It’s a tough world out there, especially for our kids. The pressure to perform well in school, raging hormones, the increased need to fit in and belong with peers, the desire for independence - and the list goes on of daily stressors for our kids today. Along with this comes the curiosity of and escape in risky behaviors.
The middle school years can be just as challenging for parents as it is for their kids. We go from being one of the most admired, loved, and smartest people in our kids’ lives during the elementary years to someone who doesn’t know anything anymore and plays "second fiddle" to our kids’ friends. At a time when parents need to step up and step in even more with their parenting practices, parents may feel the tendency to step back and pull away. Many give up and give in to the peer influence they believe is overriding their influence.
A recent study asked kids aged 11 through 17, "Who has a very important influence on you?" The kids’ responses were: parents (86%), grandparents (56%), place of worship (55%), teachers (50%) peers (41%), community (23%), and television, movies and music (22%). Studies consistently indicate that parents are the single most important influence on kids’ decisions to smoke, drink, or use drugs. It is also important to recognize the influence non-parental adults - grandparents, teachers, clergy, and YOU - can play in kids’ lives. Yet, many parents and adults do not fully understand the extent of their influence.
We’ve heard many parents say, "Let them have fun. Kids will be kids. They’re going to do it anyway. At least they are just drinking alcohol. Everyone else is doing it. We did it and turned out just fine." These are just wrong-headed copouts. True or not true, the fact remains that giving in or giving up is not an option and will not lead to positive outcomes. We all need to be heroes. Parents and other adults need to accept the fact that they influence the way their child will live their life.
All Stars gives parents the opportunity to find out how important they are to their kids. Through take home assignments and a video made by their child parents and other respected adults hear first-hand the important role their kids want them to have and play in their lives. Who better to tell parents they have an important job to do and to "step up and step in" to do it than their own kids.
SOURCE: Kathleen Nelson-Simley, National Director of Training at Tanglewood Research Inc.
All Stars prevention program is available through Missy King, Certified Prevention Specialist at Central Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse here in San Saba.
CTCADA offers both adolescent intervention and treatment programs. Call us at 254-690-4455!