Okay, it’s 10pm. Do you know where your kids are? Bet you don’t…

Wonderful study done in the UK. I know the results apply just as well in the U.S.

“Conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Research’s Understanding Society, the study asked more than 2,000 10- to 15-year-olds in the United Kingdom how frequently they stayed out past 9 p.m. without their parents knowing where they were. According to the data, among 15-year-olds, 36 percent of boys and nearly a quarter of girls said their parents — at least once a month — do not know where they are. Moreover, 64 percent of 15-year-old girls who stay out frequently past 9 p.m. without their parents’ knowledge said they had consumed alcohol more than once in the last month, compared with only 25 percent of girls who had not stayed out in the past month. In addition, 18 percent of girls who said they had not stayed out past 9 p.m. reported smoking, and the number climbed to 51 percent among girls who stay out frequently.” (from an article by Teddi Dineley Johnson in The Nation’s Health.
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What?! You mean my kids are actually listening to me?

A new study done by The Century Council, a leading non-profit dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking found that, contrary to what you might think (and to what teens would admit to mom and pop), parents are are the leading influence on their children’s decision not to drink alcohol. Yep, you read that right. In fact, parental influence has increased substantially over the past ten years.

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What’s Eating You?

Dear Mr. Dad: Our son is only 10, but he is already extremely overweight. He loves food and we don’t want to deny him his favorite dishes, but we’re starting to get worried about his health. What should we do?

A: You’re absolutely right to be concerned. Obesity in this country is a huge problem. And it’s getting bigger by the day. Back in the 1960s, fewer than one in ten kids 6-19 were considered overweight. Today it’s more than one in three. Put a little differently, when you were growing up, the average child drank three glasses of milk for every one of soda. Today, kids are drinking twice as much soda as milk.
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Dropping Out of School is Not an Option

Dear Mr. Dad: Our 15-year-old son wants to quit school and get a job. He has struggled academically but we always assumed he’d graduate and go on to college. We’re trying hard to dissuade him from quitting, but he says he can always get a GED later. What can we do?

A: Having been in exactly the same spot as your son—and having a teenager of my own who’s talked about leaving school—I don’t think that most high-schoolers are mature enough to make decisions on their own about things that could affect them for the rest of their lives.

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Underage Drinking

Dear Mr. Dad: We’ve suspected for some time that our 15-year-old daughter has been drinking with her friends. Last night she came home, after curfew, with alcohol on her breath. When we confronted her, she said it’s “no big deal” and “everyone” in her group of friends is doing it. What should we do?

A: Your daughter is right about one thing: a lot of her friends probably are drinking. But she’s very, very wrong about it not being a “big deal.” According to the American Medical Association, the average age of a child’s first drink is 12. And nearly 20 percent of 12-20 year-olds are considered binge drinkers.
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Helping teens overcome self-injury

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m really worried about my daughter. She’s a sophomore in high school and until the beginning of this year she was a happy, cheerful girl. Recently, though, she’s been losing a lot of weight and is always wearing big long sleeve shirts. She won’t show her mother or me her arms or her body. She’s also very secretive and spends a lot of time alone in her room. My wife and I are terrified that our daughter is cutting herself, and we’re both really scared for her safety. What can we do?

A: Okay, the very first thing you need to do is get a health professional involved. Unexplained weight loss, sudden changes in behavior, unexplained major mood changes and weight loss are all major red flags. Keep a detailed record of what you see your daughter eating over the course of a week, as well as any behavior that concerns you. Then, take your notes to your family doctor and get his or her advice.

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