One father insists that he and his kids talk openly about drugs and alcohol and this will prevent teenage drug use.
One mom tells me that her children attend a school that has a zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol and thus, her children are safer from the influences.
One group of parents meet and discuss teenagers’ codes of conduct and parental supervision.
One parent tells me that if schools start drug education in elementary school, kids will be better prepared to handle the pressures in middle and high school.
One couple tells me that their college age child wants to transfer because everyone parties at her school.
One father takes his young teen son to the downtown jail for a tour of incarcerated hard core drug users and vendors.
One mom is reassured that her senior daughter and friends take a cab to and from parties; she accepts that they will drink and is relieved that they will not drink and drive.
One parent tells me that his son thinks he is ridiculous to believe that juniors and seniors are not smoking pot.
One mother relays that her son cannot afford to drink, because he is on a sports team. Another proudly states that her son is his friends’ designated drive.
One mother with pre-teen girls often tells me that she is intrigued by teenagers’ partying and sex lives.
One parent whose son was kicked out of a summer program abroad for drinking, blames the school back in the states for his son’s issues.
One couple sends their teenage son to an outpatient drug rehab program; and many others send their children to residential drug rehab programs for issues with alcohol, prescription drugs and marijuana.
One mother finds pot in her son’s bed room on multiple occasions and flushes it down the toilet each time
One family discovers their daughter’s newest form of ID – a Medical Marijuana Card.
There are endless stories. - I wish I could tell you that the parents of teenagers who abused drugs and alcohol were really inattentive and absent parents. They were not! - I would love to tell you that the young man who visited county jail fully abstained from drinking and drugs in high school. I cannot! – I would love to reveal that the parents who spoke to their young children about the dangers of drugs, or sent them to a school that had ‘no tolerance’ (and they all are!) were guaranteed to have offspring who would not partake in drugs and alcohol. I Cannot!
There is no Panacea. Parents make great efforts to find perfect solutions to troubling problems. (Note - handcuffing ourselves to our teenagers is not a very good solution!)
One very wise educator told me – the greatest thing adults can teach children from a young age is how to make Good Decisions. Easy words to write and challenging one to navigate as our children grow into young adults with independent thoughts and lives. But we must be up for the challenge!
Other ideas – keep your teens busy and involved in activities that excite and empower them – have dinner together – take walks together – pattern healthy life choices with your children - go to sporting events and attend the theater together – keep talking (not lecturing) – keep watching – LISTEN CAREFULLY – give lot’s of trust when it is deserved – set good examples by your own thoughtful (adult) behavior - hug teens when they come home from school and give especially big hugs when they return from a party late at night or early in the morning.
And on top of everything that you do (and believe me there is no perfect formula) – you need lot’s of Luck!