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'Today's Teen Magazine' For Today's Teen Parents



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‘Today’s Teen Magazine’ For Today’s Teen Parents

By Nancy K. Crevier

Two area women have joined forces to fill what they see as a gaping void: how parents obtain current and relevant information about their preteen and teenage children.

On March 15, Linda Watson of Sandy Hook and Karen Cipolla of Woodbury will launch Today’s Teen Magazine, a free publication geared toward parents, grandparents, and caregivers of young people ages 11 and up that they say will gather together the diverse information about raising teens into one “grab and go” format.

“There’s a lot of information out there,” said Ms Watson, “but it is very scattered. We see that there is a lack of effective resources for parents of teens and this is at a time when parents need that information the most.”

Ms Watson, a former accountant who now runs a nutraceutical business from her home and is the parent of an 11-year-old and a 15-year-old, and Ms Cipolla, a life coach and former chiropractor, as well as the mother of three young children, ages 7, 6, and 3, met through an online networking group, meetup.com, that also meets once a month a My Place Restaurant on Queen Street.

“The energy between us worked, and we knew we wanted to do something together. We decided in November that a magazine for parents of teens was needed, and would be a good way to get information out there,” said Ms Cipolla. It is a risky venture, they realize, in a day and age when print publications are falling by the wayside, but both women believe that the niche they have created and the format that they have chosen will be well-received and appreciated by the target audience. “There is plenty of information online, but we were hearing that many parents are too busy as their kids get into the teen years — either going back to work, or chauffeuring the teens around — to spend time in front of the computer looking for answers to their questions,” Ms Cipolla said.

“You could spend a whole day looking online for answers,” added Ms Watson. “Online is still a critical source of information, we realize, but there should be something parents can just leaf through when they have a few minutes,” she said.

“When kids are small, there is so much support. There are mother’s groups, pediatricians available, lots of magazines about young children, and parents tend to be very involved in the lives of little kids,” said Ms Watson. But once children get into their teens, they start to pull away, even though they still need parenting, she pointed out.

As parents and as members of the networking group, what they heard other parents wondering about were things like “Should I go back to work now that my child is older? How much should I be around? How do I get my teen to talk to me? Who do I see if I’m worried about my teen’s health? What is ‘normal’ moodiness?”

Today’s Teen Magazine hopes parents will find the answers to these questions and more between the covers of the 30-page monthly magazine. The magazine, said Ms Watson and Ms Cipolla, will use local contributors with expertise in a variety of subjects that affect teens and parents of teens; provide teen perspectives on current issues; and address relevant issues such as parent-teenager communication, health issues, social issues, and questions about post-high school choices. The magazine will also feature regular columns by fitness expert Anthony Scire of Norwalk, Joe Grushkin, a small business owner and entrepreneurial coach, and a food column by new cookbook author Jimmy Fosella of New Milford. Freelance writer Clarissa Gonzalez will also be a regular contributor, said Ms Watson.

The premier issue will tackle the effect of the slumping economy, with a first-person story written by a mother of two boys who is losing the family home. How one family handles the big and little questions and communicates with each other as they navigate the transition is a scenario others will relate to, said Ms Cipolla.

“We will also present a ‘parent challenge’ each month,” Ms Watson said. The first issue challenges parents to “Do something with your teen.” The publishers are looking for parents and teens who accept the challenge to respond with how they spent that time together and thoughts on if the outing was time well spent, or how it could have been improved upon.

Practical answers to common questions will be addressed each month in Today’s Teen Magazine. “We are going to tell parents how to get on to Facebook, for instance,” said Ms Watson, “because so many parents have no idea. And monitoring a teen’s social networks is a real concern for parents.”

The articles will all take a positive tone, said Ms Cipolla, showing readers the positive approach to parenting, even in difficult times. “Our goal is to help as many people as we can with this,” she said. “Parents are searching for information and we are going to be that resource.”

The magazine will continue to evolve, they said, and they look forward to the response to the first issue. “What people tell us they like about it or want to hear will give us direction for future issues,” said Ms Cipolla.

“It’s time-consuming to put out a magazine, but it’s a team effort with Karen doing the layout and dealing with the publisher, her husband Paul managing our three ad representatives, and me handling the content,” Ms Watson said.

 “People thought we were crazy to try to go from concept to a finished product in five months, but when you put your mind to it, you can do anything,” said Ms Cipolla.

The first issues of the magazine will be distributed in Fairfield, Tolland, and Litchfield Counties the middle of each month to stores, coffee shops, doctors’ waiting rooms, libraries, and anywhere else parents of teenagers gather. Ms Watson and Ms Cipolla plan to expand their advertising region to include eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island, as well, within the next few months. The distribution sites will also be available online at todaysteenmagazine.com.

“It’s very exciting, and we’ve got a lot of good energy,” said Ms Cipolla. “We’re hoping that it is something that is going to have parents excited and looking forward to each new issue.”

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