The tempestuous teenage years have always presented challenges for parents. It comes with the natural order for teens growing up on their way to becoming their own independent selves. But let’s get real. Teens today have a tougher challenge than possibly any generation before them to be able to safely navigate their life’s road ahead.
It’s no secret that a prime target audience of the lifestyles of rock stars and celebrities are tweens and teens. Through the miracle of modern media, kids are bombarded virtually every hour of the day with images of irresponsible sex, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, violent and bullying behavior, disregard for core values and troubles with the law. The poor choices and bad behaviors of celebrities often are glamorized and sensationalized, while their consequences are all too often ignored or negated.
How many celebrities and rock stars can you think of who have died from drug and/or alcohol abuse? The average life expectancy is 78.3 years. But did you know the average life expectancy for a rock star is 42 years? Case in point, Superstar Amy Winehouse, 27 years old, died of alcohol poisoning. The singer shot to fame with songs including "Rehab," in which she sums up her view on seeking treatment with the a chorus of "no, no, no."
When teens see the glamorous and famous being rewarded for bad choices how are they supposed to interpret that? When they see celebrities break the law and then receive little-to-no consequences, and all too often are even rewarded with more fame and fortune for doing so, do you ever have concerns about what kind of influence that has on your child?
Though you might want to, you can’t keep your teen in a cocoon and isolated from the world’s craziness. Parents can feel like they don’t have much say so, but studies show otherwise. According to the GfK Roper Youth Report, an online survey of over 1,000 youth ages 8-17 showed that among six things that might affect their decisions about drinking, 74% identified their parents as the leading influence in their lives.
Talk to your kids. Do you know who they view as their role models? Stay tuned in to what is going on in their world and what’s competing for their attention and influencing their lives and their choices. With the infamous ‘whatever-attitudes’ teens are known for, it can undermine a parent’s confidence. All the more reason for parents to remember that at the end of the day, they are the most important role models in their kid’s lives. Speak up. Let them know you care. Let your words, actions and choices be the healthy role model they can count on to create a successful, happy life.