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Teenagers are on a journey from childhood to the adult world. The journey may be smooth or difficult. As new horizons beckon, many experience excitement and hope, but these are often mixed with feelings of fear and trepidation. The prospect of new opportunities is overshadowed by apprehension about new responsibilities. There can be many types of obstacle on the journey.

The business of preparing for life in the adult world takes place on the journey and there are many who seek to offer support, chief among them being parents, carers, teachers, advisors. But the world of the contemporary teenager is not the same as they once experienced. Of course, some of the pressures are the same, even if they wear new disguises, but today’s world also brings new pressures, unimagined by previous generations.

It is the aim of this blog to help parents, teachers and all who seek to engage with teenagers a means to develop their understanding of the teenage world, the pressures teenagers face, and the world in which they live. It is not the aim to give easy answers to difficult questions, but to explore issues honestly, and to promote reflection and discussion amongst those who relate to teenagers. If, ultimately, this contributes to an improved quality of care, support and education for the teenagers of today, then this blog will have succeeded.

Events

Dr Steve Sims is an accomplished public speaker and would be pleased to hear from you if you would like to invite him to visit your organisation. Below are some suggested activities in which Steve would be pleased to participate.

Visiting schools to talk to students

Steve enjoys opportunities to interact with teenagers, whether in small groups or large assemblies. If you have read his blog on a particular teenage topic, or if you have a current topic you would like your students to hear Steve address, he would be pleased to discuss with you a programme designed especially for your students.

Workshops for groups of parents

Steve can vary his approach according to the needs of the situation. He will lecture on agreed topics, lead workshop activities, facilitate discussion amongst parental groups, be available to talk with individual parents – whichever combination best suits your group of parents.

Professional development days for teaching staff

Whether it be a day under a general theme like “Working with Teenagers” or sessions on particular topics that are current in your school community, Steve will lead professional development training activities for teachers from your school or group of schools.

Speaking at events

If you are planning a special occasion that requires a speaker, why not invite Steve? Whether the event is formal or informal in nature, Steve would be pleased to hear from you about your requirements for the occasion and the contribution he might be able to make to the proceedings.

Contact

If you would like to contact Dr Sims regarding any of the events described above, or any other type of site visit or occasion, he will be pleased to hear from you through the contact page of this site.

About

Dr Steve Sims

For the past 40 years or so, and in a variety of roles, I have engaged with teenagers. As the principal of an international school, parent, teacher, minister and youth worker, I have witnessed, walked alongside, encouraged, instructed, supported and advised young people during their journey from childhood to the adult world. I have also had many conversations with the significant adults in the lives of those teenagers.

I have frequently been impressed at the capacity of the teenagers I have known to affect those around them positively and to change the world for good. I have been astonished by the lengths to which some teenagers have been prepared to go to bring about the changes they desired to see to the world around them. I have been amazed by the commitment they have demonstrated to their friends and families, and to the causes in which they believed.

I have also seen the battles in which some teenagers engage with those close to them, and the heartache they cause (often unwittingly) for those who care genuinely about them. I have seen the effects of peer pressure, cyber-bullying, alcohol and drug-taking on teenagers and their families. I have seen teenagers suffer pain and loss, experience anguish, heartbreak and self-doubt.

Alongside the enormous pride of many, I have seen the agony of parents who do not understand their teenage sons and daughters and some of the hurtful things they say and do. I have seen the frustration of parents who genuinely care and who want to help find the best solution to difficulties, but who do not seem to know how even to begin to go about it. I have seen the heartache of parents who are aware of damaged relationships with their own children, but who feel powerless to begin to address and rebuild those relationships.

I have worked with many teachers, the vast majority of whom have given far in excess of any reasonable expectation to help their students find success. But I have also seen disillusionment when teachers feel unsupported, incredulity in the face of unreasonable parental behaviour and expectations, and disabling powerlessness when confronted with the occasional student who seems intent on defying any and every attempt to help.

Many of the problems I have witnessed came about due to a lack of understanding on the part of the teenagers, the parents or the teachers concerning the real nature of the roles of the other groups. Frequently compounded by poor communication, such misunderstandings can lead to ridiculous expectations, impossible demands and, ultimately, unhappy teenagers, unhappy parents, and unhappy teachers!

My experience has made me cautious of offering neatly packaged answers to those caught up in difficult situations, not least because I believe they can often mislead and damage. What I have frequently seen to be of help, however, is the critical friend: one who can ask questions to provoke reflection and who can act as a sounding board for good ways forward. Through this blog, that is what I shall try to be and do. I invite you to be an active reader, to share your reflections, so that I and others might  benefit and grow with you in our understanding of teenagers on their journey to adulthood.

 

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Contact

If you would like to contact Steve, please use the Contact Form below.