This post brought to you by National Institute on Drug Abuse. The content and opinions expressed below are that of The Typical Mom.
3 conversations you need to have with your teen when they start High School. You will feel better and they’ll have the correct information from the start!
It’s tough to be a parent, we all think we could do better….and are probably doing better than we think if we asked our kids their opinion. 😉 It’s even harder once your kids become teens. Not only is the fact that they will be off on their own in a few years tough, but making sure you’ve instilled your values and guided them in the right direction before they graduate (and possibly leave the nest) is always a goal. Here are 3 conversations you need to have with your teen while they’re still in High School.
So this is my daughter….I know, I do NOT look old enough to have a teen but in fact I’m lucky to say she is mine! I have to be honest….when I dropped her off for her first day of High School a few tears ran down my cheeks. I think it was harder on me than it was on her! Not only was I sad that she was growing up way too fast, but what information (and inaccurate information) would she get once she was surrounded by a bunch of other 14-18 year old girls and boys….a bit nerve wracking. Here are 3 tough conversations we’ve had that brought us closer, and made me more confident that if she did encounter a difficult situation she would be equipped with good information and have the confidence to stand up for what she believes in.
- Value yourself – What I mean by this (especially if you have a teenage daughter) is if you go out into the world with confidence, and value yourself as important you, will expect others to do the same, and not accept anything less. Surrounding yourself with other teens who are respectful of you, your boundaries, and don’t push you to do something you are uncomfortable with is really important.
- “The talk” – Way before getting into details of how things work “mechanically” it is super important to discuss what their definition of things are. Let’s start with the term “dating”, how do they define that? I was surprised when we first had this discussion to hear that she defined it as just hanging out and maybe holding hands….where what I was picturing in my head was A LOT different. You will learn where they are in their maturity by asking “what does that look like to you”. When I described what dating meant to me her response was “NO WAY, no thanks”…..and made me feel better about allowing her to “date” according to what she felt it meant. She had already created her own boundaries that were much stricter than what I would’ve expected from her at her age, and was super proud! After that I could breathe a bit easier when I dropped her off each day, knowing that when she’s confronted with someone else’s desires she will stand firm in her beliefs that those actions don’t fit into her definition of what’s acceptable to her.
3. Drugs and alcohol – You know they are going to encounter it, even in the most affluent schools. We all worry what our teen will do or say when they are offered either by their peers…..discuss drug and alcohol facts before they encounter them! Just like discussing “the talk” your child probably has already thought about drugs and alcohol, and may have some ideas (and inaccurate information) about them already. Start with what they’ve heard (believe me, they’ve heard something if they’re in High School). This is important so you can SHATTER THE MYTHS they might have such as: marijuana is not addictive or that it doesn’t impair brain development, which are both false. Finding resources to dispel these myths in great detail are great to show them that you actually do know what you’re talking about (we couldn’t possibly right, lol), and provides data to back it up. One great resource for this is called NIDA for Teens. A great way to start the dialogue with your teen regarding drugs and alcohol is by taking the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge which is a 12-question multiple choice quiz that teens and adults can take to test their knowledge about drugs and alcohol. From January 25-31, 2016 the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism sponsor National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week……which is a great resource for parents and teens.
Teens are bombarded with myths about drug use. Use scientific facts from NIDA’s website to dispel those myths, and then continue the conversation about what was surprising to them, and what they might do if presented with a substance at school or at a party. When your teens know you’re open to discussing difficult issues they will be more likely to come to you when they encounter a difficult decision. Also, when they’re equipped with correct information regarding how harmful drugs and alcohol really are to their system, they can then make the informed choice as to where they want to set their boundaries because they’ll know the consequences if they go beyond them. Start early, connect often, and use great resources such as this one to guide them in the right direction when it comes to substance abuse…..and I wish us all good luck in our parenting journeys!