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Teen Relationships

Our lives are full of different, interesting, challenging and sometimes ‘frustrating' relationships.

We are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters.
We are close friends, acquaintances.
We are students.
We are writers, singers, dancers, musicians, athletics, debaters, activists.
We are employees.

Each of these relationships plays an important role in our lives. A role that helps shape who we are as a person and how we interact with others.

We all need loving and supportive parents and families, we need understanding and committed teachers and schools, we need positive and safe role models and peers, and we need to feel part of our neighbourhood and community. We need to feel like we belong and we are cared for.

EXPLORE YOUR LIFE, YOUR RELATIONSHIPS. Do a story for SNN on what's important to you as a person and the relationships in your life.

Here are some thoughts and ideas to get your started.

1. Family:
- The importance of family in your development as a person. Do you believe personality is shaped by your immediate family and extended family environment OR is it all genetics? Research books and psychology websites to investigate what the experts say. Do they agree or disagree on how personality is shaped.
- Personal stories on your family life: anything from vacations, challenges you've faced, about your parents.
- Siblings: your relationship with them.

2. Friendships:
- Describe your best friend: why is this person your closest friend, the person you confide in. What traits do they possess that you admire. How long have you been friends?
- Describe your ‘group of friends'. Those you hang out with all the time. Again, why these people? Is it that you have things in common.....live close together.....having been going to school together for a long time.
- Why are good friendship important to you? What do they bring to your every day life? Your development as a person.
- Peer Pressure. Everyone experiences it. It's part of being a young person. When does it begin....in elementary, junior high or high school or even earlier. What experiences have you had with being pressured? Either to skip school, steal a candy bar, drink. How do you handle such situations?

3. Students.
As a student (no matter what grade) you face many challenges. Getting along with teachers and other students, maintaining good grades, peer pressure.

- Describe your school environment. Is it a healthy, motivating educational environment? Do you have concerns about your school and education. Is harassment/bullying a problem? Does your school have a diverse cultural student population? If so, is racism an issue?

- Your views on the challenges students across Canada face in their daily lives as a student (workload, performance tests, school/jobs/extracurricular). Interview students from other schools (contact the SNN Coordinator for contacts). Compare your views (and those of others in your school) with those of other schools.

4. Interests/hobbies. Do you have a special interest or activity that means a great deal to you: writing, playing in a band/musical instrument, hockey, football, student council, debating, OR participating in a youth activity such as Shad Valley, Unicef, Katamivik, Allied Youth, Conservation Corp?

- Profile an interest/activity you are involved in: how do you feel about this activity? What aspects of the activity peaked your interest at the beginning? What "lessons" about one's self and about others can one learn through this activity? What skills, both physical & mental, can one acquire through learning the activity? How do the lessons & skills in this activity apply to other aspects of your life? Recall an experience with the activity that made you particularly proud of possessing these skills or of participating in this activity.

- Interview a classmate, friend or parent about an interest/activity they are involved in. Who introduced them to this activity? If they taught or are teaching themselves, who or what inspired them to learn this? What tools or instruments do they use in this activity, and how is each important? What "lessons" have they learned from this activity? What has their participation in this activity taught them about themselves?

- Profile an sport, music, drama group from your school or community making the news. Who are they? What have they been doing to make the news? Interview participants in the activity as well as school leaders (principal, teacher sponsor).

5. Employees. Most senior high students have part time jobs. Grocery stores, clothing stories, restaurants and fast-food outlets. Some do it to have extra cash, some are saving for school trips, vacations, and others towards their college/university education.

- If you have a job, describe your job. Do you enjoy working there? Why? If not, why not. How did you get the job? What is the atmosphere like at your place of work? Is it a pleasant, cooperative place to work or is it stressful?

- Should students have part time jobs? Is it too much to handle along with good grades, activities, friendships? Does it interfere with other activities to the point it frustrates you?

6. Role Models. Throughout our lives we develop an admiration for certain people. We admire them because of their accomplishments, their abilities, their character. These can be parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, politicians, athletics, actors, someone in the community.

- Profile someone that you admire. What does it mean to admire another person? What qualities do you find particularly admirable in that person? Give specific examples of things this person has done to earn your admiration. What obstacles did this person overcome in his/her life? What personality traits are attributed to the person and how might they have helped him/her to succeed in the face of adversity? What qualities does this person exemplify? If it is someone close to your home, interview them (use a video camera).

- There are many role models for young people. Some have positive effects; others negative. Many young people choose people in the entertainment business as role models, people they would like to be like. Many actors, singers have accomplished much through hard work and preservance, they contribute to their community. Others can present a bad example to impressionable teens.
Write a news, profile or opinion story about the entertainment business, from any angle. Profile an entertainer/actor that projects a strong, positive image and good role model. Discuss the issue of using those in the entertainment as role models. Discuss the issue of media images and how they affect teenagers - where do these images come from, why do they affect youth.


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