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Pediatrician is changing the way we think about teens with 'lighthouse parenting' tips

Dr. Ken Ginsburg’s advice for parents is like a hug, TED talk and Masterclass rolled into one.

parenting teens
Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

'Lighthouse parenting' can help make raising teens less rocky.

As a parent of teens, I often wonder: Why didn’t anyone tell me it would be like this? I don’t mean the warnings and complaints about how challenging the teen years are. I don’t mean all of the “just you wait” admonitions. I don’t mean the cliches and memes. What I want to know is why no one told me how awesome raising teens can be.

Don’t get me wrong, raising teens is not without its challenges. But for the most part, the teen years are portrayed as something to survive, not something to enjoy—and Dr. Ken Ginsburg is on a mission to change that.

A pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and co-founder and director of programs at the Center for Parent and Teen Communication, Dr. Ginsburg has focused his career on changing how we think about, treat and raise teenagers.

His message of optimism is a welcome respite from the constant doomsday messages we hear about teenagers. The cliches, warnings and complaints about teens start early and continue often. Parents need to vent—and there is a lot to vent about—but the narratives we tell about teens are so one-sided and predominantly negative that I’ve been legit shocked at how fulfilling, rewarding and—dare I say—fun raising teens can be. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?

Ginsburg told Upworthy he suspects that part of the reason for the success of his latest book—"Congrats, You’re Having a Teen"—is that people are hungry for a book about teens that doesn’t focus on survival.

Raising teens isn’t all sunshine and roses. It is nerve-wracking, terrifying and emotional. But Ginsburg has made it his life’s work to dispel common myths about teens. Some key culprits: the misconception that teens don’t care what their parents think, that teens are inherently risk-prone and that teens don’t act rationally. To counteract the damaging impact of these myths, Dr. Ginsburg promotes “lighthouse parenting.”

“Parents,” Dr. Ginsburg advises, “you should be like a lighthouse for your child—a stable force on the shoreline from which they should measure themselves against. You should look down at the rocks and make sure they don’t crash against them. Look into the waves and trust that they will learn to ride them, and it’s your job to prepare them to do so.”

Unlike other talked-about parenting styles, like helicopter parenting and free-range parenting, lighthouse parenting—or balanced parenting—is grounded in science. Decades of research shows that not only does lighthouse parenting yield better academic, social, mental/emotional health and behavior outcomes, but (perhaps most importantly) it also leads to better relationships between parents and their children.

How do we tell the difference between rocks and waves? Is graduating from high school a rock or a wave? What about getting into college? Is underage drinking a choppy wave or a sharp rock?

Ginsburg explains it like this: Waves are challenges that you can ride through with the right skill sets, but rocks are dangers you might not survive no matter how prepared you are. Didn’t study for an important test? A wave. Getting in the car with a driver who has been drinking? A rock, definitely a rock.

I’ll be honest, in today’s increasingly high-stakes and ultra-competitive world of college admissions, travel sports and prestigious schools, it can be hard to know when to step in and when to let your child lead the way—especially when you know a wave might crash on top of them, leaving them gasping for air. But Ginsburg has a navigational tool for that too: think about the 35-year-old you’re raising.

When we look at success narrowly in terms of accomplishments, Ginsburg says we’re focusing on what our children are doing rather than who they are being and becoming. But when parents shift their focus onto the 35-year-old version of their teen, we look at success very differently with a focus on who they really are.

“The starting point is to know your child,” he says. “For a child to be ultimately successful, it has to be success that matches who they really are, not your vision of who they might become.”

Another mind-blowing piece of advice? Raise teens for their second job, not their first. Their first job might be influenced by accomplishments like good grades and high SAT scores, but their second job is when character traits like compassion and perseverance have a chance to shine.

Being a lighthouse, raising the 35-year-old and preparing them for their second job can be easier said than done, especially when a teen is slamming a door in your face or telling you (once again) that you don’t know what you’re talking about. But our teens aren’t pushing us away, Ginsburg says, they are simply struggling with their own growing independence.

The frustration is real, he acknowledges, but it is rooted in misunderstandings about teen development. Research shows that young people actually do care deeply about what their parents think, and they want to have good relationships with their parents.

So stay calm, be the lighthouse, ride the waves.

“The most protective thing in a young person’s life is to be known, seen, and valued just as you are, with all of your strengths and all of your limitations,” he told Upworthy. “When you know that the person who knows you the most, knows your character strengths and those areas in need of improvement—and that person continues to adore you, that gives you strength to launch into adulthood truly secure in who you are. That’s what gives you the strength to navigate the waves of adolescence when other people are challenging who you are.”

Ginsburg’s book was released in early October and he's been doing television interviews that are resonating with many people. I’ll admit, I was on the verge of tears for nearly our entire interview. His advice feels like a hug, a TED talk and a Masterclass on parenting all rolled into one. In the words of Sheinelle Jones, who interviewed him on TODAY, “This was a sermon.”

Amen.

Pop Culture

Here’s a paycheck for a McDonald’s worker. And here's my jaw dropping to the floor.

So we've all heard the numbers, but what does that mean in reality? Here's one year's wages — yes, *full-time* wages. Woo.

Making a little over 10,000 for a yearly salary.


I've written tons of things about minimum wage, backed up by fact-checkers and economists and scholarly studies. All of them point to raising the minimum wage as a solution to lifting people out of poverty and getting folks off of public assistance. It's slowly happening, and there's much more to be done.

But when it comes right down to it, where the rubber meets the road is what it means for everyday workers who have to live with those wages. I honestly don't know how they do it.


Ask yourself: Could I live on this small of a full-time paycheck? I know what my answer is.

(And note that the minimum wage in many parts of the county is STILL $7.25, so it would be even less than this).

paychecks, McDonalds, corporate power, broken system

One year of work at McDonalds grossed this worker $13,811.18.

assets.rebelmouse.io

This story was written by Brandon Weber and was originally appeared on 02.26.15

Bill Gates in conversation with The Times of India

Bill Gates sure is strict on how his children use the very technology he helped bring to the masses.

In a recent interview with the Mirror, the tech mogul said his children were not allowed to own their own cellphone until the age of 14. "We often set a time after which there is no screen time, and in their case that helps them get to sleep at a reasonable hour," he said. Gates added that the children are not allowed to have cellphones at the table, but are allowed to use them for homework or studying.


The Gates children, now 20, 17 and 14, are all above the minimum age requirement to own a phone, but they are still banned from having any Apple products in the house—thanks to Gates' longtime rivalry with Apple founder Steve Jobs.

smartphones, families, responsible parenting, social media

Bill Gates tasting recycled water.

Image from media.giphy.com.

While the parenting choice may seem harsh, the Gates may be onto something with delaying childhood smartphone ownership. According to the 2016 "Kids & Tech: The Evolution of Today's Digital Natives"report, the average age that a child gets their first smartphone is now 10.3 years.

"I think that age is going to trend even younger, because parents are getting tired of handing their smartphones to their kids," Stacy DeBroff, chief executive of Influence Central, told The New York Times.

James P. Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that reviews content and products for families, additionally told the Times that he too has one strict rule for his children when it comes to cellphones: They get one when they start high school and only when they've proven they have restraint. "No two kids are the same, and there's no magic number," he said. "A kid's age is not as important as his or her own responsibility or maturity level."

PBS Parents also provided a list of questions parents should answer before giving their child their first phone. Check out the entire list below:

  • How independent are your kids?
  • Do your children "need" to be in touch for safety reasons—or social ones?
  • How responsible are they?
  • Can they get behind the concept of limits for minutes talked and apps downloaded?
  • Can they be trusted not to text during class, disturb others with their conversations, and to use the text, photo, and video functions responsibly (and not to embarrass or harass others)?
  • Do they really need a smartphone that is also their music device, a portable movie and game player, and portal to the internet?
  • Do they need something that gives their location information to their friends—and maybe some strangers, too—as some of the new apps allow?
  • And do you want to add all the expenses of new data plans? (Try keeping your temper when they announce that their new smartphone got dropped in the toilet...)


This article originally appeared on 05.01.17

Democracy

This Map Reveals The True Value Of $100 In Each State

Your purchasing power can swing by 30% from state to state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

Map represents the value of 100 dollars.


As the cost of living in large cities continues to rise, more and more people are realizing that the value of a dollar in the United States is a very relative concept. For decades, cost of living indices have sought to address and benchmark the inconsistencies in what money will buy, but they are often so specific as to prevent a holistic picture or the ability to "browse" the data based on geographic location.

The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what $100 is "worth" in each state. Granted, going state-by-state still introduces a fair amount of "smoothing" into the process — $100 will go farther in Los Angeles than in Fresno, for instance — but it does provide insight into where the value lies.


The map may not subvert one's intuitive assumptions, but it nonetheless quantities and presents the cost of living by geography in a brilliantly simple way. For instance, if you're looking for a beach lifestyle but don't want to pay California prices, try Florida, which is about as close to "average" — in terms of purchasing power, anyway — as any state in the Union. If you happen to find yourself in a "Brewster's Millions"-type situation, head to Hawaii, D.C., or New York. You'll burn through your money in no time.

income, money, economics, national average

The Relative Value of $100 in a state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

If you're quite fond of your cash and would prefer to keep it, get to Mississippi, which boasts a 16.1% premium on your cash from the national average.

The Tax Foundation notes that if you're using this map for a practical purpose, bear in mind that incomes also tend to rise in similar fashion, so one could safely assume that wages in these states are roughly inverse to the purchasing power $100 represents.


This article originally appeared on 08.17.17

What dog is best for you?


PawsLikeMe might know you better than you know yourself.

Hello from the other siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide!!! I'm a dog and I love youuuuuuuu!!!

Because PawsLikeMe knows about your dreams.

Your DOG dreams, that is.

How? A dog-human personality quiz!

A sophisticated one, too! From their website:

"The personality assessment is based on 4 core personality traits that influence the human-canine bond; energy, focus, confidence, and independence."

It also takes into account environmental factors and other special circumstances as well.

It's not uncommon for dogs that are adopted to be returned because they just aren't compatible with their owner's life.



PawsLikeMe aims to stop dog-owner mismatch by playing dog matchmaker! Its goal is to help people find the right dog for them.

Need a dog that's friendly with kids but loves learning tricks and is also house-trained? DONE. Have other specific requirements? DONE!

Ya got options.

When you go on the website, you can opt to just answer the four most important questions in a dog owner's life:

1. What's your energy level?

2. What kind of parties do you like?

3. What kind of dog personality do you want?

4. What is your personality like?

After those four questions, you can begin searching for a doggie match.

Or you can opt for the full questionnaire (you should) ... and basically feel very, VERY understood.

I took the full PawsLikeMe quiz, and when I saw the results I was kindof taken aback:


PawsLikeMe GETS ME!

Then I was the whisked away to dogs who are just ready to love me.

Listen. My apartment in NYC doesn't allow dogs. But if it did? I'd be 91% ready to adopt Carli. She's perfect, and I love her. CUE ADELE and her songs of lost opportunities to love!

With all the 80 gajillion personality quizzes out there in the world, this one is hands down THE BEST.

Take it for yourself! You won't regret it.


This article originally appeared on 11.06.15


New baby and a happy dad.


When San Francisco photographer Lisa Robinson was about to have her second child, she was both excited and nervous.

Sure, those are the feelings most moms-to-be experience before giving birth, but Lisa's nerves were tied to something different.

She and her husband already had a 9-year-old son but desperately wanted another baby. They spent years trying to get pregnant again, but after countless failed attempts and two miscarriages, they decided to stop trying.


Of course, that's when Lisa ended up becoming pregnant with her daughter, Anora. Since it was such a miraculous pregnancy, Lisa wanted to do something special to commemorate her daughter's birth.

So she turned to her craft — photography — as a way to both commemorate the special day, and keep herself calm and focused throughout the birthing process.

Normally, Lisa takes portraits and does wedding photography, so she knew the logistics of being her own birth photographer would be a somewhat precarious new adventure — to say the least.

pregnancy, hospital, giving birth, POV

She initially suggested the idea to her husband Alec as a joke.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

"After some thought," she says, "I figured I would try it out and that it could capture some amazing memories for us and our daughter."

In the end, she says, Alec was supportive and thought it would be great if she could pull it off. Her doctors and nurses were all for Lisa taking pictures, too, especially because it really seemed to help her manage the pain and stress.

In the hospital, she realized it was a lot harder to hold her camera steady than she initially thought it would be.

tocodynamometer, labor, selfies

She had labor shakes but would periodically take pictures between contractions.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

"Eventually when it was time to push and I was able to take the photos as I was pushing, I focused on my daughter and my husband and not so much the camera," she says.

"I didn't know if I was in focus or capturing everything but it was amazing to do.”

The shots she ended up getting speak for themselves:

nurse, strangers, medical care,

Warm and encouraging smiles from the nurse.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

experiment, images, capture, document, record

Newborn Anora's first experience with breastfeeding.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

"Everybody was supportive and kind of surprised that I was able to capture things throughout. I even remember laughing along with them at one point as I was pushing," Lisa recalled.

In the end, Lisa was so glad she went through with her experiment. She got incredible pictures — and it actually did make her labor easier.

Would she recommend every mom-to-be document their birth in this way? Absolutely not. What works for one person may not work at all for another.

However, if you do have a hobby that relaxes you, figuring out how to incorporate it into one of the most stressful moments in your life is a pretty good way to keep yourself calm and focused.

Expecting and love the idea of documenting your own birthing process?

Take some advice from Lisa: "Don't put pressure on yourself to get 'the shot'" she says, "and enjoy the moment as much as you can.”

Lisa's mom took this last one.

grandma, hobby, birthing process

Mom and daughter earned the rest.

Photo via Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

This article originally appeared on 06.30.16