Are the consequences of sexting more severe in kids than adults? Also, is it enough for adults to simply tell preteens and teens to just not do it?  As with safe sex and teens, I suggest taking a step-wise approach to sexting. Here’s why.  

Tip of the Month

Tip of the Month

One of our family rituals is to do a monthly family movie night. Unfortunately, there are a lot of movies and shows out there with a high level of violence, profanity, etc. As a parent, I often struggle with finding movies that I think have a good message and are preteen/teen appropriate. Common sense media is my go-to-place for tips and suggestions. It is a comprehensive media website which provides well researched and concise recommendations on a wide range of topics including movies and screen time media plans, but also books and shows. 

Tip of the Month

Tip of the Month

I am often asked how to help kids and parents to navigate screen time, social media and other issues. Dr David Reitman, a pediatrician, parent and fellow adolescent health colleague, along with Marc Groman, a former Obama White House tech and privacy adviser, have launched a wonderful podcast series called “Their Own Devices”.