There’s a science to raising a well-adjusted teen

Teens are often described as being sullen, moody, and lazy. Sometimes rebellious, they dislike their parents and school; they always follow, never lead; can’t make decisions on their own, and often have no direction.     

But talk to enough teens and you find out they are complex. Each has different skills and talents and personalities. And some have already accomplished more than many adults have in their lifetime.

Enter, Julie Sage.

I heard of then-13-year-old Julie in the spring through a story in the Union Leader about her placing in the National Science Foundation’s comic contest. She talked about having a science show on YouTube, wanting to be an astrophysicist and how important is to have females work in STEM fields. I had to check twice to make sure that I read her age correctly.

I decided to ask Julie if she wanted to be interviewed for a story for ParentingNH’s annual teen and tween issue (see the story here). Julie and I emailed quite a bit back and forth. Her emails were polite and well-written. Her exuberance for science was evident in our correspondence.

After receiving a laundry list of accomplishments and activities she is involved in, I jokingly replied to her that I did not know when she slept. Julie told me she sleeps but she doesn’t watch television or movies. In fact, recently in her spare time she has been grinding a mirror to build a telescope — I had never felt guilty about my reality TV habit until that moment.  

She is passionate about science and she doesn’t care who knows it, or what anyone thinks of her. Not all of Julie’s classmates share her maturity level or understand her single-mindedness, and that can make it tough for her at times. But she remains undeterred in her quest to be the next Neil deGrasse Tyson. 

I started to wonder what magic formula Julie’s parents used to raise such a self-assured, driven young adult.

Julie decided at age 6 that studying space was in her future. Her parents say even at that age they took her seriously; they encouraged her and did what they could to feed her never-ending need for knowledge.

In a world where teens are often underestimated in what they can learn or achieve, and where not enough females are being encouraged to study and work in STEM fields, Julie is a reminder that we need to treat people as individuals and we shouldn’t make assumptions. Most importantly, caring and involved parents can make all the difference in a child’s success.   

More Letters from Editor Melanie Hitchcock

Show some love to your community

In addition to spending time with your sweetheart, why not show your community some love by volunteering or donating to an organization that’s making life better for children and families?

What's next?

When the whirlwind winds down to a dull roar, you realize what’s next is working to make the publication even better.

Lessons learned through a Christmas tree (or how I learned to embrace disorder and chaos)

For as long as I can remember I have compulsively applied order to everything, so I did not understand the hodgepodge of holiday decor and why everything couldn’t look like it went together.

What we need to teach our sons

If there is something good that comes out of recent events, it’s that men and women are talking more about sexual assault.

Put a different spin on Halloween

Just a quick flip though this month’s issue and you can tell that I think Halloween is a pretty big deal.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

E-Newsletter Signup

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular Articles

  1. CSAs in New Hampshire
    Love the idea of local produce and goods? Here's why you should join a CSA and here's a list of...
  2. Inexpensive things to do during February school vacation
    Fill winter's last school vacation week with free and budget-friendly fun
  3. Top 10 events happening in February
    Our favorite events happening in New Hampshire this February, including: Merrimack's Winter...
  4. Which local museums to explore this winter
    Escape the cold and get cultured at these kid-friendly New England museums
  5. Throw a Super Bowl party your neighbors will be talking about
    Whether the Patriots are in it or not, it is one of the biggest party days of the year
Edit ModuleShow Tags