6-17-2009 Our Picks of the Week

Bonding with Your Teen or Tween:

I wrote this article for the fabulous website Connect with Your Teens:

6 Ways to Bond With Your Teen or Tween

Even though I am not a parent, I know how hard it can be to get kids—especially angsty teens to connect and open up to parents. Writing a parenting blog from a teen’s perspective has forced me to look back at my own teen years (only 3 years ago) and feel really, really bad for my parents.

My moods, like most teens, ranged from benevolent to furious to exhausted. We can be horrible. Parents today have to be a mix of a hotel concierge, taxi service, maid, technology spy and health food marketer. I wish we were all less hormonal, but that probably will not happen anytime soon so here are a few ideas for bonding with your teen.

1. Always Have Conversation Starters Ready

Instead of asking the standard questions about school and weekend plans in car rides home or at the dinner table always have some thought provoking questions at the ready. These will help you bond and get to know your child, as well as helping them learn to articulate their feelings. Try:

What is your proudest accomplishment?


What is the greatest song ever written?


There is a whole list of teen and tween conversation starters here. (http://www.vanessavanpetten.com/2008/06/02/table-topics/)

2. Take A Usual Activity and Turn It Upside Down

This works really well with teens or tweens who are really resistant to trying anything new. If they are couch potatoes make a TV scavenger game where in an hour of TV whoever can catch the most cliché phrases, brunettes or “likes” in a Disney Show gets to go to Ice Cream. If they are really into Baseball or Tennis have them put together a free clinic for younger kids on your street. If they love to talk on the phone and gossip with friends about shopping have them start a new fashion podcast with you. This will show them you want to do something they like, but you want them to do something with it and with you!

3. Have them Plan Something

Giving your teens complete control to plan something can actually be a great bonding activity because you are empowering them to make choices for you, which can reverse the roles and have them act more adult. Have them plan a day trip where they can decide where and when you go, where you eat and how to decipher maps. While this is going on they will be in a more take-charge mode and you can make awesome conversation.

4. Do A New Activity

Check out the rest here.

Teen Book Awards

Recognizing the greatest in youth leadership and teen development products with the most prestigious award in Teen and Young Adult Titles. The Teen Development Awards are dedicated to identifying the best young adult title published each year for the North American market. The Teen Development  Awards are one of the fastest growing U.S.-based award contests focused on young adult’s books. Winner, Finalists, and Honorable Mentions appear for an entire year on the Teen Development Awards Website. Winners will also be featured on Motivational Minds Radio and highlighted prominently in our monthly newsletter, which goes out to more than 5,000 subscribers worldwide.

To nominate your title visit http://vanpetten.TeenDevelopmentAwards.com

Virtual Internship Openings for Internet Writers

HollywoodToysandCostumes.com is looking for virtual interns! Great for college students who have an interest in writing and online marketing! We are currently offering internships for Internet Writers. Social networking experience is a plus. Check it out here.

Our Picks and Articles of Interest:

Teen online safety mostly about behavior Fabulous articles on teens and online safety by Larry Magid who always writes great articles on kids, family and tech.

Mom’s Choice Awards I was the recipient of the 2009 Founders Choice Award from the Mom’s Choice Award and here is my interview on the site!

Meet Ed Black: Ed Black is a three sport athlete with dyslexia and dysgraphia. If you don’t know what those are… well, they don’t help. But the Denver Academy does- that’s where he got the chance to prove to everyone that he has what it takes to make the grade.

Mobile Apps Shootout on Robin Raskin’s Blog “Raising Digital Kids” which we love.

The Learning Games Network’s “Aha-Moment Video Contest” US Students age 13 and up are asked to submit a 2-3 minute video, either on an “aha-moment” where playing a video or computer game turned into a learning moment for them, or on a “Dream Assignment,” in which they can suggest a computer or video game that would be a great way of making a sticky subject from school easier and more fun to learn.  The contest is sponsored by The Learning Games Network, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and AMD, who are providing three 16-inch HP Pavilion dv6 series notebook  computers, powered by an AMD Turion™ X2 Ultra Dual-Core Mobile Processor ZM-84.


On Saturday July 11, 2009 leading women entrepreneurs and business experts will come together in Long Beach to advise and support girls ages 15 to 18 on creating successful businesses while in high school and college.  Girl’s CEO Connection’s Realizing A Vision Conference will be held at California State University Long Beach in the University Student Union’s Beach Ballroom. Girl’s CEO Connection is dedicated to the development of entrepreneurial and leadership skills in high school girls and young women. It was founded with the mission of empowering young female entrepreneurs to create, develop and market their businesses, while positioning them for national recognition and profitability. Check it out here!

Cool Mom Picks: A very cool blog by Dana that talks about some of the best finds for moms in products, games, anything!

Bea Fields Podcast on Gen Y in the Workplace: I talk a ton on this blog about how our generation is changing the world…both good and bad. Love the way Bea dives into the issues teens, parents, gen y and employers need to know!

Books of the Week

Wounded by School: Recapturing the Joy in Learning and Standing Up to Old School Culture by Kirsten Olson I am very interested in school dynamics and how schools have changed.  Kirsten gives a great honest overview into this topic for parents, teachers and any adult interested in how our kids are being educated.

Royal Escape by Susan Froetschel

Really fun mystery novel that is a great summer read!

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