Sexist or Polite?

Offering your seat is so last century!

Tube seat The other day something pretty normal happened on the tube which had me asking a question I am not sure I know the answer to.

Let me explain:

I was sat on the tube minding my own business, it was busy as always. This young pretty girl gets on. A man (middle aged wearing a football t-shirt – not that that really matters). Gets up and offers her his seat. She says she is fine and doesn’t need to sit down. He continues to offer her the seat  saying” Come on take the offer there are not many gentlemen left these day,” while looking around at the other passengers. Everyone is avoiding his eye, the girls reluctantly sits down and you can tell she is uncomfortable with the situation. I smile at her as to reassure her all is well and the journey continues.

I couldn’t help wondering though if offering your seat is so last century and well a little bit chauvinistic. She wasn’t pregnant and wasn’t carrying a baby. She was young and pretty (he hadn’t offered the seat to anyone else before she got on, including me). She was as capable as standing as he was.  So why offer her the seat?  Is there not an undertone in this that insinuates that she is the weaker sex?

I think for this generation of youth this type of behaviour must be baffling,  odd in fact , for them male and females are equal.

Is offering your seat up to a female who clearly doesn’t need or want it polite or sexist? I am edging on the side of sexist but I am really not sure – what about you? How do you feel?

Teen Brain Development

They are just too big – all you need to know about teen brain development.

Teen Brain Development In all my 20 year of working with young people and their families, I have become convinced of one thing, that the real problem with them is their size! It isn’t their recalcitrant attitudes, their total contempt for rules or their flagrant disregard for human decency, it is the fact that they look like adults; they grow so big too early. You may ask what this all means, so just stay with me and I will explain. Teenagers may look like adults but their brains are nowhere near thinking like an adult in any way, shape or form. Teen brain development is really to blame for everything. So we have someone who looks like an adult and thinks like a child. They look like an adult so we treat them like one, we expect so much from them, take everything they say to heart, convinced they are the devil reincarnate. But what if it wasn’t their fault, what if the brain was really to blame?

So let me explain here. I am not making excuses for bad behaviour, nor am I giving any teenager a “get out of jail free card”, but what I am saying is those of us that work with them, parent them and have to share any space with them need to understand a thing or two about what is going on it that grey matter of theirs. You ned to understand teen brain development.

Research into the teenage brain is pretty recent and up until about 20 years ago it was believed that the brain was fully formed in childhood. However, recent scientific investigation has found that the teen brain remodels itself in a fundamental way.  I am no neuro-scientist, so bare with me as I try and explain this is a way we can all understand.

The Facts-Teen Brain Development

At the age of about 11(girls) and 12 (boys) for some reason the brain floods itself with neurons, forcing it to go into a remodelling process. This remodelling process has its biggest impact on the frontal lobe (the internal policeman), the part of the brain that is responsible for logical thinking, decision-making and dealing with complex issues. Now just as if we were remodelling our front room, we wouldn’t live there while the work was going on, we would move to a different part of the house. The brain does the same; the front lobe processes move out and lives for a while in the amygdale. Now this room it has chosen to camp in is the part of the brain that deals with our fear, response and our gut reaction. So now we have our logical, rational, complicated decision-making process living temporary in our fear based part of the brain, basing everything on gut reaction! What? You think it could have chosen a better spot!  So we have logical decisions being made in an emotional part of the brain, leading to overreaction, not thinking through consequences and misreading signals. To illustrate this, in tests on facial expression, teens regularly misread when compared to adults.

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Choosing a University – things to help!

choosing a universityWhat to look out for when choosing a university.

Today finally the send button on the UCAS button will be pushed. For those of you that have been around me for a while you will know that this journey has been a long one for me and my daughter. Choosing a university was not easy for us.

We started looking at Universities about a year ago and must have looked through close to 40 brochures and visited at least 20. It has been an exhausting process but I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. I wrote a lot about my journey herehere and here and why I started looking do early.

I have learnt so much through this process, about myself, universities and my daughter.

Here are my top lessons from this whole wonderful experience.

My top tips for choosing a university.

  1. Just because I am a party animal doesn’t mean my daughter is too!  In fact she isn’t at all, she is the exact opposite of me and the university that would have suited me would no way have suited her. In fact the one she has chosen has 75% girls and 40% mature students which gives you a taste of the type of university it is. Choosing a university is based on who my daughter is, not who I am.
  2. Big is not always better. The university she has chosen is one of the smaller ones and for her it works fine. While we were both dazzled by the display and resources of the big universities, the stuff they offer can never overtake human interaction and staff who care. Choosing a university is personal. 
  3. The main thing is enthusiastic teachers. Most of the university we visited were nearly right, but always had one thing missing or slightly off. One we both loved was unfortunately ruled out after she didn’t do as well as expected in her A2 exams and we struggled to find the same buzz or feeling from other establishments. Then we found it; the university she has chosen had that missing something we couldn’t put our finger on until we saw it. It was enthusiastic passionate teachers. This is what we had loved so much at the university she has chosen (before her results) and we struggled to find it again.  And we knew it when we found it a teacher who was so passionate I wanted to go to the university.  In other words go to the subject talks and meet the people who will be teaching you. It matters. Choosing a university depends on great teachers. 
  4. Accommodation is much more important than both of us thought. While good accommodation could swing a maybe vote, bad accommodation seemed to move a university down the list. In my day you got what you were given so I hadn’t really allowed for its importance to this young generation. The one she has chosen also happens to have some of the best accommodation we have seen. Choosing a university – accommodation matters.
  5. When in doubt Disney always swings the vote. The university she has chosen do internships with the company who mange the publishing for Disney’s Books in this country, and it was the deciding vote.  What it means for you is that if that university has similar passions to your child you child will choose it.Choosing a university is about passion. 

The criteria we ending up making the decision on we didn’t think mattered so much in the beginning and the teachers been the swung vote was an out the blue revelation for me. Choosing a university can be tough, exciting and challenging.

So thank you for sharing the journey with me and fingers crossed.

I love “Love, Rosie”

sam-claflin-lily-collins-first-love-rosie-posterYesterday I went to the cinema ( I know bite me I go far too often) . I went to see Love, Rosie, I didn’t really know what it was about so I had no expectations at all and I have to say I loved it. In essence it is about missed opportunities, best friends who love each other but get caught up in life. It really was a true gem.

I left the film pondering ex-relationships, things left unfinished from my past and perhaps even some missed opportunities. Life and love to me is intriguing one chance meting, one missed meeting, a miss-communication and life changes and take a different course- fascinating.  I often feel so sorry for the young people now, because. lets face it getting away from an ex-partner is far more difficult then it was in my day. In my day you just left the area and  bingo you never saw them again. No mobile, no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,  no one knew anything about you so no gossip to spread or share. I did manage in my youth to leave a trail of devastation behind me and never really had to pay for it. I often wonder what might be different if my life was been played out in modern day times.

Anyway what is my point!  Yes I do have one.

This all got my thinking as to what would be the one piece of advice I would have given my younger self. That bit of advice would be to complete things, to end things on terms that were clear with friends and partners. My life feels like one long list on unclear unknowns and unfinished. Something I probably could have never got away with nowadays but never the less it is important advice.

 What advice would you have give your young self? 

Effects of Video Games

Teens & Video Games: Finding a Happy Medium

effects of video gamesVideo games are a prevalent part of our culture.  How do you counteract the effects of video games? The Video Game industry is ringing up around $12 billion in annual sales. In addition, studies have found that teens spend up to 7.5 hours a day glued to some type of screen — be it a video game, tablet, smartphone or television.

In order to help ensure that your teen’s adoration of video games does not take over his or her life, it’s important that parents set some ground rules. While you don’t want to necessarily eliminate them from your child’s life all together, you do want to be sure that there is a level of responsibility and accountability tied to gaming. Excessive use can have effects and to keep the effects of video games to a minimum you need to manage how much and how often your teen is playing games and find a happy medium. Consider these tips:

Talk about Impact – the effects of video games. 

Video games are impacting our culture big time!  Most of the effects of video games are still unknown. Empowering Parents suggests speaking with your teen when he or she is not holding a controller, and let your teen know, in a calm and non-confrontational way, that you are a bit concerned about the amount of time he or she is playing games. If there are specific issues you are worried about, bring them up in a neutral way. For example: ”Your grades have dropped in English and Math from B’s to low C’s since you started playing ‘Call of Duty.’ I think the two are connected.” Try telling your teen that you understand that video games are a lot of fun, but that you are setting some new rules in regard to their use.

Devise a Plan

While you might want to drastically cut back on how much time your teen spends playing video games, and counteract the effects of video games, it can be more helpful and effective to take a less heavy-handed approach. Instead, let your teen know one new rule regarding the games, and what the positive and negative consequences will be for following it. Start off by telling your teenage gamer something like this: “Starting tomorrow video games will need to be shut off for the night by 8:30. If you are cool about this when I remind you, we’ll stick with this plan. But if your grades keep dropping or you get mouthy with me when it’s time to turn off the games, you’ll lose video game privileges entirely for the next day.”

Be Aware

It’s important to know what types of games your teen is playing. Depending on your comfort level and how mature your child is, you might let him or her play Rated M games like “Halo” and “Grand Theft Auto,” or you might prefer less violent games like “Guitar Hero” or “Madden NFL.” Regardless of what types of games your allow your teen to play, I Keep Safe suggests keeping the video game system in a family room or living room, rather than in your teen’s bedroom.

Play

Playing video games with your teenager can be a great and fun way to spend time together. Depending on which games you are playing, there can be plenty of opportunities for talking, interacting and even problem solving together. As a way to compromise with your teen about video game time, say that a certain amount will be spent with part or all of the family. For example, if you recently purchased your teen one of the new Xbox One game systems, you can look into buying some Kinect games that get everyone up and moving together, or you can find titles that you can enjoy together. These include active fitness games and hands-on games like “Guitar Hero” or “Just Dance.”