Parents of Teens
Parents are a critical component of the South Hadley Drug & Alcohol Coalition. You are the expert on your own teen. Although at times you might feel like you are the person who knows the least! Many teens prefer to develop their independence by avoiding long conversations with their parents. Many teens prefer to avoid parents altogether. In the Resources section you will find some books that may be helpful in understanding the behavior of teens. Because the truth is that the apparent rejection of parents is matched by a secret need for parents. All the research shows that the parent influence on teens is still very strong. Teens who learn about the risks of drugs and alcohol from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use substances than those who do not.
Tell your teen the truth, that drugs including nicotine and alcohol, may make them feel good for awhile by activating brain chemicals. But these feelings are brief and no one can know the lifetime effects of these substances on any particular person. A significant amount of teens that use these substances will become dependent on them. There is no science that can predict which person that will be.
The Coalition seeks to protect teens and prevent their involvement with substances through every method which has evidence of success. This includes supporting parents, reaching out to offer education and accurate information, and seeking input and opinions from parents.
A parent can get involved in the Coalition by attending a meeting or being put on the e-mail list to receive information. It’s fine to drop by a meeting just to observe. A parent can take part in a particular action, can offer suggestions for new strategies or put their individual skills to use in our work. Parents can also get involved by supporting each other out in the community. It is hard work to establish clear family rules when there’s a teen in the house, but families who have clear “no use” rules see a difference in the amount of substance use by their teens. There is over 50% less teen substance use in families with clear rules than in families without clear rules. Parents can communicate with each other and take steps in getting to know the parents of their teen’s friends. Regular check-ins between parents benefits their teens, who then know they are supervised and supported.
Parents get involved by enrolling in the South Hadley High School Safe Homes Directorywhich is one of the strategies used by the Coalition. This is intended to make parent-to-parent contact much easier, especially among parents who have not ever met each other. Parents who are listed in the booklet pledge to supervise teens in their home and to prevent them from using substances on their property. Parent contact information is provided. The Coalition invites you to please sign up on the Contact Us page and we can help you to be included in the directory. Recruitment is also done at school Open Houses and at the 8th Grade Step-Up Ceremony through their program. The booklet is printed and updated every 15 months. It provides an easy way to find out who the parents of your teen’s friends are because listings are made under the student’s name. It is hoped that this Directory makes it much easier to make that check-in phone call.
Below, please find links which can assist you in the difficult job of raising teenagers. Don’t forget to look on the Resources page for additional information and support. And you are more than welcome to use the e-mail address with any questions.