The first meeting in a series of educational seminars started by Crescenta Valley High School Principal Linda Evans was held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 5 in the school’s library.
The seminars will explore a variety of issues concerning parents and students. Last week’s meeting was on the relationship between parents and their teenagers and how it changes as the child grows. Licensed clinical social worker Paul Royer, who is also a Crescenta Valley resident, talked to about 40 parents about how to deal with teen attitudes, drugs and alcohol.
“When your children are younger, they require a more structured [parenting],” Royer said. “The responsibility becomes less on you and more on them If you have to monitor your 18-year-old you can’t send that child away to college. If they aren’t ready here, they won’t be ready there.”
Royer spoke bluntly with parents about drug use in high school and cautioned them that if their child has a drug problem in high school, they will have one in college.
He added that it is cigarette smoking, not marijuana, that is the first drug most students use and become addicted to.
Some parents voiced their concern about alcohol and how their child views it.
“Teenagers drink for acceptance,” Royer said. “Kids don’t drink to relax; they binge drink. They don’t come home and sit down with a beer and relax in front of the TV. They drink for the story they can tell their friends.”
He explained that some parents will say that their child is different and can handle drinking. They bring up the fact that in Europe kids drink at a young age.
“That’s not our culture,” he said.
He reminded parents to look at the reason their child uses drugs or alcohol and not to compare them to other cultures.
Evans said that there are drugs on the campus of the high school and that parents must be educated to that fact and they must talk to their children.
“When your kids walk in the door at night, always greet them when they come in,” she said. “That is a rule I used with my kids.”
She added that being a responsible parent and setting boundaries are important even if they complain that you are unfair. She warned that kids will be offered drugs or alcohol if they are at a party, but they can tell their friends that they can’t use because “my mom will be waiting for me at the door.”
“It is always good to give them an out,” she said. “It gives them an excuse not to go the [wrong] way.”