Whenever I hear that term, a June Cleaver-type character pops into my head: a perfectly coiffed woman, clad in pearls and a freshly ironed, pleated dress, holding a tray of homemade iced tea and cookies that she whipped up in-between cooking for the homeless and sewing a new set of drapes (and of course her children are straight-A students, star athletes, outstanding musicians, National Merit Scholars with the best manners who would never think about getting into any trouble). Really?
I’d like to think of myself as more of a modern mom. A mom of two teenage girls. I can also add wife, communications consultant, and student to that list as well. I waited quite a while to go back to school and am now currently pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in Strategic Communications at Columbia University. That’s where this blog comes in. As part of this semester’s course – “Communicating in a Networked Society” (or Social Media) – students must create and maintain a blog.
Since I’ve spent the past 20 years in the PR/Communications field, I thought it was only a natural fit to create a blog aimed at writers and communications pros. I thought I’d bounce my original idea off an impartial audience, my two teens. After much animated eye rolling, scrunched up faces and utter looks of pure disgust, they both uttered, “BO-RING” in unison. Wow. They are in agreement.
So I asked them what I should blog about.
Then I was in for a shocker.
Blog about us: teenagers. The issues we face. What we worry about. What matters to us. Oh, and maybe what you worry about.
I did a little research and discovered that although there are a ton of Mommy Bloggers – who do an amazing job offering tips on grinding up your own organic baby food, when to introduce potty training and when to take the binky away – but there aren’t too many that focus on teenagers and their issues.
Although some issues facing teens have not changed from one generation to the next, others have intensified while others are new on the horizon.
So what are teenagers worried about? According to the latest Gallup poll (2006), the #1 issue among the teens surveyed was drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Other issues included:
- Peer pressure, fitting in, personal appearance, or popularity
- Sexual issues like teen pregnancy, abortion, or STDs
- Ignorance or lack of youth being involved
- Careers, employment, money, or the future
Since that survey, additional items have popped up on teen radar such as increased focus on body image, body mutilation such as cutting and increased bullying in school.
I don’t profess to be an expert in teens or in parenting. I do, however, promise that I will provide a witty insight into my life with two teens and our adventures along the way. I also have a few very cool “grown up” friends who are experts in their respective fields who I hope I can snag and share their knowledge in an interview or two.
I’ll keep it real….with no June Cleaver. Cross my heart.