Engaging young people in advocacy, education & prevention
Creating social change around alcohol, drugs, and more

The Let’s Talk Series #9 – How much do parents truly know about their teens’ realities?

October 10, 2010 4:01 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Heather O’Neill, coordinator for Straight Up’s Let’s Talk program, presents a series of helpful posts, resources, and articles on a regular basis for the Straight Up blog.

Parents have very tough jobs.  There is so much that goes into raising a child, so much that one needs to know, to learn, to do for these little beings that continue to change and grow – requiring the parents change and grow as well.  Information and tactics have to be learned for each age and stage, as well as each individual child’s needs, and this is on top of all that needs to be done to provide for the basics – food, shelter, clothing, schooling, medical care – and all that needs to be learned and performed for the jobs that many parents have outside the home, and on and on.  Parents are incredibly busy! 

Is it possible within all this activity to stay truly connected to their children’s and teens’ lives?  Parents obviously can’t be there every moment of every day with their kids as they get older, nor would it necessarily be healthy for them to be.  And teenagers have a strong and distinct need for independence and privacy, which adds to the challenge.  Negotiating the balance of how to monitor ones child effectively, while still respectfully, is tricky.  Along with this, finding time and willingness – on the parts of all parties involved – to talk about tough issues like alcohol and drugs is challenging to say the least.  Parents may think that one big “talk” is enough, and then cross their fingers that their teens make it through adolescence safely.  Or they may attempt multiple and ongoing conversations with their teens about these issues, hoping to stay connected, only to find that their teens are not completely honest with them.

The video “Generation Gap” explores the discrepancy between what parents think they know about what is going on in their teens’ lives, and what is REALLY going on in their teens’ lives.  It also provides an interesting spotlight on how the parent-teen interactions can be perceived very differently depending on who you ask.  Check out “Generation Gap” here, from Parents: The Anti-Drug.  Also on their website, take a moment to go through all of the great offerings in their “Navigating the Teen Years” section here.  You will find wonderful tips for parents on how to approach the subject of alcohol and other drugs with teens, sample tough conversations and helpful example solutions, information about the world of teens, expert advice and much more.

We’d love to hear your comments!

  • Parents – How well do you think you know what is really happening in your teen’s life?
  • Teens – How much DO your parents really know about what’s happening in your world?