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Life Skills Guide for Teenagers Based on Their Own Experiences

Teenagers’ Life Skills Guide: The Teen Trip by Gayle Kimball, Ph.D.

A peer-based support group for teens, 1,500 young people report on their experiences and coping techniques, both boys and girls.

Topics include body, feelings, sexuality, drugs, peers, family, school success, work, and community involvement. The author added resources and pertinent information.

Teen Voices magazine editor Alison Amoroso and editorial board wrote,

Parents and people who care about young people wish we could make growing up easy and painless. No one has all the answers, but The Teen Trip has most of them. It’s a fun, interesting book that is guaranteed to make growing up easier. The book combines the wisdom of young people with Dr. Kimball’s research for a useful and important resource. This book will be read, reread, underlined, marked and loved by every young person who reads it.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett, past President of the National Parenting Association wrote,

The Teen Trip is a candid and thorough look at the potentially daunting issued faced by today’s teenagers, refreshingly presented thought the voices and stories of the teenagers themselves.”

Ashley, 16, said, “It’s time someone wrote a book that teens can actually use and get help from.”

Tyler, 16, wrote, “Readers will find out that it includes a lot of things that teenagers want to know about, like colleges or getting a job.”

 

How to Succeed in High School

School Success

Get to know your teachers’ interests and, if it fits, include their interests in your writing and conversation with them. Take time to stay after class and let a teacher know what you like about the class and about your goals. (As a teacher, I do pay more attention to students who talk to me about their goals for the course.) sit in the middle or the front (picture an upside-down “T”) and make eye contact with the teacher, as students who sit in this “T” zone tend to do better. Don’t sit where you can easily look out a distracting window or near a talkative friend. Take notes so that you concentrate on what the teacher is saying and don’t space out. Always carry your calendar with you to immediately record in one place when assignments are due and other events.
To memorize information, associate it with something you know. Take the first letter of each word to memorize (such as the names of human bones or state capitals) and make up a sentence with those letters. Or picture them on different parts of your body, from head down to feet. Your brain learns by stimulating various senses, using pictures, sound, and feelings. For example, let’s say you want to learn the presidents of the United States. Starting with Washington, think of a noisy washing machine on your head and a ton of laundry. This helps you remember that he is the first president, and utilizes your senses of sight and hearing. To remember Jefferson as the second president, you might think of Jeff and his son, looking into your two eyes. For our third president, Monroe, you might think of three perfumed Marilyn Monroes sitting on your nose.
Jed and joey asked me to give them a list of words to remember; I gave them random names, dates, animals, etc. They used this body-part memorization technique, and months later could still list the facts in the order I gave them, starting with the top of their head. We have different ways we learn and remember. Some of us learn best by seeing, some by hearing, and some by touching. Your school counselor might give you a learning style test so that you can know your strengths.
To take tests well, Joey and Jed learned to start with a deep breath from their lower stomach area. Quickly imagine the most calm and perfect place for you, such as a beach, a lake, a mountain top, or a sand dune. Look at the teacher for a moment to focus and then get started. Read the instructions carefully. Tilt the paper so your head is not bending over in a tired position. Go through the questions and do the easy ones first. When in doubt, go with your first response. Then go back to the question you’re not sure about. If you have time, check over the answers several times before handing in the test.
When answering an essay question, first make an outline to support your theme, try “clustering,” drawing a circle with the main topic inside. Then draw lines radiating from the circle, like a starfish, labeling them with ideas to support or prove your main idea. Do this quickly, without judgment: Just brainstorm. Do the outlining or clustering ideas directly on the test paper so your teacher can see that you know how to organize.
The first paragraph should tell the reader what you are going to write about, why, and the main points you will provide to prove your thesis. Then develop the points you’ve listed in the introduction in the body of the essay. In your conclusion, summarize the most important points and suggest what might develop in the future.
If assigned a research paper, first find a quidebook in your library, such as Phyllis Cash’s, How to Write and Develop a Research Paper, or The Term Paper by Charles Cooper and Edmund Robins. Make sure you are absolutely clear on the assignment. I sometimes have to mark down my students’ research papers because they didn’t pay attention to the directions, as when they focus on describing a problem rather than on solving it, as I ask them to do.
Take notes for research papers on index cards. It takes too much time to try to organize notes with many points on notebook paper. Use only one topic per index card. List on the card the last name of the author and page number you are reading, and the theme number. For example, if you write a paper on the achievement of the Civil Rights movement, school integration could be theme one, equal opportunity to use public facilities like drinking fountains could be theme two, and so on.
When finished with all your reading divide the cards into piles. Then organize the first topic’s theme cards into an order that makes sense to you, use them as your outline, and write. If you read your essay out loud to yourself or a family member, you’ll be able to hear where the paper needs more explanation or connection between ideas. A high school composition teacher told me to write essays for someone stupid, to explain the connection between ideas that may seem obvious to the writer.

At home, make your senses happy to sit down and study by having a neat space, a beautiful picture, a favorite photograph, unbuttered popcorn to eat, juice to drink, relaxing background music, and a chart to check off your accomplishments. It’s normal to think of excuses to avoid studying, such as you really need to clean your room or make a call, but stick to your schedule. Once you get started, you’ll get on a roll. Sometimes it’s best to start with your easiest assignment, because finishing it gives you the sense of accomplishment to go on to the next one. Usually it’s best to do your hardest homework first, though, when your concentration is strongest.
When you read for schoolwork, always take notes because, just like listening in class, it’s easy to space out if your body isn’t involved in the activity of writing. Give yourself rewards; when I concentrate well for 20 minutes, I take a break to do what I want. Well, usually it’s to do the dishes or pick up, but variety is the spice of life.
The worst enemy of school success is procrastination, saying to yourself, “I’ll do it later.” Putting off doing work robs you of energy and confidence, getting a job done adds to your energy and confidence. Break a big task into small daily parts. For example, if you have a report due, read about the topic for half hour each day after dinner. Set aside a regular time and place to do homework.
Negative self-talk is another enemy, so post positive messages around your work space, such as “I am capable of deep concentration to remember what I read.” Set realistic goals ad reward yourself for achieving them, as we respond to rewards and praise. You might ask your parents to add to your rewards when you achieve a goal.
I asked Billie Jackson, head of the Student Learning center at California State University Chico, the difference between an “A” and a “C” student. (She has first-hand experience with her daughter and son, who graduated from UCLA and the University of California at Berkely and went on to graduate schools.) “A” students start ahead of time; they don’t cram for tests the night before. They do  more than just the minimum requirements. They talk about what they’re learning, putting new vocabulary to use. Organization is the key. They write down assignments in one place and have a notebook with sections and pockets for each subject.
Ms. Jackson observes that effective students have a study schedule. This involves a quick preview of the text and class notes before class, concentrating in class, and asking questions to prevent daydreaming. Review as soon after class as possible in a Sunday through Thursday scheduled homework time, with intensive review the night before a test. The key is to review information three or four times a week.
She suggests that you try a reading strategy called SQ4Rs (for the letters which begin each technique) when you read a text.

How to Read Effectively

                  First quickly survey the headings, bold type, charts, and questions at the back of the chapter to create memory hooks. The main idea of each paragraph is usually in the first sentence. Ask yourself questions as you read each section. Answer these questions after reading each section, recite the answers out loud to use your various senses, and record your key answers in your notebook, then reflect by typing in the new information with what you already know. (You might want to take a speed reading workshop to learn how to increase your comprehension as well as speed.)

To improve your test-taking results, be over prepared and avoid cramming. Try to predict test questions as you study and write down answers on study cards. Breathe, relaxing your muscles as you exhale all your air, gently expanding your belly as you breathe in air. Do this at least three times. Ms. Jackson also suggests always reading the directions completely, nothing point values so you can plan your time. Don’t leave any answers blank, even if you have to guess. In true and false tests, inclusive words like “all” and “always” often flag a “false” statement. There are usually more true than false questions on a test. Longer questions are likely to be correct. Read multiple choice statements noting whether each is a “T” or an “F” so that you can respond to an “all of the above” choice (these are likely to be true).
Another important part of school, besides teachers and tests, is friends. A teenager who considers himself popular says his secrets of success are to risk getting to know strangers, listen well to people and ask them questions so they know  you are interested in them, have the courage to be yourself, pick friends who like you for who you are, and don’t discriminate against unpopular students. Liking yourself is important if you expect other people to like you. Being confident without being conceited is attractive, so practice your self-esteem techniques and keep adding to your journal list of qualities you like about yourself.
Observe well-liked and respected students to see what they do. But quality is more important than quantity of friends. Depending on their personality type, some people are happier with a few good friends while others like to meet and great many friends. One style is not better than the other.
Since school success is linked to your career success in the future and to how you feel about yourself now, experiment with the techniques in this chapter to see which ones enhance your school performance.

Dr. Mercola on how to avoid flu

    • From Dr. Mercola’s email newsletter:
    • Optimize Your Gut Flora. This may be the single most important strategy you can implement as the bacteria in your gut have enormous control of your immune response. The best way to improve your beneficial bacteria ratio is avoid apply avoid sugars as they will feed the pathogenic bacteria. Additionally, processed foods and most grains should be limited and replacing with healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, olives, olive oil, butter, eggs and nuts. Once you change your diet than regular use of fermented foods can radically optimize the function of your immune response.
    • Optimize your vitamin D levels. As I’ve previously reported, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency may actually be the true culprit behind the seasonality of the flu – not the flu virus itself. This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. Regularly monitor your vitamin D levels to confirm your levels are within the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml.

Ideally, you’ll want to get all your vitamin D from sun exposure or a safe tanning bed, but as a last resort you can take an oral vitamin D3 supplement. According to the latest review by Carole Baggerly (Grassrootshealth.org), adults need about 8,000 IU’s a day. Be sure to take vitamin K2 if you are taking high dose oral vitamin D as it has a powerful synergy and will help prevent any D toxicity.

  • Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods. Sugar impairs the quality of your immune response almost immediately, and as you likely know, a healthy immune system is one of the most important keys to fighting off viruses and other illness. It also can decimate your beneficial bacteria and feed the pathogenic yeast and viruses. Be aware that sugar (typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup) is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice. If you are healthy than sugar can be consumed but the LAST thing you should be eating when you are sick is sugar. Avoid it like poison while you are sick.
  • Get Plenty of Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.
  • Have Effective Tools to Address Stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.
  • Get Regular Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. Be sure to stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids, especially water. However, it would be wise to radically reduce the intensity of your workouts while you are sick. No Peak Fitness exercises until you are better.
  • Take a High-Quality Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.
  • Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap for this – antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple chemical-free soap that you can switch your family to.
  • Tried and True Hygiene Measures. In addition to washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If possible, avoid close contact with those, who are sick and, if you are sick, avoid close contact with those who are well.
  • Use Natural Antibiotics. Examples include oil of oregano and garlic. These work like broad-spectrum antibiotics against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.
  • Avoid Hospitals. I’d recommend you stay away from hospitals unless you’re having an emergency and need expert medical care, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds. The best place to get plenty of rest and recover from illness that is not life-threatening is usually in the comfort of your own home.

 

Millennial Generation Values and Goals for the Future, Euro RSCG Survey

The Euro RSCG Millennial Survey surveyed 2,500 Millennials aged 18 to 24 in China, France, India, the UK and the US in 2010. The respondents were surveyed online evenly split between men and women. The report suggests that because they grew up with the uncertainty of the threat of terrorist attacks, wars, and religious conflicts, they value flexibility over long-range planning: “long-range planning has grown obsolete.” Only 13% don’t consider themselves happy, despite the economic and other problems they face: Most believe that in 20 years the world will be more polluted (79%), more dangerous (74%), less peaceful (63%), and less equality between the rich and poor (52% overall with Chinese and Indians predicting the world will be richer and more equal). However, 82% believe their generation has the power to help build a better future with the exception of the French pessimists (although 68% share this faith in their generation). This “post-ideological” generation believes in the “soft power” of individuals working together as in an NGO or charity over government’s ability to change. They emphasize “creativity, collaboration, and community” over politics. Most of them consider it very important to have faith in themselves (93%). They have more faith in women’s ability to lead change than men’s.

They share basic values and pastimes with their parents who brought wanted children into the world, unlike youth in the 60s who rebelled against authority. They look to their parents for advice and guidance and their most trusted source of information, despite their access to the Internet. They trust their parents but not politicians or religious leaders. Only 16% said religion will be a more important part of their life than it was for their parents. More than two-thirds (67%) think the world will be less religious in 2030 than it is today.

“Millennial: The Challenge Generation,” Prosumer Report, Europe RSCG worldwide, Vol 11, 2011. The Euro RSCG Millennial Survey surveyed 2,500 Millennials aged 18 to 24 in China, France, India, the UK and the US in 2010.

http://www.prosumer-report.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/MGv16no%20crops.pdf

 

How to Create a Nonviolent Overthrow of a Dictator

Thinking about the ingredients of a revolution, the old theory of the dialectical process applies to current youth revolutions. Frederick Engels developed the idea of the dialectical process in the 19th century. In the youth revolutions beginning with the Arab Spring in 2011, the thesis was educated youth who want civil rights and a middle-class lifestyle. The antithesis or contradiction was old dictators in power for decades and high youth unemployment rates in “the waiting generation.” When opposing points of view are intense, it just takes a spark to set off change. Gene Sharp’s From Dictatorship to Democracy spelled out tactics to undermine the pillars of autocracy that were used in Serbian and Egyptian revolutions. The synthesis is a gradual movement towards more democracy, although youth unemployment remains problematic.

When the masses move from fatalism and resignation to hope that a better future is possible, then it only takes a spark of an idea to set off revolt as in Tunisia. “The survival of any existing power structure is dependent upon the elimination of possibility,” observed Allan Goldstein.[i]  He says, “The Magna Carta, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the fall of the Berlin wall, the Arab Spring” were fuelled by the belief in people power. Abolhassan Banisadr analyzed why revolutions took place in Iran in 1979 and the recent youth revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.[ii] He identified the common conditions as repressive corrupt governments offered no hope or goals for a better future, recent moves towards less traditional views of Islam as with the Muslim Brotherhood’s and Ennahdha’s discussion of democracy in Egypt and in Tunisia, a large politicized youth population, and prominent international pro-democracy sentiment as associated with Presidents Carter and Obama.

The ingredients of a revolution are spelled out by “social futurist” writer Sara Robinson:[iii] In order to create change, 15% of the people must support a revolution (about the number who supported the American Revolution and the current Tea Party movement, activist organizers are needed along with intellectuals (to create a compelling factual story), artists (professional storytellers, songwriters, filmmakers), insiders (political operatives), and disaffected elites who transfer their allegiance to the upstarts.

Peace Studies Professor George Lakey analyzed the stages of a successful “living revolution” based on his research of global movements: cultural preparation and “consciousness-raising” around a new vision to replace injustice, organization-building with various alternative institutions and networks, confrontation that creates drama and media attention to the good guys vs. the bad guys, mass political and economic non-cooperation as in boycotting and striking, and building parallel democratic institutions such as Argentina’s neighborhood assemblies.[iv]

Lakey gives as a model the Optur revolution in Serbia that ousted dictator Slobodan Milosevic in 2000 as a model of non-violent decentralized strategies. Egypt is another example when rebels agreed to target replacing the regime rather than some other issue, leading mass actions in January 2011. Rebels haven’t united around a plan to replace the regime or designed alternative organizations, so the better organized Muslim Brotherhood filled the vacuum. Nonviolent movements succeeded when they ousted dictators in the Philippines (Marcos), Communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe, segregation in the US south, opposition to the Vietnam War, apartheid in South Africa, the Shah in Iran, Pinochet in Chile, etc. As Gene Sharp instructed, the pillars of support for the regime must be undermined. Lakey refers readers to the Nonviolent Action Database at Swarthmore College,[v] David Sollnit’s Globalize Liberation (2003), and Bill Moyers’ Movement Action Plan in Doing Democracy (2002) for more examples of how to create a revolution.[vi] He added that his model assumes a declining society while Moyer assumes a basically viable society.

Bill Moyers states that the source of power for social movements is generated by outrage when people realize their values and self-interests have been violated and gain hope that change can happen. The main task is to inform the public about political abuses, not easy when those in power lie, cover up, deny, blame outside enemies such as terrorists, create mythologies like calling Nicaraguan contras “freedom fighters,” infiltrate with spies, appoint commissions or make minor changes, and otherwise distract from real problems. Moyers suggests that the use of symbols and reference to cultural values such as freedom should be used to prove the problem exists.

It takes many years to build discontent that occurs when people realize that conditions are getting worse, or they have rising expectations like Black college students who engaged in the civil rights movement, or they learn that specific people have been harmed in a shocking “trigger event” such as police brutality or the arrest of Rosa Parks for not moving to the back of the bus in 1955. Change occurs when the public is aware of the truth and feels empowered to make change. Grassroots organizations must be built to take advantage of the emerging anger about a conflict in values to stage a nonviolent action campaign in “politics as theater.” Moyers warns that after a year of two activists burn out, expecting change to happen quickly and the media reports the movement is dead. Support groups are necessary to sustain activists, to provide training and strategic planning, and to develop empowering leadership models. Loose organization works for the beginning of a new movement, but becomes too inefficient and people burn out from long meetings and an informal hierarchy develops anyway. A new paradigm and specific alternatives to the old system must be developed. Success occurs when policies or leadership change, such as the dictator gives up power or the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. There is no end, however, only ongoing struggle for people-power movements in an era of widespread poverty and environmental destruction.


[i] Allan Goldstein, “The Revolution Equation,” OpEdNews.com, July 10, 2012.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Revolution-Equation-by-Allan-Goldstein-120710-690.html

[ii] Abolhassan Banisadr, “What Makes a Revolution?” The Harvard International Review, April 6, 2011. http://hir.harvard.edu/what-makes-a-revolution

[iii] Sara Robinson, “6 People You Need to Start a Revolution,” AlterNet
April 12, 2012
http://www.alternet.org/story/154968/6_people_you_need_to_start_a_revolution

[vi]Swarthmore College Global Nonviolent Action Database,

Bill Moyer, “The Movement Action Plan,” Spring, 1987: http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/moyermap.html

 

Children and Their Parents’ Divorce

Children can progress well after their parents’ divorce if both parents spend loving time with them and the parents keep any conflict away from the kids. Over 250 young people share how they coped with their parents’ divorce and 20 counselors add their insights. Includes a chapter for adults on research about the topic. High school students illustrated each chapter of the book.

 

Chapters include How to Survive the Divorce, Making Sense of the Separation, Naming your Feelings, Getting Help, Family Fun to Get Through Tough Times, Going Back and Forth Between Two Homes, Staying Close to Both Parents, Parents’ Dating and Remarriage, School Success, Your Future, For Your Parents.

 

“In this very readable book, Dr. Gayle Kimball provides the facts about parental divorce to kids from kids. Content, language and style make this an important book for young people” Judith Bauersfeld, Ph.D., past president of the Stepfamily Association of America.

 

How to Survive Your Parents’ Divorce: Kids’ Advice to Kids. Gayle Kimball, Ph.D.

Equality Press. Order from earthhavenchico@hotmail.com

 

How Global Youth Are Transforming Our Future

Interesting in learning about how global youth are transforming our future? I have a draft of a book on this topic and after working on it for 7 years would like feedback and criticism. I’ll email chapters that spark your interest if you contact me at gkimball@csuchico.edu. Here’s the TOC:

Chapter 1 Global Youth Power and Issues

Youth Power; Get to Know Eva, Abel, Sahar and Yuan; International Youth Issues: Urban vs. Rural; The Gap Between Rich and Poor

Chapter 2: The Millennial Generation and their Elders

            Teenaging of Culture vs. War on Kids, Youth Generation Characteristics, What Youths Think About Adults

Chapter 3  Consumerism vs. Caring for Others

Media and Common Language, Teen Style, Multinational Corporate Consumerism

 

Part 2 Youth Activism
Chapter 4: Youth Activism for Equality

 Activist Youths vs. Apathy, History of Youth Movements, The 2011 Arab Spring, European Summer, US Fall and Russian Winter Youth Demonstrations 2012 Protests, The Occupy Movements, Change Making Tools: Electronic Networking

Chapter 5 How to Create a Revolution in 18 Days

The Groundwork, After Mubarak Stepped Down, My Interviews with Demonstrators in Tahrir Square, Women’s Role in the Revolution
Chapter 6  Gender Equality

Current Status of Gender Equality, Life For a Traditional Village Teen, Women in Government, Global Feminist Activism, Fourth Wave Feminism
Part 3 Youth Values and Beliefs
Chapter 7 Traditional vs. Modern Values

            Life Purpose, Values, Rural vs. Urban, Respect for Elders, Consumerism

 

Chapter 8  Beliefs about Religion and Spirituality

             Suffering, Religious Purpose, Beliefs About God, Participation in Organized Religion, Spirituality

 

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