Raising a teenager is not easy. The days of diapers and late night bedtime stories have been replaced with text messaging and ipods. As a parent it can be difficult to recognize the young person in front of you. This same child who used to to hold your hand as they crossed the street is suddenly embarrassed to have you within a two mile radius of their school!
However, what can seem like an uphill battle--checking on homework, setting curfew, monitoring your teen's whereabouts--is a crucial battle worth fighting. The expectations you set, the limitations you enforce, and the guidance you offer affect your teen's future. Keep the conversation going with your teen. It's proven that teens are 50% less likely to use alcohol and other drugs when their parents have sent clear messages about not using to their teens. Your opinion, your respect, and your approval matter to your teen. Even if it seems like your teen is not listening...they are.
Parent's keep talking, your teens are listening.
Your teen's grades: A teen who is engaged in school, is most likely not engaged with drugs. As drugs and alcohol effect the reasoning and learning of teenagers, those using have a significantly higher rate of suspension, skipping school, and dropping out. For more on how alcohol and other drugs effect the academic lives of teens, please click here.
Their future: Research shows that a teen who receives clear messages of not using alcohol and other drugs from their parents is less likely to use them. A teen with positive, pro-social experiences (i.e. engages in after school programs, plays a team sport, has friends who choose to not use alcohol and other drugs) statistically have more successful futures. Science has recently proven that the brain is still developing until the early twenties. Alcohol and other drugs changes the brain of young people and will have a costly effect on how they learn, how they retain information, and their capacity for reasoning for the rest of their lives. Click here to learn more about how alcohol and other drugs effects the brain of teens.
Your relationship with your teen: Improved communication with your teen, including praising the positive aspects of your teen and setting clear rules for the negative, and high expectations improves the parent-teen relationship. One important listening skill to use when communicating with your teenager is using Door Openers, as opposed to Door Slammers. Door Openers are open-ended responses that do not convey evaluation or judgment. Door Slammers are just the opposite. They send the message to your teen that you do not want to talk with them.
Remember, effective communication means keeping the door open!
Source: Parent Effectiveness Training
The Holyoke Youth Task Force is committed to the well-being and success of Holyoke youth. Part of this commitment is to provide support and resources to parents looking to keep their teens away from alcohol and other drugs. Aside from helpful websites designed specifically for parents, visitors may also fill out the contact form to receive more information or materials. Local resources that may be helpful to parents are also listed.
Brought to you by the Holyoke Youth Task Force, funded by a SAMSHA Drug Free Communities grant and
the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.