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8 Things Teenagers Need to Know From Their “Stupid” Parents

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Yes, I may have been a teenager in the “olden days” – before smartphones became an extra appendage (or were even invented for that matter), before you could record your favorite television shows and watch them according to your schedule (yes tv was invented already), and before “phat” meant “cool”. Even though the world as I knew it as a teenager seems completely different than the one you know as a teenager, there are many rules that still apply to you as they did to me and even as they did to teenagers hundreds of years ago. Some things don’t change. Here are 7 things that don’t change no matter how “phat” you are.

1. Being a teenager is hard

Being a teenager is hard. Very hard. Being successful in life in the teenage years is much more skewed to “social success” than at any other time in your life. Being a teenager is a time when you are discovering who you are, your dreams, your wishes, the kind of person you want to be in this world. You are part child and part adult. You are also faced with an infinite amount of pressure. Your parents. Your siblings. Your teachers. Your boss. Your friends. Your foes. Your peers. All of these people pull you in different directions. All of these people want from you. They need from you. They expect from you. The world expects things. Society expects things. You don’t want to disappoint. You want to be you but you also want to be liked. That is a very hard balance to achieve for anyone, but especially for a teenager due to the pressure to act and look a certain way. We were teenagers once. We know that struggle. We tried to find that balance. It came easier for some of us than others. We felt your pain. We cried the same tears. We thought there was no hope. We can all tell you that it does get better. We promise. There are still pressures and struggles in adulthood but they are much less orchestrated by peer pressure and popularity and reputation. You have a lot less ”bosses” which also mean you have more control over you and what you want out of life.

2. Just because you are cool now doesn’t mean you will be cool later

Teenager jumping.In high school, materialistic things like wearing brand name clothes or owning the latest technological devices might make you cool. Being good at sports might make you cool. Defying authority like back talking teachers, not completing assignments, skipping classes or sneaking out after curfew, may make you cool. Drinking alcohol or doing drugs may make you cool. Having a lot of sex might make you cool. Cheating on your partner might make you cool. Putting others down might make you cool. Just because these things make you cool now, does not mean they will make you cool later. In adulthood people tend to value personal integrity and respect for others very highly. In adulthood no one cares about your sexual achievements or if you are wearing the most expensive shoes ever. In adulthood, cheating on your partner or not doing your share at work or in your marriage is considered very uncool and unacceptable. For the most part, all of the things that may have made you cool in your teenage years, will likely only hinder your success as an adult. Consider that in all the decisions you make as a teenager.

3. Sex causes pregnancy

No matter what sex may do to increase your popularity rating, it always has and always will have the possibility of resulting in pregnancy. Although humans have sex together for many reasons other than “mating”, the biological basis for sexual intercourse in all animals (scientifically speaking that is what we are) is for reproduction. That’s why, for sex between a guy and a girl, no matter where you have sex, how long it lasts, or how good it was, pregnancy can occur. No form of birth control is 100% effective so no matter where having a baby ranks on your list of reasons you had sex in the first place, it is the ONLY goal that is guaranteed might be achieved each and every time you have sex. Close up of pregnant teenager

4. Sex spreads STIs

So back in our day sexually transmitted infections were referred to as STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) until the scientific community decided that STIs (sexually transmitted infections) was a better term since a person can be infected and potentially infect others without actually having a disease. Regardless of what name we know them by, STIs have been well known for hundreds of years and can be spread through any form of sexual behavior – vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, or oral sex. You can contract an STI even if you engage in sexual behavior only one time. You can contract STIs regardless of sexual orientation.

5. ALWAYS use protection when having sex

Even though no one form of protection/birth control is 100% effective, the odds are “ever in your favor” of not getting pregnant and not contracting an STI if you use it. The birth control pill is usually stated as being about 96-99% effective in preventing pregnancy but this is if it is used correctly. The more likely effectiveness of the birth control pill due to user error is more like 87%. Obviously 87% is far better than not taking the pill at all. However, the birth control pill ONLY prevents pregnancy and still leaves both partners susceptible to contracting STIs. Condoms, when used correctly, are highly effective in preventing both pregnancy (about 85% of the time) and the spread of some common STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. They provide some protection against genital ulcer STIs such as herpes and syphilis as well. Research your birth control and STI prevention options before having sex and determine what will work best for you. There are more out there than the birth control pill and regular old condom. Your chances of becoming pregnant or contracting an STI with no protection at all are 100% up to fate. Take control of your own destiny. If you are having sex, ALWAYS use protection.

6. Drugs are dangerous

Drugs are chemicals or substances that we take to change the way our bodies work. Prescription drugs are prescribed by medical doctors to change the way our bodies work in order to benefit our health. Unfortunately, if not taken according to the doctor’s orders, they are just as deadly as any street drug. You are never supposed to take any other person’s medicine. It is prescribed and dosed to them based on many factors including age, weight and other medications they may be taking that may interact with the new drug the doctor has prescribed. So don’t be fooled. Just because I take a certain medication every single day and I am fine, does not mean it cannot kill you the very first time you take it.

Drugs can kill you directly (overdose or excessive use over time) or indirectly. Needle users can contract lethal infections and driving under the influence of any drug can cause fatal vehicle accidents, for instance. All drugs affect our judgment and lower our inhibitions. Many people become more violent under the influence of drugs. You are more likely to put yourself in dangerous situations when you are under the influence of drugs. Activities you have no trouble doing while sober become increasingly dangerous when you are under the influence, such as swimming, making a campfire, etc.

Alcohol is a drug. It is the only legal drug I can think of. But of course it is only legal to those who meet the legal drinking age. Alcohol can kill just like any other drug we put into our body. And you can overdose on alcohol just as you can on any other drug.

Street drugs have an added danger to them. The people who make them don’t care about quality. And they certainly don’t care about you. They only care about money. You never know exactly what you are getting when you buy a street drug. Drugs are not required to come with labels and are not required to meet any standards. With street drugs you have NO IDEA what you are putting in your body. I bet if I whipped up some concoction in the kitchen, called it supper and put it on a plate in front of you with no further explanation, you would refuse to eat it. And I wouldn’t blame you. I would think you were smart. I would expect the same intelligence you used in refusing my “chef’s surprise” to be used when considering street drugs. And I can assure you the worst reaction to my chef’s surprise might be a little colon cleansing action. Can’t say the same of street drugs.

7. NEVER drive under the influence

Beer in a mugDriving under the influence of any drug is NEVER acceptable and can have fatal consequences. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a big problem and it shouldn’t be. There are ALWAYS alternatives to getting behind the wheel of a car drunk. Teenagers are known for being able to think fast and creatively to get themselves out of situations in order to avoid the consequences so think! Drinking and driving is BIG trouble and the potential consequences of driving a vehicle while drunk are far more serious than any ”parental smack down” you could ever experience. NEVER drinking and driving also refers to NEVER letting your friends drive drunk (alone or with passengers) and NEVER being a passenger in the car with a driver who has been drinking. The safest way to know if you are fit to be behind the wheel of the car is to not have a single drop of alcohol. Your blood-alcohol level is determined by so many factors (age, gender, body weight, type of alcohol you drank, amount of alcohol you drank, how fast you drank, food content of your stomach when you drank, how much blood you have in your body, your emotional state, and the list goes on and on) that you will not be able to determine whether you are within the legal limit or not. You may be too drunk to drive and not even realize it. You don’t necessarily “feel” it if you are too impaired to function properly. The legal drinking age in Canada is 19 (18 in Quebec) so the majority of Canadian teenagers should not even have to worry about drinking and driving, right? And absolutely no American teenagers should ever be caught drunk behind the wheel of a vehicle since the legal drinking age is 21. Contrary to popular belief, parents are not stupid. We all know that despite these legal drinking ages, our teenagers may find themselves in a situation where they may have to decide not to drive drunk or to choose not to be a passenger in a vehicle with a driver who is drunk. All parents will tell you to choose to stay safe. DON’T drink and drive. And never drive or be a passenger in a vehicle with a driver under the influence of any sort of drug, including marijuana.

8. I love you

As “uncool” as it may be to have your mom or dad tell you “I love you” I want you to know it. I love you and I am not afraid to tell you that! No matter how hard it seems I am on you, no matter how unfair I seem to be, I do everything I do because I love you and always will. I am proud of you. No matter how old you get, you will always be my baby.

teenager with_her_mother_s22_08_part

 

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