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By Deanna Felts
Special to The Trimble Banner
Recently my husband was speaking with another parent with kids older than ours. Eventually, they got around to discussing parenting. Not a controversial subject - at least that’s what my husband thought. It turns out they were both surprised when they discovered each held such differing views on the topic of parental involvement. What are your thoughts on parent involvement? Is that a loaded question? Maybe it leads to lots more questions. Let’s see.
Try this scenario: You have a 15 year old daughter. She’s a “good” kid (for the most part) and she asks to attend a party at a friend’s house. What are your possible responses? Do you allow her to attend no questions asked – after all she is a “good” kid? Do you ask if a parent will be present? Do you ask if alcohol or drugs will be available? Do you tell her “no” just in case there is a chance of alcohol and drugs being present (come on, you were 15 once)? Do you call the parent of the friend to check on the situation? Do you say “yes” with the understanding that she calls you if no parent is present, underage drinking and drugging is taking place or she feels unsafe? Or, do you show up unannounced at some point during the party to ensure all is good? Maybe you ask a friend on the police force to do a drive by check?
How you answer these questions will reflect your own personal philosophy of parental involvement. How far do you go and in which directions? Where does trust fit in?
Being in the substance abuse prevention field, I see the statistics. I know that most teens do not drink or take drugs illegally. I know they make good decisions. However, I also know that even “good” kids can and do exhibit some “not so good” behaviors – especially when peer pressure is applied – like at a party.
According to the 2011 Monitoring the Future Report (which included national results on adolescent drug use), 27 percent of 10th graders and 40 percent of 12th graders reporting drinking an alcoholic beverage in the 30 day period prior to the survey and 15 percent of 10th graders and 22 percent of 12th graders reported binge drinking (5+ drinks in a row) in the last two weeks prior to survey. The good news is that these numbers are lower than in the past but they are more than I want for our young people.
Does knowing these statistics change your responses to the question in the scenario with your 15 year old “good” girl who wants to attend the party?
Knowing the risks of teen alcohol use may help us when talking with teens about the dangers of drinking and the need for them to abstain. More information is available by contacting the Regional Prevention Center of Seven Counties Services, Inc. at 502-589-8600 or www.sevencounties.org and click on “prevention” under the “our services” tab. You can also contact Trimble CARES Coalition at 502-255-5110 x1044 or visit their website at www.trimblcares.org
If you suspect or know your teen is using alcohol or other drugs, you can contact the Early Intervention Program (EIP), for an assessment and educational program for youth 13-17 years of age, at the above number for more information.
Deanna Felts is a Prevention Specialist at the Regional Prevention Center of Seven Counties Services, Inc.