Teens in Ontario are coming out about drug and alcohol use. Over the course of the last few months, this writer has seen news items on teens and drinking and teens and drug use. What I see are teens turning it around for someone else. I think a lot has to do with parent involvement as well.
Teenagers can easily fall victim to drug and alcohol use thanks to being bored, peer pressure and filling some need within themselves. But as more and more teens in Ontario are given the chance and choice of taking college credit classes while in high school, many of them are taking that education and using it to help others.
A young girl in a local college said she wanted to help others as she had problems with teen drinking. She said she would point the finger at others and then realized one day it was her own responsibility. She stated her parents never discussed alcohol and drugs with her. She has talked about becoming drug and alcohol counselors in the future. These are admirable goals for one so young and to hear her story one does not doubt she will succeed in those goals.
Openness and honesty is imperative in a family unit. Just as you would discuss the safety of sexual conduct and waiting or protecting oneself by having safe sexual relations with your child, make sure you are having candid discussions about drinking and drug use as well. It was quite effective in this north Ontario mom’s relationship with her own children.
Each of my children have called me in just such a situation. One from a junior high dance stating his buddy’s dad was drinking. We quickly re-arranged the night so that the other parent knew I would have the boys at my house for a sleepover and this prevented them from getting into the other parent’s vehicle. Once my daughter called from a sleepover. Her friend’s mom’s boyfriend was there and drinking and no one else was home and they were uncomfortable. We went after them and had the sleepover at our house. The third time, my older son admitted he and his friends were drinking. Could I come get them? I said yes. How the other parents dealt with it, I do not know but I do know I kept communication open with my own and believe that many heartaches were spared because of it.
Have an open and honest discussion with your teens. They are more open to talking than you might think.