Teens need to socialize with large groups of people to practice their social skills so he loves parties – but not those with alcohol or other drugs. Why? 90% of addicts start alcohol/drug use as teens.
Alcohol and other drug use CAN NOT BE DONE WELL OR SAFELY BY TEENS. The CDC reports that 92% of teen alcohol use involves binge drinking. His definition of binge drinking is drinking to intoxication in 2 hours or less.
47% of 14 year olds who drink will have substance abuse problems later in life. Most drink to intoxication. By contrast, of those who wait to drink when they are 18 years old (he’s not talking about experimenting once or twice), only 1 in 4 will have issues later in life. For those who wait until they are 21 years old only 1 in 11 will have issues.
Parents need to be concerned with the long term consequences of early use – the consequences may not be evident in the short term.
WHY KIDS ENGAGE IN SUBSTANCE USE.
[This statistic is consistent with surveys of Tam District students which show that 85% of the parents don’t think their teen is drinking while 46% have been doing so.]
The fact is if you aren’t looking, you don’t know what’s going on!
MYTH: One of the most popular myths is that TEENS CAN LEARN HOW TO DRINK RESPONSIBLY WITH ADULT SUPERVISION? One of the rationalizations parents have of allowing their teens to drink is the fear that WILL BLOW UP WHEN GO AWAY TO COLLEGE if they don’t party in high school.
Yet colleges uniformly report that they are inheriting the drinking problems not creating them.
MYTH: By allowing them to drink, parents WILL KEEP THEIR KIDS SAFE BY NOT DRINKING AND DRIVING.
A MADD study shows that 32% of teen deaths are in cars – but 68% die from other causes – 9% overdose, almost 30% commit suicide and almost 30% die from homicides.
A key question parents who allow drinking and host parties must ask themselves is whether they will be able to manage a situation such as a suicidal teen when 14% of teens who drink and die kill themselves or an overdose?
And will you trust another parent to manage situations like this?
The fact is that when stuff gets ugly, the parent present who threw the party in the first place is usually the last one who calls for help. A recent incident in Pasadena underscored this after a teen stopped breathing – when this happens you have 4 minutes until the brain stops functioning and a coma results.
Schools cannot manage this problem – its not their job! And police can’t do it by themselves. He cited the 2012 Marin Magazine article in which Marin CHP Sargeant Marcus Bartholomew discussed the resources involved in managing Marin teens as instructive.
As author and child rearing expert Michael Thompson states, its your teens job not to validate you or your parenting! They will not be thanking you. PARENTING A TEEN WELL SHOULD BE SIGNIFICANTLY UNCOMFORTABLE FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME! Your job is to BE A WALL and their job is to grind you into rubble! He urged parents NOT TO STOP PARENTING as your teens desperately want you to be proud of them – yet they don’t tell you this.
STYLES OF PARENTING:
“Absentee” parents aren’t doing their teens any service – BE HOME!
“Laissez Faire” parents who try to be friends with their teens make them feel unloved and unprotected and the teens of these parents are 3 times more likely to engage in substance abuse.
“Authoritarian”, rule-driven “Because I said So” “My Rules Under My Roof” parenting also doesn’t yield good results – why this style of parenting make make you feel like you are in charge it breeds rebellion and sends the message to the kids that they aren’t trusted to make any decisions on their own.
The better style of parenting is “Authoritative” and it blends the two styles in the middle – they are friendly and open like the laissez faire parents but firm without being rigid or mean. They give LOGICAL REASONS FOR RULES.
Its best to analyze the intent of a rule – e.g., with a MIDNIGHT CURFEW -- tell your teen to “Please come home at midnite”. “Why am I asking this of you?” “Because the data shows that most kids die after midnite and I love you”.
The data reveals that if your teen has a friend with an authoritative parent, your teen is 40% less likely to do alcohol and drugs! So it truly takes a village.
You owe it to your kids to understand their world. Have an active role in how kids socialize. Can’t fall back on “will do it anyway.” It’s HARD, CONFUSING AND EXHAUSTING. The alternative is not a good one. Must be VOCAL AND VOCIFEROUS THAT WILL NOT USE. Must exercise GUIDANCE and OVERSIGHT.
The most recent studies show there is PERMANENT DAMAGE FROM SMOKING WEED EVEN OCCASIONALLY. There is NO COGNITIVE BENEFIT. We are seeing daunting recent research on the effect of weed on the adolescent brain in terms of risk management and working memory.
Teens are bad at managing high pressure environments and we owe it to them to manage it for them. They are good at planning when they have time and help.
Teens can’t read facial expressions accurately because the signals in the adolescent brain go to the Amygdala and not their undeveloped pre-frontal lobes. They feel under attack – it’s the same system that governs road rage. We must work to redefine the moment when they react this way. For example, “Stop throwing your wet towels on the floor!”. Say I just wish you would not drop your wet towels on the floor – let’s work together”. No one likes being yelled at.
ON PEER PRESSURE
Often we use the wrong definition of peer pressure, i.e., friends are evil trolls who will try to make your kid do alcohol and other drugs. Parents need to understand what peer pressure really is – and that these are good kids in bad circumstances who are stuck in the wrong environment. Kids do not simply mimic all bad behavior and the peer pressure that exists is not other teens insisting on the substance use or other bad behavior or asking their friends do it – rather, peer pressure is more about teens fitting into their environment which teens want to do. The behavior pivots off the environment, which can be positive or negative.
Teens are by definition untrustworthy! Their decision making is chaotic. Its about accountability, safety and health.
Must PUT EYES ON THEM FROM TIME TO TIME when they socialize. It will feel like no one else is doing it and can feel very lonely.
LOVES REDWOOD’S BE THE INFLUENCE program. Its one of the most proactive and effective parenting tools he’s ever witnessed in a community he has spoken at.
Want teens to think that tonight might be the night that the parent is going to check in on them to see how handle freedom. Tell teen that you need them to show you that they have earned your trust.. So every once in a while, at random, need to do a spot check.
There is a CRITICAL LACK OF OVERSIGHT and THIS NEEDS TO BE CHANGED.
It takes a long time to change the culture. It was changed with DRINKING AND DRIVING. His era was “take one for the road” and in the 1980’s when MADD started its work, 29,000 died in drunk driving accidents. Today, 25 years later, that number has been reduced to 9,878 deaths.
IF YOU HOST A PARTY, he has tips in the book “Where’s the Party”. One of them is a
ONE ENTRY PER PARTY POLICY. If you leave you don’t return! Do not make your house a “fueling station” for alcohol, drugs and sex! Can give everyone wristbands and write on them. If they leave, they must relinquish their wristbands.
An adequate ratio of supervising parents to teens is 1 to 5. Adult chaperones should not drink and need to consider in advance how will deal with an intoxicated teen. Use “pain cues” – if do not respond, DO NOT RIDE OUT!
If your teen is attending a party, make a deal with your teen that will be meeting the supervising parent but can walk in separately! Then within 10 minutes they need to make eye contact with you. If shake your head yes, they can stay – if no, they need to leave (again, they don’t have to walk out the door with you.)
If allow them to stay, GIVE YOUR PHONE # TO THE HOST PARENT.
DON’T ALLOW SLEEPOVERS! They will only go out, not sleep over with a permissive parent
Newport Beach has a “LUGO” ordinance – “Loud and Unruly Gathering Ordinance” and parents are fined if repeat reports.
Drug Testing. He rarely advises drug testing unless utterly oppositional and are very afraid of their safety. Otherwise should be done when kid agrees to testing as an excuse or to help with temptation.