Ongoing conversations with your teenager are crucial to their decision making about alcohol. These conversations should not be a one and done speech, but rather a regular discussion in your home. Older adolescents are the most susceptible to drinking, so it is never too early to begin this conversation. You can then change the topics and transparency as your child gets older.
Here are three mistakes parents make and how to avoid making them:
Be aware of these common mistakes parents are making. If you have made these mistakes it is not too late to fix the communication. Start the conversation TODAY! It could save their life.
If you are looking for additional resources be sure to check out your local substance abuse council. You can find out more at Porter County Substance Abuse Council Webpage.
Mentoring can be a life changing experience for both the mentee and the mentor. Taylor Trent is 19 years old, completing an internship at Road to Life Church and working at the YMCA, both in Chesterton, IN. Her father died when she was 11 years old. Suddenly, after his death, Taylor became a young girl in a single parent household. This brought a lot of challenges for both her and her mother. She shares about her experience without a mentor and how it affected her.
“When my dad died I felt really abandoned, alone, scared, no guidance. There were counselors at my school, but I didn't really feel they were truly helping me through it. I felt there was no one there at school to help me. I didn't want to bother my mother because she was grieving and going through her own emotions.”
Q: Tell me how you feel a mentor would have benefited you during that time?
A: “I feel like a mentor in my life would have been crucial. I feel like it would have changed everything. Now that I am older I have a lot of leadership, influence, and people involved in my life. However, at the time when my Dad died, I would have benefited from just talking to someone.”
Q: Do you think it would have changed you?
A: “I was going through a crazy time. I had a lot of depression, suicidal thoughts. It was dark. I would have given anything to have someone ask about how I was feeling, why I was feeling a certain way, and just having someone who kept tabs on my emotions and cared about me. If I would have had a mentor, I feel like a lot of those dark emotions could have been avoided or at least I would have dealt with them. I would have liked to have someone walk with me through it.”
Q: How do you think a mentor could have helped you walk through it?
A: “When you think of mentor, you think of someone who is already at a place you want to be. It doesn't have to be a job, it could be they have arrived spiritually, emotionally, and mentally where you want to be. If someone could have walked with me and told me how they got to a point where they no longer had thoughts of depression then maybe it would have been different.”
Q: How do you think your grieving process would have been different with a mentor?
A: “I think I would have actually known how to grieve. All I knew at the time was my Dad wasn't coming back and I didn't know anything else. You are mad, frustrated, and confused. You don't know what to do. And kids are navigating through all kinds of things—Not just death. It would have helped me. I know it would help if middle school students, even high school students had someone to check in with them.”
Q: How do you feel like a mentor would have helped you in school?
A: "It would have definitely helped. During my grief I was not focused. I didn't feel like I needed to do any my work. I felt it wasn't important.”
Students who are mentored are proven to be better in school, are likely to avoid drugs and alcohol, less likely to have unwanted pregnancies, and more likely to succeed academically and emotionally. Liv.True is a mentoring program who meets at various schools in Northwest Indiana. For more information about Liv.True mentoring check our our Liv.True Mentoring page.
Mentoring is an opportunity for teens to get connected with people other than parents or caregivers. Its an opportunity to be inspired, encouraged, and learn new things. About 40% of a teenagers day is spent without supervision or companionship. Mentors provide an opportunity for the mentee's time to be spent in a valuable way. Teens who have a mentor are more likely to be more successful in school, more likely not skip class, and less likely to use illegal drugs or drink alcohol.
Jennifer Tucker, Liv.True coordinator—a mentoring program in Northwest Indiana, encourages that mentors can make a lasting impression by spending just 1 hour per week. “Just from our last 3 months of Liv.True we were able to connect with and get resources for a young boy who had thoughts of suicide. We were also able to help a young girl learn how to treat others better and to stop bullying.” Mentoring makes a difference and SAVES LIVES.
“Those teens in our mentoring program feel their mentors are some of the most trustworthy people. The youth really appreciate the chance to open up to someone,” says Jennifer. Teens need accountability and structure in their life. Many families are either single parent families or have two parents both working for extra income.This leaves teenagers a lot of time with no accountability or supervision. Having a one hour mentoring program allows them the companionship and instruction they need to make wise choices and discuss topics important to them.
“All of my mentors and myself are constantly honored about the chance to be the solution within our community. Liv.True mentors see firsthand the problems facing today's youth. Rather than complain about them and leave our youth to go it alone, these regular people with families, jobs, and countless other commitments have chosen to take time out of their week to help young people. This is why National Mentoring Month is so important. If I have the privilege of working with such selfless and dedicated mentors, I can only imagine the caliber of mentors that can be found nationwide,” says Jennifer.
Liv.True is a 1.5 hour weekly mentoring program held at multiple sites around Northwest Indiana. Liv.True mentors are trained and facilitate a program to encourage positive relationships and help students achieve their dreams.
If you would like more information on the Liv.True program or if you would like to volunteer your time to be Liv.True Mentor, please contact Jennifer Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org. OR call 219.LIV.TRUE (219.548-8783). To volunteer click the button below and get started right away!
A Positive Approach to Teen Health (P.A.T.H) is a 501(c)3 organization that reaches seven counties throughout Northwest Indiana. Since 1993, A Positive Approach to Teen Health has been working to empower teens to make healthy choices regarding drugs, sex, alcohol, and violence.