Pamela P. is a Junior in Biology at Cal State Channel Islands. She has been a resident of Ventura County her whole life.
It seems that teens today face a lot more issues growing up than teens did in the past; they have to worry about school, their personal issues and the hardest, I think: being accepted and fitting in. In the process of fitting in, they make choices that may not be the best and that can affect them in the future.
Drug and alcohol use, for example. As if it’s not hard enough, going from being a kid to a teen with the changes in your body and your mindset — and then we have to worry about being liked and fitting in with our friends. In this process, we seek advice but we don’t always get the best answers and friends can sometimes mislead us. The better option would be to get help from those who know us best from day one — our parents.
But sometimes communicating with our parents is difficult, especially when we are teens. We feel they don’t understand us, like we are just being judged. We know whatever we say that goes against parent rules or what they know is right will just get us grounded and yelled at. Which gets me thinking, is this why teen make poor choices? Can a lack of communication between parent and teens lead us to bad decisions?
Parents have the role to guide us the best way possible and to support us. But why is it that when teens do seek help, some parents immediately get upset? It is important that parents establish rules for us but it’s important sometimes for them to step down to our level and understand our point of view.
If that friendship bond was created, it would make it much easier to talk about bigger issues like using drugs and alcohol. Being able to have a rational conversion about drug and alcohol use with their teens would help to inform and educate them. When that comfort level is there, teens won’t feel awkward or scared to talk about their issues, and will continue to strengthen that connection. Parents have to move out of their comfort zone. Establishing a strong friendship with their teen to support, rather than just being parents, is the right way to communicate.