Teen Life

What Do Teens Do on Saturday Nights?

Attending Parties

The adolescent stage presents your teen with opportunities to attend parties. Sweet 16 birthdays, house parties, slumber parties and camping trips are example of parties your child might attend on a Saturday night. Invites to such parties are either sent via social networks like Facebook and Twitter or via word of mouth in school. Night parties expose your child to a number of hazards including teenage pregnancy, unprotected sex, sexual harassment and addictive drugs. Parents allowing their children to attend such parties have a responsibility to warn sons and daughters on the dangers they are likely to face in addition to advising them on how to avoid them.

Bowling

Bowling is a leisure activity admired by many teens in America. NBC News reports that a number of bowling halls are changing their appearances to satisfy their teenage clients’ tastes. Electric fog, music videos, and gourmet foods and drinks are examples of additions that most bowling centers with a large teenage customer base have made to existing features in their bowling centers. Bowling encourages cooperation and allows your child to become a team player.

Video Games

Approximately 78 percent of American children aged between 12 and 17 years old participate in online video games. Video arcades offer various games, such as car racing, sports, puzzles and shooting games that your child might play on a Saturday night. Video games provide a platform for your child to socialize with his friends. It also allows him to develop better understanding of his friends, as they may team up and challenge other teams available online.

Attending Sporting Events

Teenagers who admire sports may also take time on Saturday nights to cheer on their favorite teams. Many sporting events, such as basketball, baseball, soccer and auto racing, sometimes occur on Saturday evenings when most fans are out of work. Your child might meet with his friends to enjoy a game or two of their favorite sports.

What Do Teenagers Do in Greece for a Social Life?

Popular Hobbies

Football -- known as soccer in the U.S. -- is far and away the most popular sport in Greece, according to the “Rough Guides” online travel guide. Many teenagers enjoy playing on a football team or going to see games with friends. Professional football game tickets are fairly easy to get. On the coast, windsurfing is popular, closely followed by waterskiing, parasailing, riding jet skis, and sailing boats.

Consumption of Alcohol

Teenagers typically consume alcohol in Greece -- Greeks have a relaxed, Mediterranean attitude toward drinking, according to AngloInfo Greece. Teenagers might consume wine with their families, and although legally the drinking age is 18, alcohol can be fairly easy to access for younger teenagers. Greek adolescents go out to drink socially with friends and frequent bars or “discothèque” dance clubs. Being visibly drunk in public, though, is not socially acceptable in Greece. Smoking cigarettes is common in this culture, and marijuana, though illegal, is also popular with many young people.

Family-centered Life

Much of teenage social life in Greece centers on the home and family, according to EveryCulture.com. Families will gather to eat, drink, dance and talk, with food at the center of the event. The goal at these gatherings is the attainment of “kefi, a sense of high spirits and relaxation that arises when one is happily transported by the moment and the company,” according to EveryCulture.com. While alcohol might contribute to kefi, it is still considered rude to become drunk at family gatherings. Religious holidays play a central role in the lives of many teenagers and their families.

Economic Changes

Teenagers writing about the economic crisis in Greece for an article in 2012 for TheGuardian.com say that most people can’t afford to go out to restaurants, coffee shops and bars right now. “The issue is not violence, but misery!” wrote a Greek teenager named Louise. She says that life in Greece right now is “quiet and depressing.” In the current economic climate, teenagers are more likely to be at home, school, or work than out with their friends.

Top Things Parents Should Be Talking to Teenagers About

Personal Issues

Teenagers have lots of things going on, between school, extracurricular activities, peers, family, homework and chores. While teenagers try to juggle everything, don’t forget that they are also focusing on personal interests such as hobbies, music and sports, says Jodi Dworkin, Ph.D., associate professor with the University of Minnesota Extension. Take an interest in your child’s life, concerns, interests and issues. Ask questions, be available to provide support and encourage your child whenever possible. Strive to connect and engage with your child positively every day to maintain a close relationship.

Health

Under the broad banner of health comes both physical and emotional health, states Dr. Rebecca Weinshilboum, pediatrician with Wake Forest Baptist Health. Keep lines of communication open regarding sexual maturity and activity so you can provide support and answers if your teen needs help. Help your teen seek medical care to stay physically healthy during the teenage years. Maintaining emotional health involves watching for issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, aggression or isolation from peers and family. If you see this type of behavior, get dialogue going to offer support and assistance for your teen. You may need to arrange professional counseling or treatment.

Safety

Teen safety is a huge topic, encompassing many different subjects. Communicate openly about your concerns regarding Internet safety, substance abuse, privacy issues, cell phone usage, safe driving practices, piercings and tattoos, firearms and family rules regarding conduct. Teenagers often encounter situations frequently where the teen must make a decision regarding conduct or actions. By talking about various issues and related situations, you can give your teenager the tools necessary to make responsible decisions, states the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The Future

The future looms large for teenagers, states Dworkin. Teenagers may worry or wonder about current events, especially as they impact the future. Talk about issues and happenings in the world with your teenager. Help your teenager dissect and understand events. Discuss your teenager’s future plans as well, asking questions, providing support and giving input as desired. Help your child navigate her course to achieve her goals by providing calm and reassuring support.

Helping Teens Identify Values

Information

Teenagers appreciate honesty from adults. A way to help teenagers identify values is to give them honest information about issues. Parents can accomplish that by letting teens know the benefits of certain values. If you have a personal anecdote that illustrates a particular value you hold dear, share it so your child can learn from your successes or mistakes in value judgments.

Guidance

Teenagers like to make their own decisions, so it is important for parents to guide them to make right decisions. For example, you're concerned about teaching your teen about alcohol and drugs, you can refer your child to websites such as Teenshealth.org. The website is geared for teenagers. The "Alcohol" page explains how alcohol affects their bodies, which allows them to make an educated choice on whether to use it. When teenagers are part of the value judgment process, the value is more important to them.

Understanding Diversity

Teenagers need to understand that values differ among their peers.
Teenagers need to understand that values differ among their peers.

Values are opinions, so they differ among people. Teens need to understand that and to recognize that it is natural. As teens begin to understand the different values of others, it gives them the freedom to assess their own values and to even change their own values, if necessary. It also allows teens to respect and accept the values of others even, if they are different than their own.

Respectful Communication

Respect is key to helping your teens identify values. It is important for teens to feel respected by others, especially their parents. According to the website Advocates for Youth, "Positive communication between parents and their children greatly helps young people to establish individual values and to make healthy decisions." Establishing respectful boundaries when discussing values with your teenagers helps them assess values and adopt those that are important and healthy. These values might conflict with parents' beliefs, so it is important that parents listen and respect what their teenagers are saying in order to help their teenagers identify appropriate values.

Fun Ways to Make Teens Feel Special

Hobbies and Interests

Find the hobbies and interests your teenager has that you can support. If they enjoy art at school, then taking them to a art gallery is a fine way to bond as well as a way to make them feel special. If they are interested in rock music, you can buy tickets for a concert for one of their favorite bands. Younger teens might be thrilled for you to go along too, but older teens may prefer to go without you, but will appreciate you for taking an interest and buying them tickets.

Praise and Celebrate

An effective way to increase a teen's self-esteem is to celebrate their achievements. The article "Don't Just Reward Teens for Good Grades" published on the School Family website in 2013 warns against rewarding teens with money or material objects, but instead to do something personal such as going out for dinner together, spending a whole day together doing whatever the teen wants, or giving your teen use of the car for the weekend.

Volunteer

An effective way to make your teen feel special and appreciated is to have her volunteer in the community, or you could also volunteer as a family. According to the TeensHealth website, the volunteering opportunity needs to be tailored to the teen's hobbies and interests. For example, a teen who's into skateboarding could join a skateboarding organization, or a teen who loves animals could volunteer at the animal shelter.

Room Decoration

A teenager's room gives them feelings of privacy and independence, so it's worthwhile to make it as comfortable as possible. An August 2011 Washington Post article titled "Making a Teen's Bedroom Special," recommends spending time talking with teens on how they want their room to be, rather than deciding for them. Getting teens involved in decorating their room can be a fun project to do together.

Positive Ideas for Teens to Live By

Positive Self-Esteem Leads to Success

Self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves and our behavior clearly reflects this, particularly as teenagers. The Child Development Institute notes that self-esteem is a major indicator of success in life and that it is very important for the happiness and success of teenagers. Teenagers with a healthy self-esteem are better able to take responsibility, act independently, take pride in accomplishments and cope with frustration and challenges. On the other hand, teens with low self-esteem are more likely to blame others for shortcomings, put themselves down and be easily influenced. Teens can strive to develop a positive self-image by accepting that they are attractive in their own way and have a unique set of talents and skills that they must work hard to develop.

Your Life Purpose Will Evolve

A part of finding fulfillment and success is seeking your life purpose. Dr. Susan Biali, M.D., writes in "Psychology Today" that most teenagers and even adults do not know what their life purpose is. For many people, life purpose will also evolve and change as we grow and gain experiences. Teenagers who accept that finding their life purpose is part of growing, will not feel lost when they make mistakes or take a path that is not right for them. Some individuals may also have more than one life purpose and it may take many years to find or be clear early on. Fresh starts, successes and failures are all part of finding our passions and purpose.

There is a Difference Between 'Want' and 'Need'

Society is not teaching teens the importance of saving money by not following every fashion, product or technology trend. Saving is part of developing a healthy attitude towards money that will serve teenagers when they are adults too. GreenPath University advises teaching teens about the difference between a 'want' and a 'need.' This helps to reduce the mentality of entitlement that makes teenagers want what their friends have or what they see advertised. Teens should be encouraged to think about the financial cost and the cost to the environment before making any purchase, including fast food. They should also be encouraged to earn and save their own money for excess things they want to buy such as a new video games or a new pair of jeans.

Giving is Receiving

Helping others and giving to your community leads to a greater sense of fulfillment, satisfaction and happiness. Teenagers who understand this and strive to develop an altruistic nature can gain valuable experiences and skills by volunteering. There are several ways that teens can volunteer their time and skills. These include helping out at a soup kitchen or animal shelter, visiting the elderly at a care home, running errands for elderly or disabled individuals in the community, tutoring or mentoring other kids, planting trees and cleaning up the neighborhood.

Social Cognition in Teenagers

Theory of Mind

Theory of mind is the ability to realize that other people have thoughts and feelings of their own, to guess what those thoughts and feelings might be and to predict how they might behave in a certain circumstance based on those thoughts and feelings. It takes most children until about age 5 to develop a theory of mind. In a lecture from 2007 reprinted in "The Psychologist," neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore described the results of research showing that teenagers do not yet have theory of mind as fully developed as adults do.

Perspective-Switching

Blakemore's research into adolescent social cognition found that younger teenagers had more difficulty switching from a first-person perspective to a third-person perspective than adults did. Both groups could imagine how they would feel in a particular circumstance and how another person might feel, but the teenagers took longer to answer the question about how another person would feel. This result suggests that theory of mind is not yet completely developed in younger teenagers.

Peer Resistance

Another study, described by Blakemore and neuroscientist Stephanie Burnett in a 2009 research paper, found that younger teenagers had less ability to resist peer pressure than older teenagers. When asked to assess their likelihood of going along with the group in an imaginary scenario, younger teens rated themselves as more likely to do so even when the group was doing something wrong or socially unacceptable. Older teens rated themselves as less likely to go along with the group in the same circumstance. Blakemore and Burnett point out that the ability to go against the group sometimes is an important aspect of social maturity.

Social Assessment

A 2011 study by Blakemore and neuroscientist Jennifer H. Pfeifer found that teenagers used the same part of their brain to assess what they thought about themselves as they used to assess how other people might think of them. Adults used separate areas of the brain for those different tasks. This implies that teens have less ability to distinguish between what other people think about them and how they feel about themselves, which might explain the vulnerability of teens to peer pressure. With less ability to correctly assess the perspectives of others, a stronger tendency to go along with the crowd and a limited ability to distinguish social judgment from self-esteem, teenagers appear to think about social interactions very differently from adults.