Articles from the Archives

Teens Behind The Wheel

 – By Chris Wagner ©2005, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding A driver’s license—for teenagers it’s a ticket to freedom, a big step on their way to adulthood, and a first taste of independence. Teens with a driver’s license and a set of car keys—for the first time in their lives—can venture out on their own,...
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High-energy Kids

 – By Doug West ©2005, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding Energy drink “buzz” In the past decade several highly caffeinated and sugared beverages, with brand names like “Jolt” and “Surge,” were popular among youths. Over the past several years there has been  the rise of so-called energy drinks, which are legal for underage drinkers and fashionable...
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Millennial Moral Mess

 – by Walt Mueller ©1999, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding I didn’t know her. I didn’t know her parents. I had never seen any of them before. But for THE few minutes  our paths crossed in the small foyer of a local indoor soccer facility, I witnessed a lesson passed from one generation to the...
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Hey me!

 – By Walt Mueller ©2007, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding A friend who’s a 21-year law enforcement veteran told me a story that really rattled him. He was called to confiscate a straight razor, some cocaine and a note threatening violence from a 12-year-old girl at a local school. “That would all be bad enough,”...
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Identity, World and Word

By Walt Mueller ©2009, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding   I use the fact that I’m a “youth culture watcher” as an excuse to regularly play a little game that might sound a bit strange—at first. I call it “assuming identity.” Here’s how it works: First, I pretend I’m someone I’m not. The identity of...
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My Week In Professional Wrestling

 – by Walt Mueller ©2003, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding   It was our inability to keep from crossing the thin line between fiction and reality that forced our mother to declare a halt to the playful sibling scuffles we initiated on the living room carpet and front lawn. We were three young brothers who had...
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Shame, Shame, Shame

– by Walt Mueller ©2001, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding The first thing I did on my first night in youth ministry with the first youth group I ever worked with was to teach them to lie. Don’t misunderstand me – my intent was not to encourage them to engage in deceptive behavior. Instead, it...
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“I Love You 12”

 – by Walt Mueller ©2001, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding I never thought this day would arrive. Back in December of 1983, the fall of 2001 was light years away. But in hindsight, it went as quickly as an overnight. It’s as if I fell asleep holding my newborn first child in my arms, and then...
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Teens and Fantasy Sports

 – by Chris Wagner ©2005, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding   Sports fans are everywhere. Pro sports have become a staple of the American pop culture. Now that TV broadcasts games across the globe nearly 24 hours a day, fans are able to follow their favorite teams and players more closely than ever before. It’s...
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I Love You Just The Way You Are

– By Walt Mueller ©2003, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding   I experienced pains of “anticipatory agony” the night before my seventh grade gym class assembled on the cinder quarter-mile track for the annual mile run for time. I remember praying two prayers as I lay fitfully awake on that eve of aerobic despair: “God, please...
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Brokenness … Deep and Wide

 – By Walt Mueller ©2006, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding   When my daughter, Caitlin, was in first grade, I took her to see the elementary school I attended when I was her age. Closed for years, my peek through the windows yielded a trip back in time to 1962. I was amazed that it...
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Be-“tween”!

 – By Doug West ©2003, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding Marketers created adolescence as a bridge between childhood and adulthood. Now a new market segment has been created between children and teens. These post-child, pre-teen youth are being affectionately labeled as “tweens.” There are an estimated 27 million tweens, generally defined as 8-14 year olds. Those who...
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Life at the Party

 – By Walt Mueller ©2006, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding It’s been 20 years since The Beastie Boys burst onto the music scene to boldly trumpet their message to youth worldwide that “you’ve got to fight for your right to party.” Judging from what’s happening in today’s adolescent world, a generation of teenagers who weren’t...
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Making the Young Old Before their Time

 – by Paul Robertson ©2001, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding Being a school guidance counselor can be quite an adventure these days. In the span of a few weeks, a guidance counselor friend of mine dealt with the following issues – one girl drunk in the washroom; three boys suspended for setting a fire in...
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The Age of Sideline Rage

 – by Walt Mueller©2001, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding I’ll call them Mr. and Mrs. Sideline Parent. I was standing near them while watching a youth soccer game. Mr. Sideline Parent was making it hard for me to focus on the game. I wasn’t the only one he was bothering. His constant yelling at the players and...
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Hazing: Not Just For College Anymore

 – By Chris Wagner©2009, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding Hazing isn’t a new trend, but rather one that needs to be addressed on a regular basis. A 2008 report titled “Hazing in View: College Students at Risk” describes the initial findings from the National Study of Student Hazing. It reports that 47 percent of students...
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Why Students Abandon Their Faith: Lessons From William Wilberforce

 – By Derek Melleby©2008, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding College transition is a hot topic in youth ministry circles. More and more parents and churches are recognizing that students are not prepared for the challenges that college brings. Anecdotal evidence is easy to find. We all know students who have grown up in the church and...
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See The Signs

 – by Walt Mueller©2005, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding Even though it’s been two years since I saw it happen, its impact on me is still strong. I was sitting in the stands at a Good Charlotte concert with a raucous crowd of young fans. At one point in the concert, the band stood on stage...
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Feelings – Someone More Than Feelings

 – By Walt Mueller©2008, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding Last summer, I taught my buddy, Ian, how to water ski. Just like I’ve done with dozens of rookie skiers before him, I ran through a rote litany of instructions designed to prepare Ian for his first-time experience. After telling Ian how to position himself in...
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Keeping It All In Perspective

– by Walt Mueller ©2004, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding *This article originally appeared in Living With Teenagers magazine Yesterday, I watched my 17 year old daughter play her heart out in the last game of her high school field hockey career. When the final whistle sounded and she walked off the field after a 1-0...
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