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Posts Tagged ‘teens and negative influences’

Parents Who Party

Last week my family and friends celebrated a significant birthday in my husband’s life. He would kill me if I told you which one, so let’s just say it was one of those “big” ones and leave it at that. Months of planning went into this special weekend of fun along with excellent wine and delicious food. We were parents who partied but we did it responsibly. No one under the age of 21 was served alcohol and cabs were used so that no one drove home while under the influence of alcohol.

Unfortunately, not every parent who parties is responsible because they are doing it for all the wrong reasons. All across our country parents are taking up car keys and serving alcohol to teenagers as they rationalize their way to achieving a reputation of being the most popular parent in school. Let me share four good reasons why this is not a good idea:

  1. It is illegal
  2. You are not being a positive role model
  3. You could be potentially serving a teen who is genetically pre-disposed to alcoholism.
  4. If anything happens, you are personally liable.

The parent who drinks with their teenager’s friends is sending a clear message to the adolescent that he possesses the good judgement to hold his liquor. Teens struggle with good choices when they are sober, much less when they are under the influence of alcohol. Why would we want to stack the cards any higher against them?

Parents, it is time to come clean and step up. Be responsible in your homes, at your ranches, your lake houses and on those spring break trips. Think this complicated issue of teenage substance abuse through and keep it simple by saying, “NO” to teenage drinking. Taking up the car keys doesn’t make this acceptable.

What’s more important to you? Being a popular parent or being a good role model? Standing firm and doing the right thing makes you a lot “cooler” with the ones who really count …specifically…other parents.

This blog brought to you by www.MitziRudderow.com and her award-winning book “Coming Clean: Drug Addiction Help and Hope.”

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Call ‘Em Up and Call ‘Em Out!

Last week, I shared my perspective on parents who serve alcohol to their teens and their friends. I have received so many great responses to this aspect of parents enabling kids, I am going to continue the conversation from another angle. Has your teen been served alcohol in someone else’s home? If so, was it a parent who served them? Did you pick up the phone, call ‘em up and call ‘em out?

I recently had a conversation with a parent on this very issue. The mother exclaimed “my daughter would have been horrified if I had called and told them how I really felt.” It takes courage to make that call to other parents to express disapproval of serving alcohol to underage kids – especially if the other parents are good friends. But failing to do so, becomes a sign of denial. Unfortunately, it is so much easier to avoid conflict than risk our teens feelings or loss of a friend. But, last time I checked, being a parent is not a popularity contest, and if you really come clean about that friendship, it probably wasn’t that great to begin with.

If we want to see teenage substance abuse subside, parents need to take a stand and make their opinions known. Good parenting is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job. Each stage is challenging enough, but the teenage years are equivalent to all the high school and college advance placement courses combined. Teenagers stretch and test us in areas we didn’t know existed until we are abruptly confronted with a new situation.

If the truth were known, the parent who is gently reprimanded for their inappropriate behavior of serving alcohol to minors will respect you more in the end. So will your teen, in time. Do you have the courage to step up and make positive role modeling the highest priority in your life? Or will you pay any price for the peace that comes through silence?

This blog brought to you by www.mitzirudderow.com.

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Are you aware of the company your child keeps? Do you really know your teen’s friends? If your teen is associating with friends that have tendencies toward risky behaviors or unhealthy habits, the chance of being led in to a world of reliance on drugs and alcohol is increased. Take note – questionable friends are one of the first warning signs that your teen could be headed for trouble with substance abuse.

In retrospect, I know I did not come clean with all the negative influences my teen was involved with. Slowly, my son’s longtime friendships disappeared and were replaced by new friends, whom I knew little about. His new choices in friends affected the decisions he made and the peer pressures he faced. Right was replaced with wrong, and logical thinking was replaced by irrational thinking and behaviors. Soon, my son was headstrong into a world of addiction.

If I had taken a closer look at the red flags and listened to my instincts instead of denying them, an eighth grade sleepover that involved a fifth of scotch and orange juice might have been avoided. So would that nasty hangover my son experienced the next day. I settled for “peace at any price.” Parents, stand strong! It is your right, as a parent, to veto anyone  you suspect could steer your child in the wrong direction.

I wonder if our journey would have taken a different route if I had chosen early on to stand firm as an adult and veto certain friends? The price I paid for “chickening out” was far more costly than the temporary unpleasantness of saying “no” and enforcing my decision. It’s quite possible that red flags are waving in your face. Are you aware of the company your child keeps?

This blog brought to you by www.Mitzi Rudderow.com.

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