The Power of Parents by Anna Schafer
Recognizing that local problems need local solutions, the Smithville CIA seeks to mobilizing the entire community— youth, parents, teachers, police, reporters, extra-curricular instructors, health care providers, faith communities, business professionals, civic leaders, government representatives, and other Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug providers. We know that strategically aligning not only the “movers and shakers,” but also the “grassroots” folks who have strong links within neighborhoods and informal institutions reduce substance abuse among youth and, over time, among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse.
We have asked some of these community members to tell us why they have become involved in the Smtihville Community in Action Coalition and why prevention is important for them. This month, we have asked Anna Schafer, the Parent Sector Representative and Underage Drinking Chair, to share her why.
“I just don’t understand what is going through their mind!” How often as parents has this come to mind? As parents, we struggle to understand our preteens and teens. We see them as so different from us.
In truth, are they really so different? We rebelled, rolled our eyes, maybe slammed a door in frustration, hid in our rooms, snuck out? Partied with friends? Smoked a little? Drank a little? And as a result we often had sever consequences.
It is easy to hide our rebellious behavior from our kids. We do it because we don’t want them to think the behavior is ok, because we are ashamed, because we want our kids not to look at us as failures.
We are wrong. Our kids love us, even as teenagers. Sharing our negative experiences with alcohol, smoking, and/or drugs give teens a better understanding of our expectations. Telling them why you don’t want them to drink do to a bad experience like a classmate suffering from alcohol poisoning is far more effective then just telling them not to drink. Talking about a teenage friend dying from bone cancer as a result of using chewing tobacco can have a huge impact. Discussing expectations is just as important as setting them.