Monday, March 18, 2013

Mommy Monday: Busting bad-news myths about teens

Relationship advice

Busting bad-news myths about teens

Teenagers often get a bad rap. It can sound like every teen is moody, getting drunk, having sex, being bullied and experimenting with drugs from the moment they hit adolescence.
Yett the facts and figures can tell a different story – and many experts in the area of adolescent health and support are urging parents to promote the good news rather than normalising more risky or unacceptable behaviours.
Robyn Richardson, who is national manager program development at Life Education Australia - which provides drug and health education at schools around Australia - says that it’s important kids don’t grow up thinking it’s normal for teens to smoke, for example, or that they’ll probably be bullied, “because the figures don’t support that”.
She calls on parents to equip themselves with the information available and challenge those myths, pointing out that a higher percentage don’t drink to excess and have never smoked or been cyber bullied.

The truth about our teens

  • Smoking: A 2008 survey of Australian secondary school students found that 6.9 percent of boys aged 12 to 17 and 7.7 percent of girls in the same age group had smoked in the past week – so parents should point out to their kids that at least 92 percent of teens don’t smoke.
  • Sex: Not every teenager is having sex – in fact, 2008 figures shown that about 75 percent of Year 10 students (aged about 16) had never had sex and about half of Year 12 students (average age: 18).
  • Alcohol: Almost 60 percent of 12-17 year olds have never consumed alcohol, according to the 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, and the number of 12-15 year olds abstaining from alcohol increased from 69.9 percent in 2007 to 77.7 percent in 2010) as did the number of 16-17 year olds (from 24.4 percent to 31.6 percent).
  • Cyberbullying: Nine out of 10 kids have never been cyberbullied, according to recent figures from the National Centre Against Bullying.
  • Cannabis: Only 14 percent of all secondary school students aged between 12 and 17 years reported using cannabis (marijuana) at some time in their life, according to the 2008 Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances, which means that a whopping 86 percent never have.
  • Ecstasy: More than 96 percent of teens aged under 18 have never used ecstasy.

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