Alcohol and teens, what can we as parents do?

I want to talk about what we as parents can do about underage drinking but first just to summarize, Alcohol is the most frequently used drug by teenagers in the United States. About half of junior high and senior high school students drink alcohol on a monthly basis.

Teens don’t just drink. They binge drink. And they tend to mix other drugs such as marijuana with alcohol.

About 5,000 kids under 21 die every year as a result of underage drinking.

About 1,900 kids under 21 die every year in car crashes involving underage drinking.

Young people are more susceptible to alcohol-induced impairment of their driving skills.

Adolescents who drink are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour; either having sex with an undesirable partner or failing to use birth control leading to an unwanted pregnancy.

Drinking can also lead to impairment of the brains development, heightened depression leading to suicide and decreased academic performance.

So what can we as parents do to stay on top of this and encourage our kids to behave responsibly?First and foremost, we must behave responsibly ourselves. The best example we can set is to not drink at all.  If you do drink however, it is for the sake of the life of your child that you display responsible behavior in your own drinking.  If your child sees you sloppy drunk, falling down, slurring words, they will see that as acceptable behavior.

We need to talk with our kids about alcohol and other drugs at a younger age than we would prefer. They are starting in grade school so we better start talking in grade school. We need to teach them that some people abuse alcohol by drinking too much and too often.  They need to be taught how much is too much.  There is no magic insight or vision that is going to appear before them on their twenty first birthday that will allow them to drink responsibly and minimize the risk of a fatal auto accident.

Let me make one more crucial observation. Many teenagers do not recognize a difference between alcohol and other drugs. Conssymroycupo . I have talked to teens who say, “There is nothing wrong with marijuana, I smoke grass and you drink.  I really see no difference”.

Finally, as I found the hard way, a little beer can be a big problem. Alcohol is a gateway drug and can and frequently does lead to involvement with other substance abuse.

So the bottom line is we as parents have got to set the example and provide the education. To a great extent, our kids will  mimic our behavior.

Please leave me a comment and tell me what you think or ask a question.  Thank you and let’s talk.   Let’s get to know each other.  Good luck in the days, months and years ahead. My wish for you is that your children row up healthy, and contribute to society in a positive way.  We will talk again.  This is Len. Bye for now!


When one parent leaves abruptly

Last night I watched an old movie, Kramer VS Kramer. Have you seen it? In the movie the mother, played by Meryl Streep, decides after 8 years of marriage that she is not happy, fulfilled and fit for her 7 year old son.

The mother leaves

One night she abruptly moves from New York to California and leaves her husband, played by Dustin Hoffman, to raise their 7 year old son alone.  This move was without warning or advanced discussion.  The movie then develops the theme around how Hoffman suddenly becomes a single parent, and learns to juggle home, son and office to rebuild his life and that of his young son.

The mother returns

After an absence of eighteen months, the mother returns, declares herself fit, hires a lawyer and decided she wants her son back.  The movie now develops this theme, and we follow Streep and Hoffman through the courtroom drama of a child custody hearing and the ultimate decision.

And the correct choice is…

What is your opinion?  In the absence of any evidence to suggest neglect, danger or poor care, does  a parent who removes themselves willingly have the right to return after an extended absence and disrupt the life of his/her child and demand custody be returned to them?

Hopefully the best choice is what is right for the child.  What do you think?

Talk soon

Len server ip . . Conssymroycupo . Crazaberamer


“Adventures in Single Parenting” now available in print

“Adventures in Single Parenting” is now released in print format. Printed, bound copies of this contemporary book about being a single parent can be purchased from the CreateSpace book store and also from Amazon.  As always, readers may download a free copy of chapter I and may also purchase a PDF download directly from my store.

“Adventures in Single Parenting” grew out of the experience that I as the author had as a single parent.  I was educated in engineering and was working as an engineer when my two children came to live with me.  Like many single parents, I was totally unprepared for the days and years ahead and learned about parenting the old fashioned way, by doing it.

The book is a collection of my experiences and observations as a single parent and covers such diverse topics as teenagers and sex, learning to drive, sex and the single parent, dating, discipline, running the single parent house and also includes some of my favorite recipes and in general, has a lot of tongue in cheek humor and wisdom derived from my many mistakes and triumphs.

It is the one book I wish I had read before the kids came to live with me.  I hope you get as much out of it as I put into it. If I help you succeed with your children in some small way, I will have succeeded.  If I help a lot, I will have triumphed wildly. Conssymroycupo . Crazaberamer .


So, Is Your Teen Ready for a Drivers License?

Car crashes are the number one cause of teen death in the United States ( Pretty frightening huh?

So, is your child ready for a driver’s license?  As you sit there and contemplate that fact that your teen is clamoring for his or her driver’s license.  “Everyone has one Dad”  “All  my friend are getting theirs”, they tell you.  Of course all their friends are telling their parents that all their friends are getting theirs.  So all the parents are being simultaneously told by all the kids that all the kids are getting theirs: and, if all the parents just stopped and talked to each other, maybe they would agree that none of them should get theirs.

By the time our child is approaching driving age, the demands on us for transportation far exceed our capability as a single parent unless, of course, we are rich enough to be able to afford a maid and a chauffeur. Needless to say that leaves most of us out in the car trying to drive our kid here and there in between all the other things we have to do as single parents just to hold the fort together.

By the time the teen has reached driving age, he or she usually has a myriad of activities to be involved in.

Alright so against your better judgment, you’re going to let your child get his or her driver’s license anyway.

When we consider the enormous risk that automobiles entail, it’s worth the extra precautions to ensure your teen is going where they say and doing what they tell you.  There is a delicate line between not trusting your teen and being especially vigilant.  The family car is one area where the extra vigilance is essential.  If school is 10 miles away and your child just went there and back how’s come the odometer changed by forty miles?  Where did the extra twenty miles go?

I John Q. Parent agree to permit my child to use my car provided my child agrees to and abides by the following conditions.

I John Q. Son agree:
[list style=”list2″ color=”green”]

  • To replace the gas I use.
  • To return at the agreed on time.
  • To only go to the places I have discussed ahead of time and agreed to with my parents.
  • To call for permission to change the agreed to plan or schedule.
  • To be responsible for all damages incurred while the car is in my possession.
  • To NEVER EVER drive after I have taken any alcohol or drugs.
  • I understand that failure to comply with the above rules will result in the suspension of my driving privilege.


The above is a simple contract but captures the essence of what you should reasonably expect from your son or daughter.

Carrying passengers is another issue altogether.  Many states, such as California, restrict the age and or number of passengers a teen driver can carry.  For example, in California now, a teen driver with a provisional drivers license is not permitted to have a passenger younger than 20 in the car unless accompanied by an older driver.  Hopefully this helps reduce the risk.

Still the family car is an area where a single parent must be extra cautious in order to help save their child’s life. Conssymroycupo Crazaberamer


Talking about sex with your kids

There are, to be sure, lots of books on the subject of sexuality, and lots of studies into the awakening awareness of the opposite sex. Let’s start with, “Facts on American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health, February 2012”, Facts on American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health

The good news is teens are waiting longer to have sex and more are using birth control during their first sexual encounter.  In 1995 some 19% of teens reported having sex before age 15.  That number declined to 11% for females and 14% for males in 2006 – 2008.

Although only an average of 13% of teens have had sex by age 15, most initiate sex in their later teen years.  By their 19th birthday, 70% of teens, both male and female, have had sexual intercourse.

Another piece of good news is that 78% of females and 85% of males reported using contraceptives the first time they had sex.

So it all boils down to one simple undeniable fact.

People have sex and your child’s first sexual experience will probably be in the next few years.  It may have happened already.

So the next question is, “When should I talk to my child about sex”? The answer may shock some of you.  Now is the time to start the conversation.

There is considerable information and a fine resource starting with,  Sex Talk – Have the Sex Talk With Kids of Any Age.

We live in a world that is immersed in, and preoccupied with sex. We use it to sell perfume, cars, clothes and every other commodity.  The television and newspapers are full of it.  The magazine rack is covered with overt sexuality.  If your children don’t see the playboy channel at your house, because you happen to have higher ideals than to permit it in your house, then they will see it at the neighbor’s house.

For some reason, our society seems to have evolved with a belief that if we hide something away from our children, they won’t get into it.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We persist with some silly notion that educating our children properly will hasten the onset of sexual awareness.  Believe me, nothing is sillier.  The onset of sexual awareness is taken care of by the natural flow of hormones rampaging unchecked through the teen age body.  And nothing is destined to cause you more trouble as a parent than to try to hide things from your children.

So now is the time to start talking.  It should be open, frank, and honest.  Babies don’t come from the stork and your children will get educated, if not by you, then by someone else who may or may not teach them the values you wan them to have.  So best to start talking now! Conssymroycupo . Crazaberamer .