Drugs, Sex and Violence

Ever notice the hollow empty eyes of many middle and high school children today? How few smiles exist and how many non-answers we get as parents trying to relate to our adolescents? Mary had always prided herself on being a “with it” parent. Her own parents had been, in her mind, narrow-minded and legalistic. Mary had determined to not burden her daughter with do’s and don’ts. Mary wanted her to make her own decisions. She always pointed confidently to the fact that she and her daughter could talk about anything. Sometimes her daughter shocked her as she talked about her friends and what they did. Mary never suspected any problems with Brianna. Mary was a single parent and had to work long hours and be away from Brianna for extended periods of time. Brianna’s clothes were funny to mom, her hair a strange burgundy color, and her music was loud and hard. Mary never listened to the words of Brianna’s music. Brianna told mom she just like the hard driven beat, that she didn’t listen to the words anyway. Brianna had a lot of posters of musicians on her wall, groups such as DMX, KORN, Marilyn Manson, Kid Rock and Insane Klown Posse. Mom thought these must be the “cool teen groups” like when she was growing up.

Mary was shocked to find her 14-year-old daughter in bed with a boy from school when she returned home early one day. Mom, of course, threw the boy out of the house and mother and daughter yelled briefly. Mary was shocked at her daughter’s indifference about this situation. Over the next few weeks, Mary began to discover disturbing behavior in Brianna: smoking pot, drinking at parties, and her casual attitude about sex.

Mary actually began to notice the hollow look. She noticed how her daughter avoided eye contact and how her friendliness was actually superficial. Many teens form families among their peers. While historically teens have thought that their peers are more important than parents, today’s teens are often so detached from parents that they no longer look to parents to meaningfully lead their lives.

For discipline to be effective with teens, they have to care about the person disciplining them. While Mary had tried to be her daughter’s friend, she really hadn’t stayed ‘tuned in” to the person her daughter was becoming. For teens to care about their relationship with parents, parents must invest in ways that develop connection with children. As parents, if you were to be convicted of creating a bond with your teen, would there be enough evidence to convict you? How significant does your teenager see you being as a resource for leading their life?

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