If you are looking for advice on how to keep your kid's head from spinning off when you tell them you are implementing a home testing program, the only advice we can offer is to be honest. Be completely open about your fears, your hopes for their future, and their safety. Even the "smaller" consequences of drug and alcohol use like a DUI charge can really screw up their lives. How will they get to school or work if they lose their license or insurance? We have personally known two kids who were killed in separate drunk driving accidents in the last 3 months. Talk to your kids about how many lives that can ruin. Make them tell you how they would feel if they were responsible for someone else's death. We were all teenagers, and hopefully we can remember what it was like to feel "bulletproof". Make them understand that you have to protect them any way that you can until they acquire the common-sense of adulthood.
I try to keep in mind that teens have to make mistakes to learn life's hard lessons. They are going to do things that we don't like, and they will learn more if the lines of communication are wide open. At our house, that means hearing a lot that I wish that I didn't have to, and agreeing to some things that I'd rather not. I believe that if we have a better idea of what is really going on in their world, then hopefully we can better steer them in the right direction.
Parenting styles differ widely, and what works for some doesn't work for others. One parent may believe that if their kids ever want to get puking drunk, they do it in a monitored environment where they know that they are safe. I'm not crazy about that, but it beats the alternative. They know that they have freedom to experiment within the rules, and if they were ever caught in the car with an impaired driver, or breaking other "iron-clad" rules, there would be extreme consequences. Another household may have zero tolerence under 21.
Drive your kids through the bad side of town and show them what a 40 year old drug addict looks like and how they live. They will all tell you that they just started with a little "weed and wine" as a teenager. Nobody intends to end up like that.
The best advice that I can offer is to step up to the plate, as scary as it may sound. Start a drug and alcohol testing program and stick with it. Learn everything about teen drug use- our resource page is a great place to start.
Linzy, Delaney. and Melissa tell me two things all the time that I try to be realistic about no matter I much I choose to not want to believe them. First, they say that it is nearly impossible to find friends that do not do drugs. How sad is that? Secondly, they tell me that all kids lie to their parents...no matter how open the relationship. Scary, huh?
Teens can change so fast, and parents must try to stay a step ahead. Good luck...don't ever give up on your kids!
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