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things i didn’t realize i did until socially awkward penguin pointed them out to me

part 1

Advanced Ado. Post (Week V)

 Part I

Structure & Function

My family system is comprised of my mother, father, younger brother, and myself. My father is traditionally masculine; physically, he’s very tall, he is the breadwinner, enjoys watching and playing sports, and listens to Classic Rock. My mother is traditionally feminine; she did not work for years so she could stay home and raise my brother and me, she loves to bake, and decorating our new house has been a thrill for her. My brother, Andrew, is not stereotypically masculine- which my dad struggles with a bit, but only in that he has no one in the house to watch sports with. Andrew is an extremely talented percussionist who plays with multiple orchestras and concert bands. He is also interested in technology and is currently pursuing his degree at Millersville in Computer Science with a Math minor.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths: Support, dedicated family time, SES, emphasis on education

Weaknesses: I hate to say that I don’t feel there are many! At a different developmental phase (eg ADOLESCENCE!!!) I would have hand PLENTY to say on areas of weakness. In part, because this was a very difficult time for my mother and I- we butted heads constantly, it was really a nightmare.

Positive & Negative Feedback Loops

Positive: Expressions of caring, doing chores that benefit everyone results in other family members also wanting to contribute, providing emotional support, providing encouragement in participating in activities (increase in concert attendance-increase in playing concerts)

Negative: Requests to clean my room; increase in nagging behavior leads to (eventual) decrease in ignoring behavior.

Parenting Types- Authoritative

This question is difficult to answer because, as the book mentioned, the child’s temperament and personality play into parenting style. I would say, in my childhood, the parenting was Authoritative. I was a handful (not true for my brother). However, as my personality and attitudes changed with my maturity, I feel as though they did not need to place demands on me because I could do it myself. My brother has probably not experienced ALL of the Authoritative nature of our parents because he has rarely had a need to be punished. Both Andrew and I are highly motivated children and we impose our own demands for progress and success.

Part II

An article published in Psychology Today, titled, “Letting Go: The Greatest Challenge of Parenting Teens,” deals specifically with how to handle teens when they begin to feel the urge to “leave the nest.” The author (Ginsburg) suggests allowing for some increased independence, despite the often-challenging nature of this for parents. Additionally, they recommend that parents begin to find ways to make their lives meaningful to model what adult life can look like. Personally, I don’t think this article is giving any groundbreaking advice. Increasing autonomy for teens is something I have read before. Modeling a rich adult life, on the other hand, is not something I have read, but it seems to be common sense to me. This seems like a great idea! It can be troubling for teens to see their parents so distressed about them leaving (eg increasing feelings of guilt). Parents need to balance showing support, and that the relationship with the teen is important, yet, that life moves on. Parents can continue to work, seek education, and pursue hobbies even after their children have moved on. Using our text, I examined the type of autonomy the article was referencing. The article does not specifically state whether it was emotional or behavioral. When they described the types of actions exhibited by teens that are in this “seeking-autonomy” phase, it appeared to me as though they were talking about behavioral autonomy. It did seem consistent with the descriptions in the text.

Part III


The journal article I selected, “Autonomy and Adolescent Social Functioning: The Moderating Effect of Risk,” examined the autonomy of teens and how that was related to the teen-mother dyad (McElhaney). This relationship was assessed using an attachment inventory.  It also examined the role that family risk (low or high) played in both autonomy and interpretation of the teen-mother dyad. Level of risk was assessed by examining the location of housing and family income. High-risk participants where those identified as living in the city and by reporting that their income fell at or below 200%of the federal poverty line (200% selected due to research on the effects of poverty). Participants must have been both of these criterions to be placed in the high-risk level; this was 33% of sample and low-risk was 67% (Total n= 131). The sample consisted of 9th and 10th graders and their mothers. In low-risk families, the teen-mother dyad was disrupted by any maternal behaviors that were undermining to autonomy, this resulted in greater feelings of alienation. This was the opposite finding when high-risk teens were evaluated. In this case, the maternal behaviors did not lead to feelings of alienation, but increased trustworthiness and feelings of connectedness.  


These findings make sense to me because context and environment greatly influence how certain behaviors are perceived. If you live in a dangerous neighborhood (high risk) and your mother imposes boundaries on you, you are more likely to see her as doing that for a real purpose and not see it as hindering your autonomy. What I enjoyed about this article was the fact that it took risk (and therefore, environment) into consideration. Our text also examined this. It’s easy to look at the definitions and generic outcomes for each of the parenting styles, but that ignores the role that environment. Additionally, I enjoyed that this article tied in the concept of control, both behavioral and psychological, which are both concepts covered in this weeks reading. One thing I would change about this study would be to add more qualifiers to what constitutes “high-risk.” However, I see that by adding more and more qualifiers, the number of participants that fall into this group decreases which makes running meaningful statistics more challenging.


Ginsburg, K. (2011, July 30). Letting go: The greatest challenge of parenting teens. Psychology Today. Retrieved from

McElhaney, K. B. & Allen, J. P. (2001). Autonomy and adolescent social functioning: The moderating effect of risk. Child Development, 72 (1).


Lip’s Truth or Dare: Single Ladies Dance

This has got to be one of the greatest things ever.


Happy birthday, Steve. Rest in peace ♥


Happy birthday, Steve. Rest in peace ♥

Advanced Ado (Week IV)

Part I. Review General Materials
Richtel, M. (2010, December 21). Growing up digital, wired for distraction. New York Times. Retrieved from
    The article I reviewed stated that teens today are decreasing their cognitive abilities for prolonged concentration. Multiple digital devices are readily available to keep adolescents from focusing on their work. Reading an entire book seems to be impossible to a teen who is repeatedly interrupting the process by checking Facebook, sending a text, or watching a YouTube video. The point that the article emphasizes is that process of interrupting is making various learning processes difficult. Research has shown that there is a rewarding component this behavior, thus why it is repeated.

    Also examined is the role that technology plays in an educational setting. Essentially, you have the “old school” educators who do not think that we should be catering to the interests of teens. The other side are the “new wavers” who think we should meet the adolescents where they’re at and incorporate technology, like iPads and specialized classes into the curriculum. As someone who works in education, I personally advocate for a more balanced approach. I like the opportunity that technology can offer, like video chatting with people in other countries. Or that a child who does not have access at home to basic technology can experience using a computer. Children need to be taught that technology has a place.
Part II
    I do not see things changing in regard to using technology in education- only in that technology will continue to progress and offer new features. I wonder what it would take to create a “technology backlash” wherein we would go back to a books, lined paper and chalk board system. Also, as more and more money is allocated to technology and PSSA-type remediation, it is taken away from other programs, like the arts and certain sports programs. Over time, I would expect to see negative effects from the combination of no arts programs and increased use of digital tools. I suspect things won’t change until we see the true effects these changes are having on the development of children later in their lives. I do not believe this multi-tasking (which I believe is really cognitive overload) is leading to “humans 2.0.” Rather, that, as the article I reviewed stated, the multi-tasking is leading to a generation of individuals who cannot focus for an extended period of time. Social skills? Writing skills? Medical problems? We have to wait to find out.

Part III:
Pea, R., Nass, C., Meheula, L., Rance, M., Kumar, A., Bamford, H., Nass, M., Simha, A., Stillerman, B., Yang, S., & Zhou, M. (2012, January 23). Media use, face-to-face communication, media multitasking, and social well-being among 8- to 12-year-old girls. Developmental Psychology.

This study examined the effects of various types of media on social well-being. Results indicated negative socioemotional outcomes were correlated with video viewing, online communication, and multimedia multitasking. They made sure to specify that these outcomes were not proven directionally. Meaning, they were NOT trying to say that it was online communication that caused the negative socioemotional outcomes. I appreciated that this was explained.  Additionally, they found that younger participants felt more social stress from in-person friends whereas older participants felt more from online communications. This finding was surprising to me. Perhaps it’s explained by the fact that younger participants (closer to 8 years old) wouldn’t have as much exposure to certain forms of media and therefore, be less impacted by it.

            These findings did support my thoughts from the first article; that there must be negative “side effects” of prolonged or extreme media use. Although they are not proving that these media tools are causing negative effects, it would be ridiculous think that the connection between the two isn’t important.

Advanced Ado. Post (Week III)

Part I- Personal Reflection

A. Recall

            When I was 16, I was in a very intense, committed relationship. I remember feelings emotions so intensely, more so than ever before or since. At the end of a date, I cried. Not the “I let a few tears escape”-cry. No- a full out, ugly face, mascara running-cry. Besides feelings of sadness, I also recall intense feelings of anger. One silly mistake (made by someone else, of course) and my levels of irrationality were off the charts. Once, when my boyfriend and I were driving to a dinner date, I remember getting so agitated over the fact that he was driving too close to the curb that I flipped out and made him drive me back home.

B. Interpretation

            The above examples, when compared to my current mode of operation, are meant to illustrate how “not myself” I was during that time. Were “raging hormones” the cause of my actions? Personally, I don’t discount the part that hormones or other biological explanations played in my behaviors. Situational factors influenced the sad emotions, but not the angry ones- at least not logically. Why would I purposefully detonate a relationship that I wanted to continue? No one explanation seems to explain my behavior.

Part II- Find More Information

Maxym, C. (2001). Talking with your teen. PBS: Inside the teen brain. Retrieved from


            Adolescents and their parents often struggle with communication. This may be due to the fact that these individuals exist in different worlds. Adults are fully developed, independent humans with careers and responsibilities. Teen, however, are still awaiting full development of their bodies and minds, struggling with being at least partially dependent on their caretakers, and generally are focused on cultivating their social lives (and, in some cases, academics may also get some attention). Certainly hormonal changes are influencing the way an adolescent is experiencing emotions and in turn, the way they communicate them (or do not communicate them, as the case may be).  

            “Talking with your teen” is an article that recommends a more “scientific” approach to parent-teen communication. It suggests using a few different printouts: an emotions list, a short questionnaire, and a check sheet. As someone who works in a school, I could see how these may be beneficial between a teen and a guidance counselor or medical/mental health professional who may have some questions about how the individual has been feeling during this phase of development. Personally, the idea that a parent would use this amuses me. I would think my dear old mother had packed her bags and headed to crazy town if she tried to sit me down to fill out the sheets the article provides. What would be more useful would be a modification of sensitivity training, given to parents, regarding teen development, emotions, and communication. Specifically, that parents need to listen and stop minimizing the teen’s experience. It may seem dramatized or ridiculous to parents, but to the teen it is real. Approaching a teen in a more understanding and organic way (i.e. not using predesigned worksheets) could yield more fruitful results than more common methods.

Part III

Galinsky, E. & Davis, J. (1999). Ask the children: What America’s children really think about working parents. Retrieved from

* Note: The following article was also used in the PBS: Inside the teen brain series but was not directly cited in the “Talking with your teen” article. *

A. The researchers in this study used a combination of techniques to gather data. Some of the participants were interviewed (some in person, others on the phone), some were given a questionnaire and others, both. Because no variables were manipulated, this is descriptive research. Participants (children and their parents) were asked about how work impacted their familial relationships.

B. Research was done in chunks and combined. Participants were children ages 8-18 and parents. Group sizes varied, with certain cohorts containing up to 1,023 children. This group was said to be “nationally representative.” Generalizations can likely be made to other children who have parents who work similar jobs and hours, but not to those with nonworking parents.

C. The findings (as they apply to the “Talking with teens” article I examined above) reported that children (teen included) and parents both had trouble guessing what the other was thinking. Teens also said that they wanted to spend more time with their parents, but that parents did not seem to see evidence of this. What the study suggests in for parents to spend quality time with teens. This may include being persistent, even when teens seem uninterested or unavailable. Suggestions that did not make the list? Using worksheets to understand your teens. Interesting.

you are!

you are!

Don't Know Why by Brittany Miller from the album: Karaoke