Alcohol, heroin, sex, excessive video games, sexting, online porn, bullying.
These are the opportunities that await our children as they head into high school.
So I learned at a parent educational session I learned last night as our oldest son heads into high school.
In addition, the pre-frontal cortex of our child’s brain is not yet completely developed and the levels of dopamine (the pleasure seeking part of our body) are at their highest levels in teenagers.
Sounds like a great combination for success.
The presentation by the teen psychologist was excellent.
But it scared the shit out of me.
This is what we have to look forward too?
The presenter stressed the need for boundaries, for logical consequences and for continuing to talk to our children even when they don’t want to hear from us.
We need to listen to them as they try to separate from us and to stake their own claim in the world.
We should pay attention to their friends and to understand that if their friends are engaged in a particular activity, our child may be too.
This is a scary time to be a parent. So many ways to screw up your life at an early age.
I am sure our parents were scared too when we entered high school.
But it does seem more intense with more severe consequences for error.
For today, let’s remember that we cannot control our teenagers twenty-four hours a day.
They are becoming their own people.
Help us become good listeners, good advocates and good role models for them.
To help them when they fall and educate them, in a positive way, about the risks that stand before them.
And to love them each and every day.