Alcohol Abuse and Teens

Recently I read an article about a new trend in America—parents allowing their teens to drink at home. Apparently, the idea behind this is that drinking in the home setting will demystify alcohol and help the young people learn to drink responsibly.

Before I tell you what I think about that trend, let me share this fact with you. 11% of the alcohol consumed in the United States is consumed by underage kids. That’s a staggering statistic. Alcohol abuse among teens is becoming an enormous problem in America.

With that in mind, here is my comment on parents letting or even encouraging their teenagers to drink at home. With all the kindness and Christian charity this Texan can muster I ask these parents:  Are you nuts? If you follow that same line of thinking, then you’ll also allow them to have sex at home, take drugs at home, lie and cheat at home. That’s just crazy! Continue reading “Alcohol Abuse and Teens”

Relieving Tension in the Home

nervous teenThere was a lot of tension in my home when I was growing up.  I can remember the whole family nervously sitting around the dinner table and eating a meal without saying a word.  When we were at odds with each other we were taught a very simple coping strategy; avoid it!  Of course that didn’t solve anything or make it go away; the tension just built up over time, eventually exploding like an erupting volcano.

It’s important that our homes be a place where everyone can release their tension in appropriate ways and find a respite and relief.  If not, your teens will find ways to self-medicate the tension away through drugs, alcohol, promiscuity or self-harm. The pressures of their world are far greater than when we were kids, so let me share with you some practical ideas for relieving tension in your home. Continue reading “Relieving Tension in the Home”

Is Your Home a War Zone?

teenWe received an email recently from a mother who wrote simply, “Our teenage son is turning our home into a war zone!”  A lot of you who are reading this are probably saying, “ditto” or “same here,” because her letter is as if a carbon copy of what many parents write to us every day.

Some would say this teen is just being “rebellious,” but I say, ‘Wait a minute. Let’s look at all the reasons why he may be acting this way.” Honestly in three decades of working with young people, including working with over 2500 troubled young people who have come to Heartlight over the years, I have only known about ten truly rebellious teenagers.  The rest of them were responding or reacting to situations in their life.  When you see a child in constant turmoil, something is going on—but it’s not what you see on the surface.  Yes, it’s always appropriate to control bad behavior through boundaries and consequences, but you also need to get to the root of the problem — rather than just the behavior — to effectively deal with the turmoil. Continue reading “Is Your Home a War Zone?”