December 2020

3 Holiday Traditions to Connect with Your Teen   By Bernardo Salcido Starting this year as a new principal at middle school has been a wild ride to say the least. I think a coworker of mine said it best though, “The days are long, and the weeks are short.” Christmas sneaks up fast every year and it is my favourite time of year. It’s a time to reflect, connect, and take care of what matters most — family. Despite all the craziness 2020 has brought, we still have an opportunity to love the ones around us. These three strategies are excellent ways to dive deeper into your relationship with your teen and enjoy some time together. Holiday lights and hot cocoa This has been a favourite tradition ever since my children were little, and it still continues to deliver smiles even now that my kids are teenagers. Make a cup of cocoa in a travel mug for each family member, drive to where you know some good light displays are located and crank the Christmas music. Bake and decorate some cookies Finding a simple sugar cookie recipe and giving it a try definitely will lead to time together and enjoyment. The act of completing a task like baking helps a teenager let down their guard and open up. Make sure to prepare some frosting in a Ziploc bag so everyone can have fun making Christmas trees and Snowflakes on the cookies. Decorate and chill Decking your place out with Christmas décor — both new and old will get everyone in the holiday spirit! Break out your decorations from years’ past and get the entire family involved. Once the decorating is finished, break out the holiday snacks and sweet treats and turn on a holiday classic like Charlie Brown or The Grinch. This will surely bring out the kid that still lives in all of us — teens and parents alike. Parent mentor, middle school principal, and author, Bernardo Salcido assists parents with strategies to connect with teenagers. Follow Bernardo’s parenting advice on these social platforms: YOUTUBE - Connecting_with_teens INSTAGRAM - @connecting_with_teens BUY BOOK - https://www.iuniverse.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/807601-connecteen

How to Talk to our Girls about Sex and Pleasure   By Amy MacLachlan “Pleasure is not synonymous with sex,” says Melissa Pintor Carnagey, author of Sex Positive Talks to Have with Kids. “Pleasure is with us our entire lives. It’s a birthright. And it’s through pleasure that we come to know ourselves and the world around us.” Carnagey is the founder of Sex Positive Families, an organization devoted to teaching parents and young people how to talk about sex. Having raised three children, including a daughter who is now 21, she is seeing the positive effects of openly and intentionally teaching her kids to be proud of their bodies, to trust their intuition and that sex is a good and pleasurable thing. “When we talk about pleasure, we’re actually talking about how girls can keep themselves safe,” says Carnagey, who is also a social worker, having spent 15 years in the area of HIV and sexual health. “Teaching children about consent from a very young age and talking about how pleasure is a force in all aspects of our lives, actually prepares them for when they do have sex.” There are all too many alarming stats and stories about things like girls and body image; pressures around giving oral sex and texting naked photos; and consent and safety issues. According to Carnagey, talking openly about pleasure teaches girls to get to know their bodies and to be comfortable with what they can do. It also empowers them to voice their needs and desires — something girls often aren’t allowed to acknowledge. On the flip side, it teaches girls about personal boundaries, and to know when things don’t feel good. “By erasing pleasure from sex ed, we’re failing to prepare our young people for safer, more satisfying experiences,” she says. Teaching girls about pleasure isn’t just about sex, then. It’s about laying the groundwork for healthy relationships, with others and with themselves. But where do we start? Isn’t it awkward? What should parents say? First, relax. Second, be encouraged that honest conversations about this sort of stuff are a great opportunity to connect and build a trusting relationship with your daughter. Third, keep reading. There are ideas and tips (and lots of reasons why!) to talk to your tweens and teens about pleasure and sex. Start with self-reflection Sara Dimerman is a psychologist working with children and teens and believes that when parents struggle with talking about sex, some self-reflection might be

12 Gifts for the Teen On Your List Ask any parent who is the most difficult person to buy for on their list and they’ll most likely say it’s their teenager. With trends and fads that can come and go as fast as a winter blizzard, it can be downright dizzying to choose the right gift. That’s why, this holiday season, we handpicked some holiday gifts that any teen would love to receive this Christmas. Turn Game Night Upside Down We’re all home now more than ever and it’s easy to just dissipate to separate rooms and stare at our devices. Parents looking for ways to connect with their teens can do so with a good board game! This Upside Down Challenge from Giant Tiger is hilarious!  You wear the goggles that make everything appear upside down and then you have to complete a series of challenges like filling the water bottle or write your name! It’s so much fun! You could even up the stakes and make a fun rivalry out of it. “Winner gets out of shoveling the next storm that hits!” https://www.gianttiger.com/507239/p/507239 Get Your Zen On We’re all stressed to the max these days — parents and teens included. While many would escape to the spa for some downtime, they might not feel comfortable right now doing so. So, why not grab your teen and have an at-home spa day?  This Life Brand Charcoal Set from Shoppers Drug Mart is great for detoxifying skin and leaving your complexion looking renewed and refreshed. The set includes a charcoal cleanser, facial cleansing wipes, four facial masks, and a bonus spa headband to match. And at $15, it’s a steal!! https://www1.shoppersdrugmart.ca/ Beautify Your Skin Care Routine This year, Quo Beauty upped its holiday game. Its limited-edition holiday collection is completely revamped — it’s 100% cruelty-free and has a playful, modern look. Besides makeup, they have a ton of accessories and tools too. Some of our favourite picks include the super-soft pink headband and Satin Cat Eye Mask with embroidered lashes. They are perfect for nighttime beauty routines! And how about this cute holiday penguin blending sponge? You can find all these beautiful gifts online at shoppersdrugmart.ca Give Back If there’s anything this pandemic has taught us, it’s to be grateful for what we have. Let your teen help you find a charity to give back to because it really teaches them about the joy of giving back and

6 Ways to Have Fun During the Holidays on a Budget By Olha Vovk It’s official. According to a survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, half of Canadians view 2020 as the worst year ever. It’s a small wonder since according to Statistics Canada, 12.4 per cent of local paid workers aged 15 to 64 were laid-off monthly since February. And, as we’re in the thick of the second wave of Covid-19, the situation does not seem to be getting any better. But there’s good news! You can still have a festive, fun holiday season with your teens, even if you’re on a budget. Educator and counselor, Sarah Fewson, recommends focusing on balance and positive well-being during the winter holidays. “Attempt to engage in outdoor activities, fit in exercise, and do not forget to spend a few minutes a day in mindful silence to remain connected to your thoughts and feelings.” Need more ideas to spread the Christmas cheer? Cultural and developmental service worker, Diana Prokofieva offers up these tips on how you can still enjoy the festivities of the holidays on the cheap. Bring in the New Year in the Backyard If you have an adventurous nature and are not afraid of the cold, welcome New Year’s Eve outdoors. Gather your family around a bonfire in your backyard, decorate your trees and spend time roasting marshmallows, sipping hot cocoa and singing Auld Lang Side at midnight. Start a family potluck challenge Parties may be out this year, so why not try a family potluck challenge instead? Each day a new family member can prepare a dish. Zoom your extended family members, exchange recipes with your friends and post your Insta-worthy pictures of your masterpieces on the Gram. Deck Your Halls Instead of buying a Christmas tree, incorporate home plants and decorate them with decor from a dollar store or Christmas ornaments you already have at home. Before you know it, the Santa hats, twinkle lights and Christmas stockings will fill your home with festive flair. Play The “Elephant” Game The “elephant game” is another way to save money on presents. Instead of buying gifts for the whole family, consider preparing one present per person, nicely wrapped. A host puts pieces of paper with numbers into a hat and gets every participant to pull a piece from the hat to determine their order of turn. Each player then chooses whether to open a new present from the bunch or steal the gift