N.C. Teens Are Drinking Less, but Smoking and Having Sex More

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A recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention concludes that teenagers in North Carolina are drinking alcohol, but a little less than other peers across the country. N.C. teens are, however, smoking marijuana and having sex a little more than their peers across the country. I don’t put a ton of reliance into stats, though it does give some gauge on what’s happening in the world that affects our children, especially teens who are spreading their wings to leave the nest.

For those of us who have young children, we may need to just relax a bit. Another newly released study suggests that children of parents who are strick tend to be the pot smokers! Experts agree that keeping the lines of communication open between a parent and teen is key to a good relationship, and that approaching a child to converse and reason proves more effective that overbearing messages.

Just last night my husband and I were discussing what it will be like to have a teen in our house. Our little guy is only 4, but we just pondered for a second what he might be like as a teen? My guess is a mind of his own – like many teens. With that in mind, we went down the road of what do we do if he starts running with “the wrong crowd” or is a ring leader of the “wrong crowd.” I don’t know all the answers yet, but do think it’s important as a parent to recognize that even the brightest, most polite and well-mannered teen can also be sneaking around doing inappropriate things.

The underlying message of all this seems to me to be that balance is key to parenting: not too much nor too little, but a good, healthy mix of guidance and respect.