Teens go for the fun, sun, and surf ... and many add massive amounts of drinking, drugs, and dangerous sex when they get there.
These spring break confessions are shocking testimonials from real teens for whom going away means going to scary extremes--getting drunk and high, hooking up with strangers--and, too often, ending up arrested, sexually assaulted, or clinging to life in the hospital.
Although stories like Natalee Holloway's make front page news, author, pediatrician and ML contributor Dr. Cara Natterson says most teens can't anticipate consequences because, "their frontal lobe, the C.E.O. of their brain, isn't fully developed yet," which is why so many teens still live like there's no tomorrow.
So, how can you keep your child safe? "The most important thing is to set limits," says Dr. Natterson. "If you know the situation will be wild, don't let him or her go. It is equally important to keep talking to your child. Bluntly tell him or her what worries you. Use short-term examples like: 'You won't to be able to play sports next week,' instead of talking about long-term addiction or eventual loss of brain-cells."
"While it is true that the chemistry of the teen brain, with its impulse-intensive responses, will often win out over your words of warning--your words are still valuable," says Dr. Natterson. "Every time you sit with your child and have that talk, it's another piece of hay on the haystack. Eventually the stack gets big enough that you are influencing your child's decisions." Ready to get started? Download our discussion guide: HTML or PDF.
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