Vices: Adolescence and Parents

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Drugs and Alcohol

Teenagers are bound to experiment

It's a fact of life that teenagers are likely to experiment with sex, drugs, alcohol, clothes and makeup on the fast track to adulthood. The question is what are you, as a parent going to do about it? While all parents will agree that something must be done, they're not sure what exactly to do.

The problem that most parents face is that they just cannot accept the fact that their 'babies' are smoking, drinking, indulging in heavy petting, or worse, even 'going all the way.' They have just one thought in their minds that children this age should not be doing these things. Beyond that, they seem to become incapable of thought and action. They just want to bury their heads in the sand and hope that the problem will sort itself out. At a loss for words, parents often unknowingly build an invisible wall between themselves and their teenage children. And this is exactly what a parent should never do.

The dictatorial approach

At times like this, playing the great dictator can backfire. Using words like, "because I said so" as the only explanation is bound to encourage defiance. You will have to come down from your "I'm older so I know best" pedestal and talk to your teenager in a language that he can understand. You have to communicate to him that you are both on the same side and that you sympathize with his need to be 'cool' and be one of the gang, but at the same time you are concerned about him.

Lectures are a surefire turnoff for the average teenager. After all, it is not like they think smoking and drinking is good for health. And the fact that they do it behind their parents' backs just shows that they are well aware that parental approval for smoking dope and drinking beer is not forthcoming.

Why drugs and alcohol?

There are several reasons why a teenager may take drugs or alcohol. Some teenagers are just bored and like to experiment, while others do it to be accepted by their...
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