A quinceañera party isn't a reward, it's a gift. There's a distinct difference between the two. Rewards are earned and are dependent upon our actions whereas gifts are given freely regardless of our actions.

And that is what a quinceañera is.

It is a gift that you give to your daughter. As I was growing up, a family that lived in our neighborhood had a daughter my age. We were both children of Mexican parents, and so it was clear that the quinceañera was going to be a part of our teen lives.

Honestly, I don't remember much leading up to mine.

My parents weren't over pushy about it. We talked about it several times, but that was about it. And then we started planning it.

I had never helped plan my birthday before so it was a mixture of intrest and disinterest. Mostly the later.

My friend on the other hand saw her quinceañera a day as royalty with those around her as chess pieces. This was until her parents decided to use it as a lever to push her in the right direction. Her grades had started to slip in that school year and so she constandly swung between cloud nine and being down.

Honestly I was a kid that did poorly in school. Not because I wasn't smart enough but because I just didn't care that much. My grades were fine by me. My parents asked me to try harder, they didn't punishment for bad grades though, becuase they knew that it wasn't going to get them anywhere.

I will be honest in my last year and a half I turned it all back around.

My children who do well in school though like all do have bad grades on occasion.

Instead of punishing them I find ways to encourage them to do better. And that almost always works. I know just because this works for me doesn't mean it will work for you.

And I saw first hand how it could be impropperly used.

I ended up tutoring my friend and helped her pull her grades up so that she could have the party that she wanted. But it has been my opinion ever since then that a child's birthday should be celebrated by you and your child, it should be special. It is the one day a year that is about no one but them.

With the birthday celebration, you are celebrating the child as a person—who is growing up, and has learned/done a lot in the past year, and will learn/do so much more in the coming year.

The birthday allows you to show the child how proud you are that the child is your child, and make her feel special. Now, in my case the grades reflected choices that I made as a child, and I will be honest, in my case I did not put enough effort into learning the material or time spent on assignments.

But it can just as easily be external factors like problems with friends that are influencing the child's grades. Either way, this doesn't change who your child is as a person

Don't associate the party with grades, or else, you'll condition the two together, and might form some kind of dependency on tangible rewards to get good grades which can be a terrible thing. In the case of my friend she didn't keep it up after she got what she wanted. She ended up repeating a year and her parents were devistated. They weren't bad people, just unskilled parents that tried to use what they had learned in their childhood and it didn't work.

When she graduated high school she moved out of state and I didn't have much contact with her there after.

Quinceañera are to celebrate the child's birth and shouldn't be used as an opportunity to reward or punish. There is something to be said for unconditional love and that is what a birthday celebration should be not something the child has to earn. If the child is getting bad grades, it is as much the parent's failure to instill a good work ethic and a sense of routine as it is the child's laziness or lack of effort. It is a complicated issue.

Spoiling what should be a happy occasion will not help solve the problem.

It may make them worse.


Teens end up with some terrible jobs. But there are some jobs out there for teens that aren't that bad. Lets face it the ammount of jobs that are open to teens are limited, and the good ones can be hard to come by.

One good one? The movie theater.

I spent about a year working at a movie theater. Short bursts of insane business, followed by plenty of down time to screw around.

It can be hard work at times and the hours can get kind of wild (working to late is not uncommon), but you generally get all the free soda and popcorn you want.

Theater staff tends to skew young, so you could be with people your own age, which is great. And because there is a lot of staff turnover with businesses that depend on teens, if you stick it out, you can make supervisor or management in a reasonable amount of time.

Some theaters have free ticket exchange programs, where you can take friends to see movies for free at your theater, or even other theaters sometimes. You'd have to check with the management, but you would expect at least one free pass for yourself for just about anything.

It was honestly some of the most fun I've had at a job.

Obviously theaters will vary, but I thought we had it pretty good. We were paid above minimum wage, were allowed to see movies for free, earned guest passes to take our friends to movies, free popcorn, pop, and frozen drinks, heavily discounted other concessions, and had flexible hours.

Also - if you like free promotional stuff, be prepared for a ton of it.


Is eating healthy a form of activism? It is for some. The British BPS posted an article about one such teen.

A quote from the original source:

Adolescents are sometimes characterized as concerned only with short-term selfish aims, but recent developmental science high- lights that this is a period of increased concern for social justice and beyond-the-self aims (15, 16). This phenomenon is instantiated by attraction to social movements such as vegetarianism or antiglobalization activism (17) and is tied to neural and endocrine system developments that heighten attention to unfairness (18) and create a greater concern for finding meaning in life (19). This attention to social justice often manifests as reactance against authorities (e.g., parents and teachers); adolescents are often highly motivated to avoid being seen as aligned with the interests of unjust adult authorities. But it can also manifest as a more general condemnation of societal unfairness and motivate prosocial action to address that unfairness (16). The opportunity to have a meaningful impact on the world beyond the self can create a powerful feeling of eudaimonic reward in the immediate term (15 – 17, 19).

Some thoughts on the research and the title of the article.

Looking at the study, 75% of subjects in the treatment group chose a sugary drink (control: 82%) the day after the intervention. So only a very small minority made a different choice (7%), compared to control. This pretty much invalidates the title: "Teens reject junk food when healthy eating is framed as rebellion".

Also, since the study only tested choices 1 day post-treatment, we don't know anything about long-term effects. What are their choices 1 week after the intervention? 1 month? 1 year? Do they need to be reminded in frequent intervals for the treatment to work?

What about contexts outside of school?

The title is consistent with the results of the paper. It's better to look at the statistical significance, rather than raw percentage, which actually isn't all that useful as a metric of significant difference. From the paper:

Adolescents chose fewer junk food options in the exposé condition than in the control: MControl = 2.30, SD = 0.79; MExposé = 2.13, SD = 0.85; ordered logistic regression, χ2(1) = 5.34, P = 0.020, d = 0.22

It was a significant difference. Meaning the experimental group was significantly less likely to choose junk food options compared to the control group. You can argue about the effect size if you want, but you can't simply say the title has been invalidated, full stop.

I actually kind of feel like eating healthy is much more 'chic' and fashionable than it was maybe 10 years or so ago.

So instead of rebelling like teens would, young adults make themselves appear more sophisticated by their well-informed food choices. Just look at how much people love avocados now. Or how many healthy meals are posted to Instagram. I think because eating well makes you look attractive (thin, healthy skin, etc) its the natural leap to think that healthy food is sexy food.

So it manifests differently in adults, but still follows the same sort of path, I think.


So I was discussing the topic of beer batter (onion rings) with my sister who thought that it was still "beer."

In the US children and teenagers are allowed to eat food prepared using alcoholic beverages. This means beer-battered fried stuff, sausages boiled in beer, sauces that are deglazed with wine or cognac, BBQ sauce that uses beer or whiskey, etc.

Beer breading, for example, basically mean just dipping or rubbing the meat with beer used to get flour or bread crumbs to stick to the meat.

Batter is a mix of liquid and flour (and other herbs/spices) that makes a thick paste that you coat your meat or fish in before frying.

Technically, there is still often some alcohol in the resulting food, but our culture doesn't seem to find it problematic.

It's not like a drop of alchohol will strike dead a 17-year-old, it's that we've generally decided children shouldn't partake alcohol. In small quantities, it's fine. In many European countries, children grow up drinking small amounts of watered down wine. In the US, we take a harder line when it comes to beverages, but are more moderate about food containing alcohol.

I have heard that as long as non-alcoholic beer is below a certain percentage of alcohol, it can be sold to minors legally, I am not sure on that, but I do know that even non-alcholic beer has a minor amount in it. Anything above that percentage is not considered non-alcoholic.

A lot of the alcohol in the beer is burned away, like wine steak sauce, while it is being cooked the alcoholic flavor still remains but not much of the actual substance.


You might be a little at unease, you might feel nervous. I understand how you feel. When I was younger I didn't like being the center of attention. Sometimes I would sweat a lot. Other times I would blush.

But through my experience, the most important things to remember in a situation like this are these two points:

  • Emotional Reasoning - You are significantly overestimating how your anxiety is presenting. Although you may feel like a nervous wreck on the inside, others hardly notice that you anxious on the outside.
  • Mind Reading - Despite what you probably believe, even if people do notice the anxiety, most will not judge you for it. In fact people tend to be very understanding, and some even find shyness endearing and human. If you need proof look up a study called Flustered and Faithful to understand this point better.

Consider yourself blessed that you are recognising potential SA early, which will enable you to overcome it before it becomes more pressing.

I know when I was young that I really hated that because I would then I would feel even more embarrassed.

For some of us it is just something we need to over come.

  1. I want you to know that it's okay to feel this way.
  2. It's okay to feel nervous about a large party and not being sure how to act.
  3. It's okay to mess something up.

Being nervous, affraid of looking silly, or anxious isn't the same thing as messing things up, regardless of how we may feel inside. In my experience nobody is going to be judging you too harshly. How you feel is how you feel, and it's okay no matter what it is.


To be honest I've been a bit out of touch with any new alternative music - I haven't really been able to find anything of late that catches my attention. Hopefully this is a sign of something exciting to come because the alternative rock scene's been a bit stagnant for a while in my opinion - even better if we can get a bit more female-fronted music shaking things up!

I quite like what I've heard of Marmozets, they remind me a bit of Queen Adreena, the lead singer even looks a bit like Katy-Jane Garside.

Hadn't heard Anna Calvi before - liking it though, got a bit of a PJ Harvey vibe going on.

I don't dislike the sound of Minor Threat, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, etc (in fact there's a few songs I quite like) but I find by and large their style seems to get repetitive over time. I didn't find the same to hold true with DKs - lyrically or instrumentally.

TSOL's another one that I enjoy quite a bit.