Article by Ian Grande
A series of recent events have jump started the discussion about teen drug/alcohol use in the Stanley area.
Let me start off by saying that this is a very complex issue. Teens using drugs and/or alcohol is not a new issue and is definitely not unique to Stanley.
Contributing to the complexity of the issue, is the rash of accounts that are being thrown around that are both anecdotal and wrought with obvious hyperbole. This makes getting an accurate picture of the issue much more difficult.
Regardless of what the true scale is, most people in the community would agree that there is problem that needs to be addressed. Vigilance and discussion on this issue is a welcomed site.
Less excuses, more accountabilty
Convincing teenagers to make wholesome decisions is often an uphill climb, regardless of geography. Teenagers are naturally rebellious and the rapid increase in the number of parents willing to make excuses for their child’s inappropriate behavior is clearly not helping the problem.
A blatant example of this can be seen at sporting events across the country. Parents are constantly berating refs or blaming the coaches anytime their son or daughter doesn’t play well.
The worst cases usually happen inside the school. Certain parents will be screaming from the rooftops about tightening the discipline up at the school and then three months later they will storm into the building to lay into a teacher or administrator for taking away little Johnny’s cell phone after he was caught using it to go on Facebook during class.
It makes it really difficult for authority figures to have any type of positive influence on teens when they are consistently undermined by parents.
A little food for thought
If a young athlete is constantly hearing about how bad the officials are from his/her parents, do you honestly think he/she is going to respect the officials on the court?
If a student hears how incompetent the teachers/administrators are at school from their parents, do you think that student is going to respect the rules of the school?
If a teenager witnesses their parents getting drunk on a routine basis, do you think they are going to take the “there better not be any drinking at that party or else” conversation very seriously?
If a student-athlete breaks a rule/law and gets suspended for 6 weeks from activities, only to have their parents go in to “talk to administration” to try “get’em off the hook”, do you think the student will try to avoid this behavior in the future?
Antidote to peer pressure, drugs, and alcohol
My hope is that this article, especially this next part, doesn’t come off as too sanctimonious:
I was very fortunate that my peer group in high school had no interest in joining the drug/alcohol scene. Many of us played hockey together so there was an element of accountability, a strong desire to not let the team down.
Another key was that many of our group members had parents that demanded accountability. It was pretty clear what was acceptable and what wasn’t.
Also, many of the members in our peer group were rooted in the church. The church was an excellent outlet for our peer group to develop a strong value system.
A tight-knit peer group comprised of high-character individuals, parents that demanded accountability, and a strong church influence are three elements that will go a long way to help students rise above the influence.
I recognize that my high school experience is far from the norm, but the lasting takeaway for me was that surrounding yourself with high character people is the best way to avoid making costly mistakes. Here’s hoping that the kids in town will recognize that lesson as well.
It is excellent to see that parents, school leaders, and community members are taking an aggressive stance on teen drug/alcohol use in the community.
Demanding accountability out of your child is not too much to ask. If your child isn’t going to respect your authority, why would they respect any of the other authority figures in their life?
New Classified Section
The Stanley Gazette recently launched a new classifieds section (Link Here). This section will provide readers with the latest job, real estate, auto, and agricultural postings.
We have also launched a business directory page (Link Here). This which will provide readers with more detailed information on the businesses in the greater Stanley, North Dakota area.
These are both excellent options for businesses in this region to reach a local audience in a very cost effective manner. For more information on advertising options please email: StanleyGazette@gmail.com
*Ian Grande is the Editor of the Stanley Gazette. If you have any comments or concerns please email StanleyGazette@gmail.com
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