It’s that time of the year again… PTA Coffee Talk on Tips for Parenting Teens. I have been invited to cover ‘the school perspective’ and our drug testing philosophy and policy. I consistently return to the same conclusion regarding where many problems develop from – clear, open communication. Find a problem and you’ll likely find, at its root, a breakdown in honest communication.
If the problem is so easily recognized, why is it such a problem? Are we really a species of atrocious communicators? I blame it on ego and emotions – a truly volatile mix for hormone charged teens! So! How do we parent our teens through these turbulent, stormy times? Here’s some tips I plan to share with out PTA:
- Teach responsible decision-making to our teens.
- There’s always a choice.
- When it comes to partying, ask questions centered around these three words: Who, Where, and Expectations; ultimately leading to one of these three choices – stay sober; get drunk; do drugs.
e.g. Who is going to be there? Who is ‘responsible’? Who knows about the party and who doesn’t?; Where will the party be (in a house or hotel with ‘private’ rooms; in a club)? Where will the ‘responsible’ people be?; Are there expectations that the party will be short or long? What are the expectations re: drugs and alcohol?
- Stay informed – first and foremost with your teen; other parents; the ‘net’; and, the school (teachers, counselors and principals all add to the picture)
Here’s some resources I’ve found useful:
- About.com has a “Teen Advice” section that includes a home page with many useful links (http://teenadvice.about.com/) and some specific pages on partying (“Party On (Responsibly)” at http://teenadvice.about.com/library/weekly/aa122600a.htm) – this is a pretty comprehensive site… unfortunately it has several out of date links.
- The “Troubled Teens Help” web pages are full of advice for parents, at http://www.troubledteensinfo.com/
- “Parenting Help Me” is a blog maintained by several parents with diverse backgrounds – it’s very open and wide-ranging, at http://www.parentinghelpme.com/
- The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, sponsored by the US Government, maintains an informative, ‘heavy’, American biased website at http://www.theantidrug.com/ called “Parents, the Anti-Drug”.
Resources from a previous post can be found here.