Hamptons Teen: CALL ME OLD-FASHIONED, but I’m Just a DAD
I have become increasingly aware and worried about the relaxed attitude of illicit drug use among teens in the Hamptons and beyond. But what are our teenagers to think? They see a more relaxed and accepting attitude regarding the use of marijuana due to the reduction of legal penalties and the sale of marijuana for recreational use in multiple states. This is in the news and has become a part of their realities.
What our teenagers do not realize is the increased documentation about the effects of marijuana on the teenage brain. We know that the development of the brain is very fluid until or between the ages of 21-25 years old. The way in which the brain is wired is open to impact by this and other drugs. I am not a prude nor am I unaware of the opportunities, interest, curiosity and pressure to smoke weed. A lot of us did it when we were young. But this isn’t our father’s (and mother’s) weed no more. The THC (active ingredient that produces the high) content is many times more concentrated in today’s marijuana than in the weed our generation smoked. Many ‘brands’ of weed are genetically improved to the form of designer status. Consenting adults should have the option of doing whatever they want to do but it is imperative to fully inform our teenagers of the risks inherent in smoking pot.
I have the same concerns about smoking cigarettes and underage drinking that I have towards smoking weed and I feel to some extent, these are a more insidious and risky behavior that is impacting our teenagers. I cannot tell you what is the percentage of teenagers smoking and drinking but I feel it is over 50% of the population. Maybe I’m old-fashioned but if you were to ask both of my daughters (18 and 25), I still harp on the need to show restraint and to use some forward thinking concerning their future plans and how use and abuse can derail their goals. Believe me, they get tired of ‘the talk’ but I continue just the same. Am I being successful… I don’t know but I hope so. They lead their own lives, much of the time out of my view but I do what I do anyways because I must! I have no illusions, I can’t protect them all the time, nor should I or will I try. I will tell them the real deal, give them the tools to make good decisions and pray for the best.
EVERYONE has my permission to warn me if they think my child’s behavior is a risk to them and I do not care if they don’t like it. If your kids have come to my house, they may have heard some rendition of ‘the talk’ as a natural inclination of mine to be protective and proactive towards the friends of my children. My kids have probably warned them to expect it sometimes. AGAIN, I don’t care. I will not preach or teach but this is a part of the way we conduct business in our home. I will not stop!
Now don’t get me wrong, I remember being a teenager and doing LOTS OF STUFF. I will not be a hypocrite and tell them to ‘do as I say and not as I do’. But the risks of life long impacts secondary to social media and ‘selfies’ of illicit behavior that can follow them FOREVER…there are no do-overs anymore. Society can be very unforgiving. We did not have to face these risks. Remember, the definition of a teenager is filled with doing DUMB THINGS. But it is this risk taking and feelings of invincibility that makes them so powerful and dynamic. It will be hard to convince them of the dangers because they LIKE danger!
One more trend that I am seeing; the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs (PED’s). The use of Human Growth Hormone and steroids among teenage athletes has increased exponentially. Kids want to look better and perform better and they are getting access to and using these drugs more and more. The lifelong effects of these PED’s and the health impacts are so pronounced and damaging that it is imperative that parents and adults of teenage athletes inform them of the risks. Encourage your school teams to educate their athletes of the dangers and make it part of their athletic curriculum.
From me to you….JUST BEING A DAD