I got this information from Bianca Ross who is Program Coordinator for a Drug Free Hendry County. I thought it was important for parents to read. Please read this prayerfully.
Are you looking for a meaningful resolution this year? If you are at a loss for a resolution or a life-changing habit you’d like to start, consider setting a goal to talk to your teens more in 2011. Why? Because research shows that kids who learn from their parents about the dangers of underage drinking, illicit drugs, tobacco use, dangerous driving and other risk behaviors are less likely to engage in them.
We all have seen what risks are presented to our teens nowadays, and they are all very real. Did you know that rural and suburban teens are more likely than urban youth to have problems with alcohol or illicit drugs? Did you know that 40% of Hendry County students report that they’ve ridden one or more times in the last month with a family member who had been drinking? Hendry County High School-Aged Teen’s 30-day use rate for marijuana is 22%; the state average is 18%. In Hendry County the average age a child has their first drink, smokes their first cigarette, or smokes marijuana for the first time is 12 years old.
What teens say and think
Although teens can be rebellious, and it seems like they want nothing to do with you, the truth is they believe you and they trust you. Surveys show that teens want and expect their parents to play a key role in their lives, but they like to act as if they are alone and can deal with those problems themselves. In fact, Hendry County Teens rank their parents as the #1 source of believable information! Perhaps you wouldn’t think so by the way they behave sometimes, but be encouraged. It’s even biological. The areas of the brain that encourage impulsivity and risk-taking develop in the early teens, while the areas that improve self-control don't develop until the very late teens or early 20s. Parents must stay actively involved to help their children remain alcohol-free. They are more prone to take risk, but they really don’t have the capacity to make those decisions.
Even if your children aren’t quite in middle school, it’s not too early to start the conversation. Get involved – bond with your child, learn about their lives have special time with each of them. Make boundaries - be clear about your expectations. Don’t be afraid to monitor your teens – know their friends, know where they are, know what they are doing (even of you trust them).
Yes, staying involved isn't easy at first and some have to be very intentional about the whole process. Parents are busier than ever before, with work, managing a home, keeping in touch with family and friends, and helping in the community. Yet making the extra effort to stay closely involved with your teen by bonding, setting boundaries and monitoring activities will make a powerful difference in keeping your child drug and alcohol free. It is worth the extra effort to have your child grow up addiction-free, with a healthy, fully functioning brain. Putting in a little extra effort now will save a lot of time, grief, and effort later. Make this your resolution.