Tweens, Teens & Beyond #10

Welcome to Week 10 of linky Tweens, Teens & Beyond hosted by myself and my fellow Tween and Teen bloggers Sharon at After The Playground and Nicky at Not Just The Three of Us.

It is a solemn day with the tragic news of the horrific incident in Manchester and like everyone else my thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost a loved one or are still waiting for news, as well as those who are injured.

Our favourite link from last week was Suzanne from Chickenruby with her very pertinent post on social media and whether we as parents are actually setting a good example to our young Tweens and Teens with our own use of social media. I am sure we have all asked ourselves that question many a time.

This week the linky is open as usual until Thursday 25 May at midnight and then it will close for the half-term period, re-opening on Tuesday 6 June at 10.00am.

Now on to the less exciting but nonetheless important part of the linky - the rules - PLEASE give them a read before you head off to link up and as always we look forward to reading your posts.

Linky Rules

Please could you:

  • Grab the Tweens,Teens & Beyond  badge and add it to the bottom of your post or your side bar - if you need help read this Linky Guide from Becky at Cuddle Fairy.
  • Link up one post, old or new (sponsored and review posts are welcome) that relate to children over the age of 10 years (Tweens, Teens or young adult children) and midlife.
  • Tweet us @motherofteensuk, @DrSharonParry1 and @nickykentisbeer
  • Comment on the hosts' posts and AT LEAST one other of your choice using the linky hashtag #TweensTeensBeyond - it is only polite after all!
  • Share any posts that you love, we are all about sharing!

What we will do for you:

  • All three of us will comment on your post and share it on Twitter.
  • Your post will be pinned to the #TweensTeensBeyond Linky Pinterest Board
  • Each week, we will select our favourite post which will be featured on all of our sites and shared on Social Media
  • By entering the link you are agreeing to be added to the email reminder list.  (You can request to be removed at any time!)

 

Mother of Teenagers


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It’s That Time Of Year – Muck Up Day

For many teenagers across the country, this week includes one of THE most important dates in the school calendar, Muck Up Day.  For those sitting their A'levels this is officially their time to let off some steam before the start of the exams, but also to celebrate the end of an era as they say a fond farewell to their school days and head off into the big wide world.

What constitutes Muck Up Day varies from school to school.  Some simply opt for a themed dress up day. For others, however, this is a little bit too "sensible" and instead involves weeks of planning and preparation akin to a Mission Impossible movie as the students seek to surprise and outwit their teachers with something a bit different - classrooms filled with balloons, sellotape over staircases, marbles strewn along hallways, teachers' cars wrapped in clingfilm - the stuff of logistical precision and creativity.

For those leaving school, Muck Up Day is the opportunity to leave a personal impression beyond the classroom or the sports field.  From the schools' perspective, however, the impression they leave has to be the right one.

They want their departing students to remember that not only are they setting an example to those pupils left behind but also representing the school in the local community.  They want them to do themselves and their school proud and leave with their heads held high.

There have been reports over the years of some Muck Up Days getting out of control and as a result some schools have put in rules limiting what can be done, which goes some way to defeating the whole point of the harmless fun and chaos that the day is supposed to create.

Harmless, however, is the operative word here. Everyone has to enjoy the joke and the fun needs to be conducted within certain parameters.  No one wants to be confronted by anarchy, but a little bit of chaos is to be expected.  

Of the parents I have spoken to about the guidelines from their teenagers' schools, the general rule of thumb seems to be that any pranks should not cause serious damage or endanger anyone - all of which seems perfectly reasonable, but may of course be open to misinterpretation by a bunch of lively teenagers.

There are some iconic Muck Up Day stories that do the rounds, the most popular being the three pigs that were brought into one school and numbered one, two and four resulting in the teachers wasting their whole day looking for the pig wearing the number three that of course didn't exist - pure genius some might say.

There is also the infamous story of the school whose leavers' put up a series of posters for several weeks prior to Muck Up Day saying simply "They Are Coming", until almost every noticeboard in the school was covered.  The night before Muck Up Day the signs suddenly disappeared and when the school opened the next morning every classroom, corridor, changing room and broom cupboard was full of hundreds of garden gnomes - a costly prank for sure but no doubt worth it for notoriety alone.

I have also heard of a story closer to home that involved a cow being left in a school hall which was on the second floor of a building.  Unfortunately whilst cows are quite happy to be led up stairs they are less keen on being led down, so it had to be airlifted out of the building at great expense to the school and presumably great distress to the cow.

Jokes and pranks aside, however, there is of course the more official aspect to Muck Up Day, it is actually Leaver's Day and a chance for the school to celebrate their pupils' journey from child to adult with awards for their achievements.

Pupils leave clutching medals, cups, a leaver's book full of pictures, personal anecdotes from friends and teachers as well as the obligatory "Year of..." hoodie!  Yes it would seem you are never too old!  Where would we be without a summer of spotting fellow school leavers at home and abroad?

With my own teenager leaving school this year the stress of exams has taken somewhat of a back seat as the excitement mounts in anticipation of Muck Up Day.   My son's school has arranged a full day of activities starting with a leaver's breakfast and including performances from bands, magicians and comedians before moving on to the formalities of prize giving and the leavers' photograph.

The school has issued the customary "plea for support" email to parents asking us to reiterate the need for exemplary behaviour along with a reminder from the local police that there should be no significant disruption by way of carnival style marches or parades in the immediate area.

In terms of specific plans, we like many other parents no doubt are in the dark.  There has been discussion of a need to meet with friends at 6am on Muck Up Day and lots of covert whispering but nothing that will risk any best laid plans being foiled.   Secrecy is paramount, so like everyone else we will have to wait and see.

One thing is sure though, it will be an emotional day for our country's school leavers in more ways than one and however they choose to celebrate and leave their mark, for them at least it will be worth it as to quote my teenager  "You Can't Put A Price On Memories".

 

This Mum's Life

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Tweens, Teens, Beyond #9

Good Morning and welcome to Week 9 of linky Tweens, Teens & Beyond hosted by myself and my fellow Tween and Teen bloggers Sharon at After The Playground and Nicky at Not Just The Three of Us.

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week, there are some who have been with us since the beginning which is lovely and again we were lucky enough to welcome some new and seasoned bloggers to our tribe, including the brilliant Prabs at Absolutely Prabulous with her very funny report on the eyebrow craze sweeping the country.

Our favourite link from last week was from Cheryl at Time To Craft.  Cheryl's blog is full of fabulous craft features and includes a series of Dear Daughter letters, each one written as she completes a square for a quilt which she will eventually hand to her daughter.  Genius!  Cheryl's post last week was on Logistics in relation to parents evening.  If, like me you have become used to running a one minute mile between appointments at parents evening this post will certainly make you smile and nod in unison.

Now on to the less exciting but nonetheless important part of the linky - the rules - PLEASE give them a read before you head off to link up and as always we look forward to reading your posts.

Linky Rules

Please could you:

  • Grab the Tweens,Teens & Beyond  badge and add it to the bottom of your post or your side bar - if you need help read this Linky Guide from Becky at Cuddle Fairy.
  • Link up one post, old or new (sponsored and review posts are welcome) that relate to children over the age of 10 years (Tweens, Teens or young adult children) and midlife.
  • Tweet us @motherofteensuk, @DrSharonParry1 and @nickykentisbeer
  • Comment on the hosts' posts and AT LEAST one other of your choice using the linky hashtag #TweensTeensBeyond - it is only polite after all!
  • Share any posts that you love, we are all about sharing!

What we will do for you:

  • All three of us will comment on your post and share it on Twitter.
  • Your post will be pinned to the #TweensTeensBeyond Linky Pinterest Board
  • Each week, we will select our favourite post which will be featured on all of our sites and shared on Social Media
  • By entering the link you are agreeing to be added to the email reminder list.  (You can request to be removed at any time!)

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Educating Out Prejudice – Just How Tolerant Are We?

"Why on earth would I want to end my week by going to see a play about a man having sex with a goat?"   This was the question asked by a very dear friend as we set off to the theatre last week.

The play in question was Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? with Damian Lewis and Sophie Okonedo.  Avid theatre goers, we have all enjoyed many a memorable night together, but none quite like last week.

It divided and united us in equal measure which to me at least is an indication of a good play.  Theatre is not about pure entertainment it is about provoking a reaction, encouraging the audience to ask questions of themselves and society and The Goat Play as it is fondly known did just that.

I would be lying if I said the actors weren't largely responsible for getting me through the door, but so too was my natural curiosity.  I was not familiar with the play before attending last week so went albeit with some doubts simmering beneath the surface, a relatively open mind.

Enjoying drinks in the Oscar Wilde bar before the performance, we listened as the waitress regaled everyone with stories on audience reactions since opening, including those about some finding it all too much and leaving mid-performance.  In all honesty as we settled into our seats we were expecting our dear friend to join them.

TRHHospitality-225x300

The play is a quasi Greek tragedy.  It is the story of Martin, a married, middle-aged man and successful architect and his tragic fall from grace and the consequences upon his family, when he falls in love spiritually and physically with a goat.  Not only is this an unquestionably absurd story line it is evidently repugnant.

Bestiality is not an easy subject matter.  Shock is the predominant reaction of both the other characters in the play and the audience, as simultaneously you find yourselves experiencing the full emotional gamut of disgust, horror and anger, recoiling with every moral fibre in your body.

However, the play is not about bestiality, it is merely a means to an end.  By using a subject matter so unnatural and divisive, what the play does brilliantly is highlight how intolerant as a society we are and question how far we have really come in our seemingly progressive thinking.

The play is not asking us to accept bestiality but it forces us to hold up a mirror and look at our own prejudicial weaknesses.  Who is to say what is tolerable and what is not?  This is accentuated superbly by Martin's own incongruous response to his gay teenage son's sexual preferences, which he finds difficult to comprehend.

Albee said in an interview at the play's New York premiere "I want everybody to be able to think about what they can’t imagine and what they have buried deep as being intolerable and insufferable."

By shining the spotlight on those living outside the conventional, it is a play about the limits of our tolerance and who we really are.

Our tweens and teenagers are growing up in an increasingly more tolerant and progressive society than the one we inhabited at their age, yet still Albee's message is pertinent.

No-one likes to think of themselves as being prejudiced but we all have our own individual views on what is acceptable and what is not and and thereby unless we all share the same views, prejudice in some shape or form will exist and nowhere is this more prevalent than in relation to our sexual preferences.

"How would you feel if one of your friends came out as a Lesbian?" "Who knows what it means to be Gender Neutral?" "How accepting do you think you would be of a transgender woman at school?" were among the many questions asked of my daughter's class during lessons and debates marking LGBT History Month.

Homophobia in our schools is described as being at epidemic levels and it is commendable that there is a concerted effort at breaking down these barriers early, educating out prejudice and encouraging a more open-minded society, yet how easy is it to influence a change in opinion later in life?  Only last week Caitlyn Jenner was subject to transphobic abuse whilst leaving the British LGBT awards, demonstrating that even in an environment where tolerance should be high, there is still a way to go in our seemingly liberal society to being more inclusive.

There is no doubt though that there is a commitment to challenging the limits of our tolerance and even the big consumer brands are getting in on the act.  Heineken's new Worlds Apart campaign partners groups of strangers with a variety of opposing views including a transgender woman and a right-wing guy who thinks it's "wrong," and in doing so attempts to overcome barriers in our polarized world.

In the meantime, plays like The Goat, will continue to entertain and shock in equal measure and force us to question our own moral judgment of a variety of social taboos, not just sexual ones.  As for us, well we left the play agreeing to disagree on whether that is possible, but the mere fact we debated it went some way to achieving Albee's purpose of forcing us to stand back and consider a different stance to the black and white version.

 

Featured on HuffPostUK 

 

 

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Tweens, Teens & Beyond #8

It's Tuesday and time for Week 8 of linky Tweens, Teens & Beyond hosted by myself and my fellow Tween and Teen bloggers Sharon at After The Playground and Nicky at Not Just The Three of Us.

We were treated to some great posts last week, some funny, some sad, some reflective but all entertaining and interesting in their own way, proving that there is never a dull moment with a Tween or Teen in the house and always a story to share.

Our favourite link from last week was from Natalie at Hello Cuppies.  Natalie runs a bespoke cake company and set up her blog initially to share her love of baking.  This expanded over the years to include posts on parenting and her passion for travel and in her post last week Croatia Holiday - Mum and Son Time - Part Two  Natalie shared details of their trip to Mostar, Bosnia whilst holidaying in Croatia.

This post resonated with me as a dear friend from University and her family were deeply affected by the war two decades ago and also it reminded me of how important is to try and seize some moments with your child on a one-to-one basis away from the family environment.  If you missed the post please take a read.

Now on to the less exciting but nonetheless important part of the linky - the rules - PLEASE give them a read before you head off to link up and as always we look forward to reading your posts.

Linky Rules

Please could you:

  • Grab the Tweens,Teens & Beyond  badge and add it to the bottom of your post or your side bar - if you need help read this Linky Guide from Becky at Cuddle Fairy.
  • Link up one post, old or new (sponsored and review posts are welcome) that relate to children over the age of 10 years (Tweens, Teens or young adult children) and midlife.
  • Tweet us @motherofteensuk, @DrSharonParry1 and @NotJustThe3OfUs
  • Comment on the hosts' posts and AT LEAST one other of your choice using the linky hashtag #TweensTeensBeyond - it is only polite after all!
  • Share any posts that you love, we are all about sharing!

What we will do for you:

  • All three of us will comment on your post and share it on Twitter.
  • Your post will be pinned to the #TweensTeensBeyond Linky Pinterest Board
  • Each week, we will select our favourite post which will be featured on all of our sites and shared on Social Media
  • By entering the link you are agreeing to be added to the email reminder list.  (You can request to be removed at any time!)

 

Mother of Teenagers

 

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Driving for long stretches is historically my idea of a holiday from hell, but our California Road Trip changed all that.  It is hard to believe how you could have more fun in a hire car than on the Pacific Coast Highway, aka Highway 1.

Traveling from North to South so that the sea is on your side is the only way to tackle the journey, albeit slowly as everyone pulls over to admire the spectacular views.

Leaving Carmel and Monterey behind, one of the most memorable spots to stop along the Big Sur is at the colony of elephant seals at Piedras Blancas   As you emerge from your car the first thing that hits you is the noise and the second the smell.

Coming from Norfolk and growing up close to Blakeney Point which is home to England's largest colony of grey seals, I didn't think there was much more that could impress me with regard to seals but yet again on this trip I was proven wrong.

One of the great things about the US is the abundance of people on hand eager to help and at the viewing point a volunteer ranger was only too happy to share his knowledge about the seals to the hoards of tourists and bystanders.

Perhaps not surprisingly, elephant seals derive their name from their size and from the male's large nose, which begins to develop when the male reaches puberty at about five years and is fully developed by eight to nine years. The largest seal in the northern hemisphere and the second largest in the world, the adult elephant males are particularly impressive to see.  You cannot help but be struck by their sheer size and on mass they are quite an intimidating sight.

The beach at the rookery spreads over 6 miles and even though it wasn't the busiest time when we were there, there were elephant seals stretched as far as the eye could see.

The seals are in the open ocean eight to ten months of the year only coming ashore to the rookery at three key periods.  In the winter they come for the pupping and mating season, and in the late spring and early summer to molt and grow new fur.

October when we were there was the third population peak as this is the time that the young seals arrive on the beach for a rest and to spar with each other which really does make for entertaining viewing.  It is so breathtaking that you can easily wile away time just admiring the view and watching these enormous creatures battle it out with each other as the females doze in the sun seemingly oblivious.  

  • HEARST CASTLE 

From here we made our way to Hearst Castle, the fantastical creation of the millionaire publisher William Randolph Hearst, developed in collaboration with America's first licensed female architect Julia Morgan over many decades.  Overlooking San Simeon La Cuesta Encantada, which means Enchanted Hill, certainly lives up to its name and boasts yet more glorious views of the Pacific Ocean.  What's not to like about this??!!

Hearst Castle is not a place for exploring unaided, in order to see the estate you have to book on to a guided tour of which there are several to choose from. Leaving your car at the visitor centre at the bottom, a bus takes you on the 5 mile ascent up the winding hill and then once at the top you are met by a guide who takes you around the public areas of the estate.

Seeing really is believing this place.  This sprawling estate comprises 165 rooms, acres of landscaped gardens, pools and fountains, statues from ancient Greece and Moorish Spain and the ruins of what was once the worlds largest private zoo; in fact after our visit as we continued along Highway 1 we spotted herds of zebra grazing on the hillside.

For the teens this was without doubt the least interesting part of our road trip but we felt that we could not justify driving past and not taking  a look.  To be honest I am not a great one for following the pack, preferring to explore in my own time and did find myself siding with the teens at a couple of points so was thankful that we had only booked the introductory Grand Rooms tour which was still a good two hours.

Interestingly, when I asked the ranger at the seal rookery whether he would recommend a trip to the castle, he said it wouldn't compare to anything that we have in the UK and in a sense he was right. Hearst Castle is not a place of heritage or steeped in history as we know it, it is literally the realisation of a very rich man's quest to build a museum where he could house his personal collections of rare and ancient works of art - of which there are many.

Hearst Castle is in effect a new build castle, a monument to ostentatiousness and I left feeling slightly disappointed and with lowered expectations.  Each room houses an assortment of artefacts from around the world, most acquired as a result of the plundering during the World Wars.

Renaissance and Baroque tapestries hang above neoclassical scultpure.  Church pews align the walls alongside 20th century sofas and armchairs.  Silver candlesticks from the Middles Ages sit on a refectory style dining table with mustard and ketchup bottles.  A 15th century Spanish ceiling adorns the billiard room with a Flemish tapestry from 1500.  Then just when you think you have seen everything, on the way out you are taken through the decadent indoor Roman bath with intricate blue and gold tiling and adorned with sculptures of Greek and Roman gods .

Considering this was formerly a private estate, it lacks any form of design cohesion that you would normally associate with a home.  Overall for me Hearst Castle was all a bit incongruous, but nevertheless the collection itself is not to be dismissed  and rivals that of many museums even today, it is certainly a place not to be missed.

 

This post is the third in a series on our California Road Trip with Teens.  If you missed the first posts you can view them via the links below.

A California Road Trip with Teens - Part One

Whale Watching in Monterey - California Part Two

 

 

 

 

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Travel Loving FamilyOne Messy Mama Tammymum

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Tweens, Teens & Beyond #7

Hello and welcome back to Week 7 of linky Tweens, Teens & Beyond hosted by myself and my fellow Tween and Teen bloggers Sharon at After The Playground and Nicky at Not Just The Three of Us.

Yet again last week we had some new linkers join our community which was wonderful and were encouraged to see those who have been with us from the start are continuing to come back for more.  We are all really grateful for the continued support and hope you are all enjoying reading the posts as much as we are.

Our favourite link from last week was from Jeremy at Thirsty Daddy.  Jeremy is a regular linker with Tweens, Teens & Beyond and his post last week "Check Yes or No" touched on the issue of popularity for our teenagers today and particularly how their likeability is far more visible as a result of their social media profiles.  Popularity is all relative but there is no denying that the social media world our teenagers inhabit exposes them to more scrutiny than was true of our own generation.

Now on to the less exciting but nonetheless important part of the linky - the rules - PLEASE give them a read before you head off to link up and we look forward to reading your posts.

Linky Rules

Please could you:

  • Grab the Tweens,Teens & Beyond  badge and add it to the bottom of your post or your side bar - if you need help read this Linky Guide from Becky at Cuddle Fairy.
  • Link up one post, old or new (sponsored and review posts are welcome) that relate to children over the age of 10 years (Tweens, Teens or young adult children) and midlife.
  • Tweet us @motherofteensuk, @DrSharonParry1 and @NotJustThe3OfUs
  • Comment on the hosts' posts and AT LEAST one other of your choice using the linky hashtag #TweensTeensBeyond - it is only polite after all!
  • Share any posts that you love, we are all about sharing!

What we will do for you:

  • All three of us will comment on your post and share it on Twitter.
  • Your post will be pinned to the #TweensTeensBeyond Linky Pinterest Board
  • Each week, we will select our favourite post which will be featured on all of our sites and shared on Social Media
  • By entering the link you are agreeing to be added to the email reminder list.  (You can request to be removed at any time!)

 

Mother of Teenagers


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