I have spent many years working with and befriending teenagers. It’s normally fun to receive calls and texts from those kids. I love getting updates on their lives and seeing pictures of them on Facebook as they go to college, graduate, get married, and start having kids. Then there are those other phone calls. The ones I get at least once or twice a year. Several months ago I got one of those calls. A girl I’ve known for years called me crying to tell me her younger brother in high school overdosed the day before.
Drugs, underage drinking, sex, all of these are dangerous for teenagers because the part of the brain that enables them to think through consequences hasn’t developed. So they go with what feels good despite the risks. We have to create boundaries for them. These 12 ways sound simple, but they’re effective, so do your best to do the entire dozen to keep your kids away from drugs, drinking and sex.
- Monitor what your children watch on TV.
- Monitor what they do on the Internet.
- Put restrictions on the music they buy and listen to.
- Know where your kids are after school and on weekends. Know their friends and their friends’ parents.
- Expect to be told the truth by your kids about where they really are going.
- Be “very aware” of your child’s academic performance.
- Impose a curfew.
- Make it clear to your child that you will not tolerate the use of alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, drugs and having sex.
- Eat dinner with your children several times per week.
- Turn off the TV during dinner.
- Assign regular chores.
- Have an adult present when your child returns from school or from being out with friends.
Drugs, underage drinking, sex, all of these are dangerous for teenagers because the part of the brain that enables them to think through consequences hasn’t developed.
Tell us! What conversations have you had with your children about drugs, drinking, and sex?
Based on research and findings of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.