Are You Worried About Your Teen’s Eating Habits?

Pinterest is pretty awesome. I love looking at the beautiful pictures of gardens and homes, crafts and cupcakes. I’ve even gotten a few useful tips and recipes for feeding my kids – particularly when they were younger.  But now that they’re getting older and they aren’t so into the cutesy butterflies made out of watermelon; and they aren’t impressed when I make smiley faces out of bananas and oranges on their morning pancakes – it’s not nearly as useful to me.

In fact, my tween and teen aren’t impressed by much that I do. And sadly, Pinterest – and society in general – has kind of left me out in the cold when it comes to helping my older kids make healthy choices when it comes to food. So, I recently offered some tips for helping older kids navigate the world of food choices over at Produce for Kids.

Check it out:

How To Have A Conversation With Your Family That’s Actually Interesting

OK, here’s what conversations often sound like in my house:

“Did you write a check for the mortgage”

“No! I forgot, can you do it!?”

and

“Did you practice piano yet?”

“Kind of.”

and

“Do we really have to go to your cousin’s sister’s daughter’s birthday party this weekend?”

“Yes, because she came to our party last year.”

and my favorite:

“How was your day, honey?”

“Fine.”

None of these “conversations” are particularly interesting or stimulating – and they certainly don’t do anything to help the participants feel closer to each other.  Instead, they simply allow us to continue the business of running our household and nothing else.  We are all guilty of this – surface, business-like conversations with those in our family (whether that family has two members or ten) – instead of meaningful, engaging exchanges.

When we first got to know our partners, we talked for hours about all kinds of interesting things.  I would bet none of our first date conversations included topics like bills, carpools and trash day.  And when our kids are young, they ask about a million questions everyday on all kinds of unique topics.  But, by the time our relationships have seasoned and our kids are into things like friends and electronics, conversation can easily fall to the wayside.

I recently wrote an article over on Produce for Kids about how to jump start dinner conversation.  The article was mostly focused on families with children at home, but I think the ideas can be used in any kind of family.  Check it out:

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Raising Passionate, Engaged Teens

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It can be easy to feel as if the world is going to Hell – and quickly.  There’s so much bad news out there, and so many stories about disinterested, MineCraft-and-SnapChat-infused youth, it can be easy to lose faith in the younger generations and ourselves (the old people).

So you can understand my interest and excitement at the story developing this week in Colorado.  Basically the School Board made a decision to change the Advanced Placement History courses.  Here’s a brief description of the problem by the Denver Post:

Community members are angry about an evaluation-based system for awarding raises to educators and a proposed curriculum committee that would call for promoting “positive aspects” of the United States and its heritage and avoiding material that would encourage or condone “civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

For those of us hoping to raise passionate, engaged youth – this can be a great teaching tool in our own families.  Here are some tips:

  • Read the article about the current strife in Jefferson County together, and ask your kids about their thoughts
  • Ask them if there is anything going on at their school that they would change if they could
  • Share some of the things you might change about your school or work
  • Discuss their ideas about how they might go about changing the world around them – using the Jefferson County teens as an example.  Do you agree with their tactics? Why or why not? Is there something else they could try to get their point across?