Parent University

Helping You Stay Current on Hot Topics to Better Understand Your High School Student and Navigate the Teenage Years

We want to share information with our VES parents that will help you learn along with your child. Through book recommendations, seminars, faculty and leadership presentations, hot topics in the news, TED Talks and more, we will serve up content that we think you'll find of value.


The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults
by Francis E. Jensen

Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Dr. Daniel Siegel

Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin

The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jess Lahey
The Price of Privilege and Teach Your Children Well by Madeline Levine

Age of Opportunity
: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence by Laurence Steinberg
How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
by Ariana Huffington

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
by Carol Dweck
Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour


Recent news articles regarding vaping prevalence among teens, discuss some of the causes and impacts of this unhealthy trend that poses significant long-term health hazards.

Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?
By Benoit Denizet-Lewis, The New York Times Magazine, 10/11/17

Proponents of Later School Start Times See Momentum, by Lauren Camera, US News & World Report, 08/11/17

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? by Jean M. Twenge in the September 2017 issue of The Atlantic

"More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they're on the brink of a mental-health crisis."

What Happens When Teens Try to Disconnect from Tech for Three Days by Katrina Schwartz, NPR Mind/Shift

What Teens Need Most From Their Parents
 by Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal

As adolescents navigate the stormiest years in their development, they need coaching, support, good examples and most of all understanding

A Stanford dean on adult skills every 18-year-old should have by Julie Lythcott-Haims, Author of NYT bestseller How to Raise an Adult; former Stanford dean, Quora 

A quick, thought-provoking list of the practical skills we should be expecting our kids to build throughout their high school years.

Amid Internet Addiction Fears, 'Balanced' Tech Diet for Teens Recommended
by Benjamin Herold, Education Week

"Although researchers have yet to reach a consensus on whether 'Internet addiction' is real, parents are increasingly—and justifiably—concerned about their children's technology and media usage, according to a new report released today by Common Sense Media.
How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off by Adam Grant, The New York Times

How Parents and Teachers Can Nurture the 'Quiet Power' of Introverts by Elissa Nadworny, NPR
Seven Ways Parents Can Help 13-Year-Olds Start Their Social Media Lives Right by Kj Dell’Antonia, The New York Times
Smart Praise for Students by James M. Lang, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Solutions for Stressed-Out High-School Students by Nikhil Goyal, The Wall Street Journal
The Best Way to Fight with a Teenager by Lisa Damour, The New York Times
Conflicts with teenagers are inevitable, and there are ways to help the tense moments become meaningful growth opportunities. As this short article states, "[T]eenagers who use problem solving to address disputes with their parents [...] tend to enjoy the sturdiest psychological health and the happiest relationships everywhere they go, two outcomes that would top every parent’s wish list."

The New Romantics in the Computer Age by David Brooks, The New York Times
Today’s Exhausted Superkids by Frank Bruni, The New York Times

What Google Learned from Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team by Charles Duhigg, The New York Times Magazine

Why Kids — Now More Than Ever — Need to Learn Philosophy. Yes, Philosophy by Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post

Why Getting a Good Night's Sleep Is Essential for Learning


Adam Grant's Advice for Raising Resilient Kids
The Wharton School organizational psychologist says kids should practice struggling.

Goal-Setting, Perseverance and Inspiration: A Presentation by Dr. David Horton to VES Students, Faculty and Families

Freedom from Chemical Dependency
with FCD Senior Prevention Specialist
Watch this light-hearted video by The Atlantic that shows how letting children fail is critical to instilling resilience and creativity.

Understanding Islam
"Powerful." "Changed my life." "My daughter talked with us every night about what she learned that day; she wanted to keep exploring the topics as a family." "This night alone was worth the year's tuition." These are just a few of the hundreds of passion-filled comments in response to a VES week-long program in 2016 focused on education, open dialogue and engaging activities focused on Islam, religious beliefs, global awareness and pluralism.



Advice College Admissions Officers Give Their Own Kids by Jennifer Wallace and Lisa Heffernan, The New York Times

Why More High-School Seniors Need to Be Like Malia Obama and Take a Gap Yearby Jeffrey J. Selingo, The Washington Post
Independent School Grads Arrive College-Ready
Compared to their public and private school counterparts, independent school graduates enter college with more of the skills and experiences they’ll need to succeed. That’s among the major findings of a national longitudinal study from NAIS and the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI). Get full details from the May 2016 report, “Independent School Graduates as College Freshmen.”

Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni
The following grade-level programs help parents understand the College Counseling process as it relates to students at that point in their high school journey, and the staff answers parents’ questions.
In this video, a diverse and talented group of college coaches and one athletics compliance officer join the College Counseling team for a panel discussion for parents and their students who are interested in pursuing athletics in college to ask the coaches questions. 


A wonderful way to stay educated about topics in college planning is to follow the VES College Counseling Facebook page. Follow now and you'll never miss an interesting post.

Top Reading Recommendations

“The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults” by Francis E. Jensen, renowned neurologist and mother of two boys

At VES, our Student Life programming is guided by adolescent brain science. Dr. Jensen
sheds new light on adolescent brain functioning and development in the contexts of learning and multitasking, stress and memory, sleep, addiction and decision-making, and provides practical advice on helping teens navigate their journey to adulthood.
“Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era” by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith

This book is based on the award-winning documentary that discusses the dramatic change education must undergo to prepare students with the knowledge, skill sets and character required to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving world and how, as educators, we need to look devise the next generation of education to address these needs.
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