Pam Karpen of Weston is trying to teach her children to stand by their values about alcohol and drugs even when the world around them challenges them to change.
"I can't trust the parents around me. I have to trust the relationship I have with my child. I try to give them my values and my understanding so, when they do go out in the world, they can make decisions on their own," Karpen said at a presentation for parents about communicating with their children.
About 25 moms showed up Tuesday night to listen to Dr. Matt Bellace , a motivational speaker and comedian, talk about substance abuse among teens and how parents can effectively communicate with their children. Bellace, who uses jokes instead of scare tactics, also spoke to students at Weston High School on Tuesday morning about alternative avenues to "get high" besides drinking or using drugs.
A student asked why smoking marijuana gives the same high as running but has the opposite effect on the brain and memory. Bellace said running can actually increase brain size while smoking pot can reduce the number of cells.
Bellace started a group at his college so students could hang out at night without drinking or using drugs. Parents at the meeting Tuesday said they wish Weston had a similar community center for students.
Bellace said parents shouldn't get emotional when talking to kids about drugs because "once you get angry, you're the jerk."
Bellace's presentation was one of the school's many preprom activities. "Any night can be dangerous," said Karpen, who is the adult adviser to SafeRides in Weston, which receives calls every weekend. SafeRides is a student-run organization that provides kids with a ride home who either have been drinking or whose original driver has been drinking.
Students who have good relationships with parents are less likely to have problems with drugs, said John McGeehan, the facilitator for the Youth Leadership Council at Weston High School, which helped sponsor Bellace along with the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program , Weston Youth Services and the high school.
"When they are in danger, they should be able to call with no questions asked for 12 hours. For kids, knowing they can call shows parents are saying, 'Don't avoid me,'" said McGeehan. "Recognize that there will be a consequence but also recognize that the primary concern is safety."
How do you communicate with your teen? Leave your comments below.
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