It is normal and healthy for adolescents to seek increased independence as they grow and develop. It is also normal for parents to have a hard time letting go. Naturally, we worry about our children’s health and safety and quite frankly, their ability to make good decisions. However, in order for our children to become mature, responsible, self-disciplined young people, we must loosen the reigns and allow them to make some decisions on their own, mistakes and all.
We all know the heavy influence peer pressure can have on a tween/teen, especially when it comes to risk-taking behaviors like drinking, smoking and using other drugs. But are you aware of the impact the mere presence of peers can have on an adolescent’s decision-making, without any coercing or encouragement at all?
In a previous tip, Know! Your Child’s Risk for Sexting, we talked about the prevalence of teen sexting, the problems it can cause and the importance of making this topic a priority in your conversations with your pre-teens and teens. In this tip, we provide parents with ideas on taking those conversations beyond, “You better never…”
Kids who hear about the dangers of drugs from trusted adults are up to 50 percent less likely to use. Mentors at summer camps, or band and sport camps, can support Ohio’s youth in making healthy choices. Camp leaders can lead a Start Talking! discussion and share the facts about the dangers of alcohol, illegal drugs and the misuse of prescription medications.
As any parent or caregiver raising teenagers knows, smartphones play a leading role in their daily lives. While social media, apps and messaging provide a fun and highly accessible path to connect and share with friends, such outlets also allow youth to connect with those they should not be connecting with and share things they should not be sharing. We’re talking SEXTING - defined as sending sexually explicit messages, photos or videos via cell phone or other electronic devices.