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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What Causes Teen Alcoholism and How Can We Prevent It

Still cannot believe that I'm a guest blogger for the Partnership for a Drug Free America's Decoder Blog. Check out my latest post on nature versus nurture and what scientists believe can cause teen alcoholism.

The signs are there. One adolescent explained how he started drinking the vanilla and lemon extract out of the kitchen cabinet at the age of nine. Another was assaulted at her first high school party because she got so drunk she didn't know what she was doing - and her parents had not yet told her there was a family history of alcoholism.


Friday, April 16, 2010

A Window Into the Teen Brain - What Questions Do Kids Ask?

I came across a really interesting video today - Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse talking with kids at Harlem High School and answering their questions about the science of drugs and how they affect the adolescent body. One of them actually said after wards "I think it's the best method ever in regard to drug abuse awareness."

Here are some of the questions that they asked:

What is the role of environment versus genetics in addiction to drugs?

Is a quick learner more likely to be addicted to drugs?

How serious an issue is Internet addiction becoming and what do psychologists suggest you do about it?

Does the way you consume marijuana affect your trip?

For more information go watch the video - it's a bit dark and grainy but Dr. Volkow is really good.


Monday, April 5, 2010

What Rules Will Kids Obey - Here's New Research

"Kids don't just resist parents across the board," says Larry Nucci, a research psychologist at the Institute of Human Development at the University of California at Berkeley.

"It isn't the situation where kids are just driven by their impulses, and they simply reject all the rules that parents have."

Nucci believes that if you look closely at which rules children obey and which they reject, there are clear patterns to be found.

Although the study was with elementary school kids parents of adolescents may learn something here.

Rules they listen too:

Moral Rules: Don't hit, do share.

Safety rules: Don't cross the street alone, don't run with scissors.

Social convention: You must say "sir" and "madam."

Rules They Don't Always Listen Too

The gray area is rules kids consider to be their own business and that they consider to be private. These include who they play with, what sport they want to play, clothing they wear, etc.

These are the rules in which the vast majority of conflicts between parents and children occur.

"Kids don't argue at all with parents — or very little argument with parents — when parents come up with reasonable safety rules or rules about not stealing from other children or not hitting other kids," says Nucci. "Virtually all of the conflicts that parents are having with kids are over these personal areas."

For more on this story go to the NPR story at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125302688&sc=nl&cc=hh-20100405

So what's a parent to do? Make sure you clearly explain the reasons why you have certain rules and link them to core issues like those mentioned above. Give a bit on the gray areas - and don't try to control everything your kids do.