Parenting Resources

Monitoring Adolescents

It turns out Tom Gregory was exactly right when he decided to ask his question of parents at 10 p.m.  The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found the later teens are out on school nights, the more likely they are to use alcohol or drugs – even if they are at a friend’s home.  50% of teens coming home after 10 p.m. say they have been with other teens who are using alcohol, marijuana or other drugs – and this is data from 2008, so incidence is most likely higher now.  CASAColumbia  August 2008  National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIII:  Teens and Parents
The same research center demonstrated the importance of parental monitoring in 2000 and 2001, surveying teens who self-identified as living with a parent who monitored everything and established rules of behavior versus those teens whose parents were considered “hands off”.  “Hands on” parents not only monitored TV, internet and music , friends and activities, they also required the teens to do chores, imposed a curfew, conveyed their values and ate dinner with their teens at least six times a week.

Only 27% of teens lived with a “hands on” parent in 2000, but these teens reported better relationships with their parents and were much less likely to participate in any high risk behavior.

For instance, teens whose parents did not monitor their TV, internet and music use were at twice the risk for substance abuse.  Teens whose parents did not convey a negative message about marijuana were at three times the risk for marijuana use.
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.“National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse VI: Teens
February 2001

So - the message is:

  • Monitor everything
  • Convey your values
  • Set a curfew - especially on school nights
  • Eat meals together (see newsletter on Family Meals)

Enjoy your teen and participate in his/her life!