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ParentingPanicButton » parenting help » Russian Roulette; Parenting Your Teens and Risky Behaviors Part 2

Russian Roulette; Parenting Your Teens and Risky Behaviors Part 2

If you equate “the random bullet” in Russian Roulette with the chance that substances have for impacting your life negatively, one can see the analogy.   In many cases it appears that (viewing statistics) 93%-97% of those who use or experiment with substances will not seem to have noticeable adverse effects.  Five to seven percent will have serious problems.

In many cases, children and teens empirically observe adults and peers “using” in front of them, with no apparent adverse consequences.   This can encourage them to believe that they can also use and “get away” without the likelihood of addiction or other related problems.

At least with Russian Roulette, the outcome is clear, and you are well aware you are playing with chance, luck or fate.  In substance use, factors such as amount consumed at a given episode can in fact be lethal, and the amount you consume becomes more akin to Russian Roulette.

So, all of these are great reasons and incentives to:

1-Be substance free in the eyes of your children. If not, at least do not use in front of them.

2-Self-assess your behavior when “under the influence”.

3-Do not supply your children with “safe experimentation” opportunities as there is no such thing.

4-Know where your kids are and make sure they are always in the realm of mature and responsible supervision, not “virtual” supervision (There is no supervision in the virtual realm, from texting to Facebook to online gaming, unless you have parental controls that monitor the children’s usage of these)

5-Educate your children on the facts related to substance use and brain development as well as the hazards of substance use.

6-Know that teens developmentally are wired to go to the edge, so help them find and obtain “wise highs”. (There is a great book called Wise Highs: How to Thrill, Chill, & Get Away from It All Without Alcohol or Other Drugs [Paperback]

Alex J. Packer Ph.D. (Author)

7-Know and pay attention to your family history with regards to substance use and addictions.

8-Lock and secure all alcohol in your house and keep it inaccessible to your kids.

9- Never say, “I know you are going to try alcohol, pot….I just want you to be safe if you do.”  You may have good intentions, but it comes across surely as permission and often as an assignment. (re-read it yourself)  Let your kids know the many reasons why you don’t want them to use, and make substance free agreements which make it clear to the young people that adult privileges such as driving, road trips, parties, curfew, and independence are all contingent on honoring those agreements.

10- Make sure your kids know that it really is like Russian Roulette, and it is up to so many factors of chance and reality, whether they will be able to dodge the “bullet” of being a problem or addicted substance user.


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