I recently came across a statement made by the founding director of a social development group at a university in Washington…it states, “It’s a $1000 bribe, but for me that’s 365 days of not worrying about my son drinking…”
With all due respect to the director, the statement about negotiating with his 15-year-old, soon –to-bedriving son about refraining from drinking for a year in return for some pay-off, will in the long run, back-fire.
As a certified professional in the field of adolescent substance abuse, my experience in these matters suggest that once parents succumb to negotiating certain expected behaviors with their children, parental decision-making starts down a very slippery slope.
It is crucial for parents to begin the conversation about the consequences of drug and alcohol use early and often. But the message should not be “negotiable.”
An adult’s relaxed attitude toward under-age drinking and experimental drug-use may suggest to a young person that the benefits outweigh the risks. Studies have found that family engagement is a better predictor of successful treatment.
Setting boundaries is a parenting technique not only critical during the adolescent years, but also needed from a teen’s perspective. Interestingly, when asked by Roper StarchWorldwide in 1998 to rank major problems facing America today, students aged 12 to 19 most frequently named as one of their top concerns “lack of parental discipline.”
Underage drinking accounts for 25 percent of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. according to a new report recently released by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA).
Apart from the referenced disturbing statistics, CASA researchers have confirmed: teens have easy access to alcohol because parents are too often unwitting co conspirators who see underage drinking as a rite of passage rather than a deadly round of Russian roulette. The message to our children must be non negotiable: stay away from alcohol and drugs.
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