Parenting Teenagers – What to do This Summer

Parenting teenagers is not easy, and we are coming into a part of the year that presents special challenges.  Summer vacation is right around the corner.

IMG_3864We have three kids, but I don’t expect we’ll have any problem scheduling the activities my five-year-old daughter will participate in this summer. On the other hand, my boys will be 14 and 15 this summer, and we are facing the challenge of giving them something constructive to do while at the same time avoiding a Nintendo, YouTube, Minecraft, Team Fortress electronics fest, or the kind of shiftless boredom that leads kids to get into trouble.

We are lucky enough to send our kids to a highly ranked public school system in Central New Jersey, and the extra curricular programs offered by our schools have been very good – until now. Now is exactly the time we could use a robust set of choices, since our boys are too young to work and too old to go to camp. It’s a real challenge.

We don’t have an answer (yet), but my wife sent the following email last night to the powers the be at out schools. I think she did a nice job.

“I have been emailing some of the academic supervisors to see what courses might be available for younger high schoolers over the summer.  I had noticed that the offerings drop off dramatically once students enter high school.  So far, the math and technology departments have gotten back with their answer: there isn’t much.  I’m waiting to hear back from the Language Arts supervisor, but I wonder if you’d accept some hopeful feedback: we need some offerings for kids who are in high school, particularly the younger high schoolers.

When kids are entering 9th and 10th grade, they don’t need SAT prep, and not every parent wants to make their kid jump ahead by doing a full year course over the summer.  These kids can’t drive, can’t work, and have aged out of the local township camp as well. If you could get instructors, I’m sure there would be parental interest in:

  • intro to programming, game design or robotics
  • foreign language mini camps
  • critical reading and analysis workshop
  • essay writing clinic (general, not college essay)
  • creative writing
  • debate
  • algebra reviews and preps
  • geometry

Please consider this age group when planning your courses for next year.”


Please feel free to leave any suggestions in the comments below.

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