In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Survey: More teens using alcohol, Ecstasy and marijuana

Photo by matchstick/

A new national study released March 2 reported that after a decade of consistent declines, more teens are using alcohol, Ecstasy and marijuana.

The 2009 Partnership Atitude Tracking Study (PATS), sponsored by MetLife Foundation, noted a number of key findings:

  1. The number of teens in grades 9-12 that used alcohol in the past months has grown 11 percent

  2. Ecstasy use in the past year has increased 67 percent

  3. Marijuana use in the past year increased 19 percent

Researchers found that these negative shifts in teen attitudes were linked with the growing belief in the benefits and acceptability of drug use and drinking.

The sponsors of the study also said there was a critical need for parents to be more proactive with their teens. Many parents are not acting early enough to protect their children from the risks of drugs and alcohol, according to the study.

Talking to our kids about drugs and alcohol might not be easy or comfortable--but it's not optional. And there are resources out there to help us start the conversation. Here's one:

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America offers Tips for Raising Drug-Free Teens, including "Your Child Needs You!" a PDF resource parents can download.

Have you talked to your kids about drugs and alcohol? How did the conversation go?

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Survey: What Teen Boys Think About Sex

Photo by adamci/

Moms, you might be surprised by a new survey about what guys think about sex.

That's What He Said, a new survey Seventeen and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, revealed some interesting insights into what guys 15-22 years old think about sex. Twelve hundred (1,200) boys and men were interviewed. Key insights included:

1. More than three-quarters (78%) agree that there is "way too much pressure" from society to have sex.

2. Two-thirds (66%) say they would rather have a girlfriend but no sex compared to only one-third (34%) who say they would prefer to have sex but no girlfriend.

Nearly three out of four (73%) say they have more respect for girls who say no to sex.

3. More than half (56%) say they are "relieved" when their female partner wants to wait to have sex.

4. Nearly 8 in 10 guys (78%) say their girlfriend influences their decisions about sex, and half (51%) say she has a lot of influence.

5. Two-thirds of guys (65%) who have talked to their parents about preventing pregnancy say it was helpful—unfortunately only slightly more than half (53%) report having had such conversations.

This last statistic should be a wake up call for parents. Don't buy into the lie that we don't have influence with our sons (and daughters.) We do. Unfornately, parents can miss--or avoid--the opportunity to talk to their kids about the tough, but oh-so-needed topics like sexual intimacy, choices, dating relationships, pornography and sexting.

What are you doing to make sure that you don't skip the important conversations with your teens?

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