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Does Helicopter Parenting Cause Binge Drinking?

Last year, I did a short blog series on helicopter parenting and the effects this has on students. Recently, I came across an article in the Atlantic that suggested a strong link between helicopter parenting and the alcohol problem on college campuses. It was a really interesting read, not in the last place because the real conclusion the author comes to is much deeper than the somewhat sensationalist title suggests.

The article states several reasons and arguments for the conclusion that helicopter parenting leads to binge drinking in college: Continue reading Does Helicopter Parenting Cause Binge Drinking?

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Teenagers Are Having Less Sex

[This post is part of our series on Let’s Talk About Sex] The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the US has issued some new stats on teenage sex. Compared to 25 years ago, the numbers are the lowest, but little has changed in the last few years.

This study showed that 44% of girls and 47% of boys between 15 and 19 reported being sexually active. In 1988, these numbers were 51 and 60 percent respectively, so these stats show a drop. However, if you look at the last few years (2006 till 2013) the changes are not statistically significant, the CDC reports, meaning that they’re pretty much the same and even show some growth for the boys to the level they were at around 2002. Continue reading Teenagers Are Having Less Sex

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Why Are Girls Starting Puberty Earlier?

Fact: girls are starting puberty earlier. Breast development for instance, is occurring earlier and earlier and isn’t all the uncommon amongst 7-year olds. According to the most recent U.S. data (from 2013), 23 percent of black girls, 15 percent of Hispanic girls and 10 percent of white girls have started to develop breasts by the age of seven.

However, the age at which girls start to menstruate has begun on average only three months earlier compared with decades past. That means puberty not only begins earlier but lasts longer than before. This longer exposure to estrogen causes some alarm, since this could possible increase the risk of breast cancer, but the biggest issues are psychological.

The big question, then, is what’s causing this. Why are girls starting puberty earlier? Continue reading Why Are Girls Starting Puberty Earlier?

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Are Teens Losing Conversational Skills Due to Phones?

Teenagers are losing their skills in conversations because of the role smart phones play in their lives. That’s, in a nutshell, the premise of the book Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. And boy, it’s a challenging read…

Author Sherry Turkle is a MIT Professor in the Social Studies of Science and Technology. She’s not a nobody, to put it mildly—she’s been researching the psychology of people’s relationships with technology for over thirty years. She kinda knows what she’s talking about, which makes the book so powerful to read. Continue reading Are Teens Losing Conversational Skills Due to Phones?

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Body Shaming: You May Do It Without Being Aware

It’s not easy being a teen in the Internet age. When I grew up, all we had to compare ourselves to were the pop stars and movie stars on TV or in magazines (anyone remembers those, magazines?). Nowadays, teens have to deal with the entire Internet.

Sadly, that means putting up with a lot of body shaming. Body shaming means putting down a certain body type, appearance, or weight—whether someone is too skinny, too fat, too pear-shaped, or whatever. Continue reading Body Shaming: You May Do It Without Being Aware

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It’s Us Who Need To Adapt

In 2010, we moved from The Netherlands to Germany. Now, these are neighboring countries in Europe, so you’d think the differences would be small.

Wrong.

First of all, there’s a difference in language. In The Netherlands (also known as Holland) we speak Dutch. In Germany, they speak German. The two languages are related, meaning if you both speak slowly you can understand about half of what the other person is saying, but it’s easy to make embarrassing mistakes. One example: the German word ‘schlimm’ means ‘bad.’. The Dutch word ‘slim’ (which is pronounced almost the same way) means ‘smart’. Yeah, that’s a big difference. Continue reading It’s Us Who Need To Adapt

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Book Review: Masterminds and Wingmen

This is the most detailed, research-based, yet practical book on boys you will ever find. After the bestseller Queen Bees and Killer Bees (which led to the movie Mean Girls), Rosalind Wiseman has now focused on boys and how they interact in groups.

Masterminds and Wingmen explores the roles boys have in a group, for instance the mastermind (the leader), the entertainer, or the conscience. Wiseman described these roles in an article for Family Circle, which gives a good overview.

The book isn’t just about the roles boys have in groups—though that’s an underlying structure that Wiseman keeps referring to. She tackles topics like gaming, girls, sports, communication, lying, bullying, and much more. Continue reading Book Review: Masterminds and Wingmen

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The Difference between Bullying and Drama

If we want to take bullying seriously, we need to start by being able to recognize it when we see it. When does teasing or calling names become bullying? And according to teens, there’s also a thing called ‘drama’. What is drama exactly and how soes it help us distinguish better between drama and bullying? Continue reading The Difference between Bullying and Drama

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Book Review: Guyland

If you want to understand guys better, Guyland is a solid place to start. Reading it certainly opened my eyes to the reality of being a boy/guy/man in America.

Author Michael Kimmel explores the world of guys, meaning 16-26 year olds, and the picture he paints is a startling one. It especially focuses on college students and the life they lead—tackling topics like binge drinking, hazing, hooking up, and the infamous ‘guy code’. Continue reading Book Review: Guyland

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Bullying: How serious do we take it?

Recently, I was talking with two middle school girls about some messages they had received from a girl in their class. The girls had been spotted hanging out with some guys at youth group (!) and were now accused of being sluts. Yes, that’s right. Just talking to a couple of guys at youth group of all places was enough ammunition for one girl to attack them.

They showed me the texts this girl had sent the both of them on their phones. The language was quite…graphic. Slut was actually one of the nicer words. So what do you do when teens share something like that? Continue reading Bullying: How serious do we take it?