Kids Do Not Always Listen, But They Hear

Kids Do Not Always Listen, But They Hear

This is the eighth installment of a blog series that will dispel the 10 most common and stubborn myths parents believe about exposing children to alcohol. This time we will tackle big, fat myth #9: It doesn’t matter what I say to my child about substances, my voice will be eclipsed by outside influences…

Not true!  Please don’t take a back seat to MTV, Twitter, popular music, movies and advertising.  You can let Media “educate” your child or you can be the key educator in your child’s life.  Everyone else is talking to your child about sex, alcohol and other drugs, so you can and must chime in.  Children may not actually listen, but they do hear.  You want to be that quiet roar whirring in the back of your child’s mind at all times.  Treat Media like diet; quality and quantity matter – some of it is nutritious and enriching, other Media are misleading and damaging.  When I explain to students that I developed an addiction at an early age, they usually say “where were your parents, what did they do?”  Please know that you are the first thing on their minds when the opportunity to use substances arises or even when the topic comes up.  What else would they think about?  Kids have to figure out if they can literally get away with the behavior.  Are their parents asleep when they arrive home?  Are they unsupervised for long periods of time when they don’t have to account for themselves?  Can they text home at the end of the evening and announce they are spending the night elsewhere?  After they decide if they can pull it off, they may ask the deeper, bigger question, ”Do I really want to get away this?  Do I wish to cause a breakdown in my relationship with my parents by lying and hiding my life from them?” If your child is asking these kinds of questions, you have done a masterful job of creating a mutual understanding that your teen wants to preserve.  Never underestimate the power of YOU.

Tune in next week for the final installment of this blog series when we tackle myth #10: If I used alcohol or other drugs as a teen, I guess I’ll have to lie about it to my children or it will give them permission to do the same thing


1 Comment

  1. Great job! You give parents a voice and some power at a time when they feel that they don’t matter. Thanks.