Parents can prevent teen drinking

According to research presented on NPR this morning: “The teens who were being raised by so-called indulgent parents who tend to give their children lots of praise and warmth — but offer little in the way of consequences or monitoring of bad behavior — were among the biggest abusers of alcohol.

“They were about three times more likely to participate in heavy drinking,” says Stephen Bahr, Ph.D., author of a study of 5,000 teens on drinking. “The same was true for kids whose parents were so strict that no decision was left to the teenager’s own judgment.

The key is to develop good decision-making in children from ages 2 to 12, so when they become teenagers and they are 60 miles away going 60 miles an hour, they will choose wisely.

Cultivating good decision-making starts when children are young and they experience consequences that follow the Three Rs — related, reasonable and respectful. Thanks to Jane Nelsen, Ph.D. for the Three Rs of natural and logical consequences.

For example, when a youngster misbehaves in a restaurant, when Dad says, “Stop or there’s no X-Box for a month,” it does not inspire the child to make an informed decision because it is not respectful, reasonable or related.

A consequence that meets the three Rs would be for Dad to say, “Behave yourself or we leave the restaurant now.” Then they leave the restaurant. It’s requires less talking and more action.

Parents who sign up for my workshops fall in one of the two extremes described above. They set too many limits or too few limits. Democratic parenting allows for power-sharing and for children to learn to make good decisions by experiencing the natural and logical consequences of them.

It takes time, training and thinking. Parents just have to be slightly smarter than the teens and tweens and children, and have a plan.

Explore posts in the same categories: 60-60 theory, boundaries, Encouragement, Make good decisions, natural and logical consequences, teenagers, teens, tweens

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