Thursday, April 12, 2007

Tonight's forum presentation

16 y/o dies of hypothermia/exposure after a drinking party
17y/o dies in an auto crash, the driver’s blood alcohol demonstrates intoxication

Headlines, Coroner’s cases
We have to notify the parents of these kids who are dead, kids aren’t supposed to die before their parents
Lives lost, opportunities lost, potential lost

And the deaths are only a small fraction of the serious problems that result from underage drinking, horrible as they are

The adolescent brain is a work in progress; exposure of the developing brain to alcohol and drugs alters its potential
But more important to tonight’s discussion is the fact that the adolescent brain isn’t complete, it lacks the “second guess” ability (the ability to pause and reconsider an action before undertaking it, particularly in the face of "stress” and peer pressure)

I know this despite expecting more from my teen daughter (and from other teens), but always think/remember that adolescents do not have the full capacity to control themselves. We overestimate the adolescent brain's ability to process legal and social standards and to use them as a behavior guide. We adults need to do some of the controlling that they are not capable of.

Parents must help their children make the "right” choices, through “control”, repeated discussions (shouting matches, if necessary), and by example.

Don’t allow teenagers to end up in my office.

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