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Unit 1: Perspectives on Adolescent Psychology

Beyond the Average Adolescent, Ella Rhodes, Psychologist, 2015 
Let’s put adolescence into perspective: Thinking about the adolescent and his or her behaviors, which can we attribute to cultural nuances, which should we ascribe to individual differences, and which should we look to the developing brain to explain?  Read about the potential causes of certain adolescent behaviors including risk taking and peer pressure. Adolescent mental health and psychological disorders are discussed such as Autism and Schizophrenia. 
 
How America Outlawed Adolescence, Amanda Ripley, Atlantic, 2016
Read about legal precedents that have been set as laws have been imposed in an attempt to reign in unruly juveniles in the United States. Read about over 10,000 arrests made against adolescents for crimes ranging from “burping in gym” to “screaming obscenities in school. Learn how schools started using the police as “school officers” to maintain decorum at a cost of $14 million.  

Making the Bad Times Good, Frances Morrison, Education Today, 2015
Now read about adolescence from a teen’s perspective! Read about this adolescent’s personal experiences and suggestions to cope with bullying, parental divorce, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts.
  
“You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” Peg Grafwallner, Exceptional Parent, 2016
Life doesn’t always follow the “normal” course of development. How do children with disabilities experience adolescence?  Read about the life of Ani, an adopted disabled teenager from Bulgaria. Learn about her social isolation, her communication difficulties, and her struggle through adolescence. 
 
Childhood Lost, Susan Scutti, Newsweek Global, 2015
What happens to young girls when the onset of puberty begins as early as kindergarten? Read about the social, emotional, and psychological impact of precocious puberty. When children show signs of early puberty, this can lead to depression, eating disorders, unwanted sexual attention, and an increased risk of cancer. Learn about the potential causes of early onset puberty including environmental toxins in our daily lives, obesity, or medical conditions. 
 
Unit 2: Developmental Changes in Adolescence: Cognitive, Physical, Social, and Emotional

Grab the Teenage Window of Opportunity, Karen Goeller, Camping Magazine, 2016
Did you know that the frontal lobe is not fully developed until you are around 25 years old? This article describes a summer camp that is designed specifically for adolescents. It nurtures their developing needs such as their social, physical, emotional, and cognitive issues as they transition from childhood into adolescence. Learn why summer camp is the ideal time to talk with teens about the changes they may be experiencing or may be about to experience, in their developing brains. As children learn through play, so adolescents can learn through role-playing and brain facts. Read about how camp is the ideal relaxed and risk free environment for teens to explore their self-consciousness, risk-taking, anger, fear, anxiety, and other adolescent issues.

The Sleepy Teenager: Waking Up to the Unique Sleep Needs of Adolescents, Louella B. Amos and Lynn A. D’Andrea, Contemporary Pediatrics, 2012
How are our circadian rhythms altered during adolescence?  How do TV, computers and coffee consumption interfere with our sleep patterns?  Learn about the adolescent “sleep debt” and its effect on behavior and cognition during the middle and high school years.  

Go to Bed, Ruthann Richter, Stanford Medicine, 2015
Decide for yourself if Carolyn Walworth or Chloe Mauvais or James Underwood is typical, sleep-deprived adolescents as you read about their experiences. Learn about the “sleep and dreams shuttle” at Stanford University and Carskadon’s research findings including the “sleep phase delay.” Read about the potential effects of a lack of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and about the impact of sleep loss on suicidal thoughts and behaviors. 

New Foundations of Adolescent Learning, Laurence Steinberg, Independent Schools, 2015
Steinberg describes three phases of brain development during adolescence that combine our self-regulatory skills with our emotional control. This, he reports, transforms us from children. Looking more closely at our emotional development, Steinberg addresses issues such as why adolescents care so much about their peers’ opinions, why they engage in such risky behavior, and why they are such sensation seekers. Read more about the emotional “highs” and “lows” of adolescence.

Unit 3: The Self

The Obesity Challenge, Kinga Adamaszwili, IDM International Dairy Magazine, 2016
There are more than 641 million people globally who are classified as obese. To what extent do food manufacturers bear any responsibility for our eating habits and subsequent weight gain? To what extent are we personally responsible for what we consume? Read about how weight impacts this and future generations of adolescents.

Anorexia Nervosa and the Adolescent Self, Wendy Jones, Healthcare Counseling and Psychotherapy Journal, 2016
Oftentimes, we do not know that we have a distorted “sense of self.” Read about one example of this is where adolescents suffer from psychiatric illness that causes them to see their body in a distorted light. This can lead to extreme dieting, purging, and laxative use. Read about potential ways to help those with this distorted sense of self, for example, those with a pathological fear of gaining weight.

Separation and Stuckness, Jim Pye, Therapy Today, 2015
An important milestone in the development of an adolescent is “letting go.” Read about the trials and tribulations of separation in the quest for self-identity through the fictitious lives of Steven and Eveline and their separation issues.

The Young and the Riskless, Kayt Sukel, Discover, 2016
Read about Johnathon, a “good kid,” and his brush with adolescent risk taking and poor decision-making. He, like most adolescents, admits that he knows better than to engage in unprotected sex, drug use, skipping school, and getting into fights, so why does he?

Unit 4: Parenting and Educational Issues 

How Helicopter Parents Cause Binge Drinking, Caitlin Flanagan, Atlantic, 2016
Would you describe your parents as “Get Real” parents or “Good” parents? Learn about these distinctions as defined by Caitlin Flanagan and learn about the long term consequences of trying to “over parent.” Learn how “hovering” parents can lead to binge drinking.

Why Cool Parenting Doesn’t Help, Marybeth Hicks, Catholic Digest, 2016
What is a “cool parent”? What type of parent(s) do you have? Do you wish yours were cooler? Read on to discover why the research suggests that “cool” is not ideal for parents. Think of your parents as your role models, your disciplinarians and your guides rather than your buddies. Read about the benefits of solid parenting practices.

Parenting Versus Teens’ Digital Privacy, Marybeth Hicks, Catholic Digest, 2016
In this digital age, how do we allow our adolescents to use the Internet, monitor their usage, and yet respect their privacy? How do we keep our teens safe in virtual space?

First Do No Harm, Susan C. Roberts, Independent School, 2015
Read about the impact of stress on the developing brain. Think about grades and test scores and the anxiety that they cause. Think about how that success or failure translates into approval and love in an adolescent’s mind. Follow Robert’s plan to destress including acknowledging the stress, modifying expectations and removing judgment. 
 
Unit 5: Sexuality

Teenagers in Love, Susan Moore, Psychologist, 2016
Read about the sexual desires of adolescents whose brains are maturing unevenlyemotional maturity, and impulse control sometimes lags behind physical development and puberty. What happens in the “dating world” when an adolescent’s slow developing executive functioning allows for poor decision-making and risk-taking behavior? What happens when this is compounded by an environment that is rife with online dating apps, sexting, and a plethora of other social media? How has the dating world changed for adolescents today?

It’s Complicated, Stephen Gray Wallace, Camping Magazine, 2015
American teenagers are 15 times more likely to become pregnant than their Swiss counterparts. Since they are all adolescents, this begs the question; what is going on in American culture that is so different from Swiss or other cultures where teens are less likely to become pregnant?

A Second Puberty, Jessica Firger, Newsweek Global, 2016
Read about Jordan, one of the 700,000 transgender adolescents in our community. Read about the issues and concerns surrounding transgender students. When, for example, should adolescents like Jordan use hormones or surgery to reassign their gender?

Study: Heavy Viewers of “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant” Have Unrealistic Views of Teen Pregnancy, Indiana University Communications Department, Indiana University Bloomington Newsroom, 2014
What do our teens “see” when they watch reality TV? Studies used to suggest that it put teens off motherhood and reduced the number of teen pregnancies but new research suggests otherwise. Does reality TV actually give adolescents a more realistic or a less realistic view of life? Read about the impact of shows based on pregnancy and teenage mothers on 14 to 18 year-old viewers. Read about how perceptions of teen pregnancy shows have changed.

Unit 6: The Context of Adolescence in Society

Training Teens to Drive, Garry Embree and Kimberly Embree, Old Schoolhouse, 2016
How do teenagers learn to drive? Two parents give tips on helping your adolescent through the process. They suggest that good driving lessons can begin much earlier in childhood, touting the benefits of Bandura’s “Social Learning Theory” where parents serve as role models. They suggest that teens learn from their parents when they demonstrate good driving habits such as waiting patiently at stop signs or keeping the cell phone turned off while driving. Embree and Embree remind us that we can develop our pre drivers observational skills such as navigation from home to popular destinations.

Is It Fair to Pay Teens Less Than Adults, Bob Battles and Marilyn Watkins, New York Times Upfront, 2016
Is there a lack of jobs for teens? If they do have a job, are they paid a fair wage? Do teens earn the same as adults who engage in the same job? Would lowering teen pay address some of the issues associated with teen unemployment? Read about the staggering drop in teen employment since 2000. Learn about some of the issues surrounding adolescent jobs, for example, teens can’t always find employment so lowering pay might create more opportunities in the work place. However, some teens have to find work to support their family or to pay their way through college, so lowering their pay might seriously impact their lives.  Teen spending contributes $250 billion per year to the U.S. economy-how would that be impacted by teen unemployment or lower wages?

The Benefits and Limitations of Social Networking, Paris Strom and Robert Strom, Education Digest, 2012
Twenty percent of our teens text more than 120 messages per day. Read about the demographic that is most likely to text excessively and the behaviors that are associated with this including smoking, binge drinking, substance abuse, physical fighting, and multiple sexual partners.

Peggy Sue Got Sexted, Nina Burleigh, Newsweek, 2016
How do you “Grow up female online”? Read about what teenage girls are concerned about. Nancy Jo Sales interviewed over 200 teenage girls. She listed to their concerns about many issues including social networking. One pervasive concern was the over sexualization of women including provocative photos, “slut shaming,” online porn, cyberbullying, and “slut pages.”

Unit 7: Behaviors and Challenges Associated with Adolescence

#NODARETOOSTUPID, Jessica Firger, Newsweek Global, 2016
What should we blame when adolescents act in crazy ways? Is it the Internet’s fault? Can we blame their hormones, specifically dopamine? What prompts a teen to participate in viral crazes such as setting themselves on fire? What drives them to attempt dangerous feats such as #EraserChallenge or #CinnamonChallenge? Dr. Jay Giedd attempts to explain why the developing adolescent brain is so susceptible to Internet dares and challenges.

Pharming: Pill Parties Can be Deadly for Teens, Susan Solecki and Renee Turchi, Contemporary Pediatrics, 2014
In a country that has seen prescription drug use quadruple between 1999 and 2010, it is no surprise that teens are finding easier access to pills. Around 14 percent of high schoolers have used these drugs for nonprescription uses such as “pill parties” or cramming for exams. Read more about the dangers of playing “pill roulette” and what can be done to address this growing epidemic.

What are They Looking For? Catherine Jackson, Therapy Today, 2015
Who is most likely to become radicalized – the rich or the poor, the old or the young?  Read about surprising climates and cultures that are potential breeding grounds for radicalization.  Learn more about the social, emotional and psychological motivators that might drive a person to such radical thoughts and behaviors.

How Prison Stints Replaced Study Hall, Jody Owens, Politico, 2015
Does a super predator lurk in our school hallways? Are our youth prone to such terrible transgressions in our schools that they belong in prison? Read about the criminalization of our children and the devastating effects that it can have on their future. Learn about school resource officers, the “taxi service” and the delinquency that has spurred these punitive policies in our schools.

Unit 8: Psychological Well-being

Getting Unstuck, David Flack, Counseling Today, 2016
Flack suggests five strategies to help adolescents with addiction and other disorders. He focuses on helping adolescents to overcome the rigidity in their thinking. This, in turn, allows teens to become “unstuck” and begin the process of moving forward. Read about the approach that Flack employs including, slowing down, identifying motivators, anticipating ambivalence, and creating “correctedness.”

Problematic Technology Use During Adolescence: Why Don’t Teenagers Seek Treatment? Mark D. Griffiths, Education and Health, 2015
Some teenagers struggle with addiction. One form of addiction in our society is “technological addiction.” This is the overuse of phones, video games, social networking, or other technologies. It is classified as an addiction when usage negatively impacts other domains of an adolescent’s life including relationships and education. Griffith suggests that a technological addiction may be a symptom of an underlying problem such as a dysfunctional relationship or depression. If so, treating the underlying problem may cure this symptom. Or is there really no such thing as a technological addiction? Is it possible that researchers may have overinflated concerns about this “non-issue”? Griffith explores the idea that even if it does exist, adolescents don’t seek help because it may be short lived or resolve itself.

Can’t Turn Off the Night, Roni Jacobson, Newsweek, 2014
Are nightmares indicative of a deeper underlying problem? Is it possible that nightmares and psychosis might be connected? Could it be that there is a third link, that stress in an adolescent’s life could trigger nightmares and psychotic experiences? Read about the effects of violence, sexual abuse, and bullying on nightmares and psychotic diagnoses.

Self-injury: Why Teens Do It and How to Help, Claire M. Brickell and Michael S. Jellinek, Contemporary Pediatrics, 2014
One in six adolescents has engaged in self-harm at least once. This self-injurious behavior is usually mild but in 5 percent of adolescents it is serious. Referred to as “non-suicidal self-injury” (NOSI), adolescents engage in self-injury to ease either intolerable emotions or a lack of emotional response. It is not viewed as an attention seeking behavior, but it can inadvertently shape parental behaviors as they feel manipulated by their child. The pediatrician is often the first to notice the tell-tale signs from self-harming.

Unit 9: Emerging Adulthood

Learning to be Together Alone, Nick Luxmoore, Therapy Today, 2014
Learning to cope with being alone is an essential part of “emerging adulthood.” As adolescents leave the security of their family home, they have to learn to feel comfortable with themselves. Read about this developing skill that adolescents sometimes experience trouble mastering. Read from the perspective of a counselor and a psychotherapist.

Bumped Off, Natasha Vianna, Kids These Days, 2016
Perhaps teen mothers are “irresponsible and undeserving of respect” or perhaps that is how society portrays them and treats them.  Read about the struggle to attain adult values and respect from the perspective of a teenage mother.