So, how can you keep your child safe? "The most important thing is to set limits," says ML pediatrician Dr. Cara 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."
Dr. Natterson points out most 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. "While it is true that the chemistry of the teen brain 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."
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|Dr. Cara Natterson, a graduate of Harvard University and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and author of "Your Toddler: Head To Toe," is a pediatrician and mother of 2. She is working on her forthcoming book, "Dangerous or Safe?"|