The Number 1 reason most teens start drinking is surprisingly simple!
If you effectively address this issue, you will resolve almost every concern you now have about the role drugs, sex and rock and roll (or hip-hop!) will play… and I will even help you do it.
Q: So what is the reason?
A: To feel grown up and to prove TO THEMSELVES that they are grown up.
It is not because of peer pressure and wanting to fit in (that is #2), nor is it because of curiosity ( #3).
Thus all the lessons in how to handle peer pressure or education about health risks will barely make a dent in how much they drink!
All that well intentioned effort never has worked and never will.
Here’s why, and here’s what will work:
Teens reach a point in life where they no longer perceive themselves as kids, nor do they want to be perceived as kids. They reach this awakening and realization typically by 16 years old.
It happened for you, just as it happens for them.
Historically adults recognized this critical shift in their youth. Then they had a system in place to ensure that when it happened, they stopped being treated like kids, and were appropriately trained and readied to take their place in the community as adults.
Our modern society that has developed over the past 150 years, offers no clear, universal demarcation between childhood and adulthood. The traditional all-encompassing initiatory rites-of-passages have all but disappeared in any truly meaningful way.
In lieu of this, teens just do what they see grown-ups do:
Things like drink “adult beverages”, have sex, smoke, etc. All the things laws and “R” ratings do to keep out of the lives of children.
Think about your own life history:
When this awakening happened for you, did the adult world around you recognize it, update their relationships and expectations for you, and give you the opportunities you needed to fully grow into the adult you had the potential to become?
If not, how might your life have been different if they did?
I can tell you, because I see it all the time in my practice.
I see the remarkable transformation that happens when teens begin getting their legitimate needs for guidance, mentoring and experiences that mature them properly met. The way they start being excited about life again, more engaging with their parents, inspired by the possibilities for their lives, more positive… The way they make healthier choices, associate with more positive people… the list goes on.
Yet in spite of this, no matter how many times parents hear this message and the overwhelming evidence I can point to, most of them ignore it. Most people reading this even now will too… They’ll say “oh that’s interesting” then get on to what they believe is more important… but isn’t.
Repeatedly I see what happens in their families when their teens’ needs for growth and evolution are not met. I get the late night calls from parents just as I do from their kids.
The symptoms run the gamut:
- Losing motivation.
- Sneaking out.
- Temper tantrums.
- Getting depressed.
- Anxiety attacks.
- Reckless behavior.
- Acting out in school.
- Going internal and not talking at all.
- Indifference towards school.
- Sexual promiscuity.
Here’s the greatest dilemma parents face today:
Unless you (we) as parents personally decide to make ensuring your teen gets the mentoring, training and experiences that will transform them into adults when they are actually ready for this, they won’t.
They need more than what happens ‘naturally’. Without getting this “more” that they need, they are destined to spend years, if not decades struggling to learn things and mature in ways that they should have learned and gotten to by the time they are 16 or 18… And the cost to them, and society, is enormous.
It doesn’t have to be that way for your son or daughter!
I’ve spend more than two decades learning and mastering the art of Mentoring youth across the threshold of adolescence into mature, responsible adulthood… Filling a void that has been left by a society whose values in terms of time and priorities, has mostly turned its back on this sacred responsibility.
I urge you not to wait until the dark cloud of unlived life settles over your teen… Don’t wait until the tantrums, the negativity or isolation shows up in your home… Don’t wait until the cynicism about learning and burn-out on school impacts their grades, or worse, their health… Don’t wait until the glazed eyes and lies about their substance use becomes a regular worry for you and a damaging problem for them…
There are things you can do right now!
Recognize that there is a whole domain of life that they need exposure to… a whole realm of experiences where learning resides that will fulfill them… that will complete their transformation from child to adult, from just potential to their unique gifts and greatness realized.
Participating in the kinds of experiences I write about or that I am offering through Evolution Mentoring, will do more than just help… this can complete the journey, setting them in a direction where the best in them and for them resides, waiting to emerge into the world.
The vast majority of folks who read this message will ignore it. Then they’ll wake up one night two years from now to that phone call from the cops that their kid has been caught shoplifting or passed out drunk… and resort to all the things that don’t work – like punishments, psychotherapy, long lectures.
Please don’t be one of them.
Our kids – and our world – need us to step up and offer them what does work. Please join me in my quest to help ensure they get it.
PS: If you are in San Francisco or Marin, I am offering an *All New* High School Boys Mentoring Group starting October 2nd. Sorry but space is limited. If you want your son to get involved, I encourage you to register as soon as possible: http://www.leiken.com/high-school-boys-group
PPS: I have several spots available in my Private Practice. Location is not relevant. I work with teens and young adults across North America and Europe. Contact me for a free consultation. Jeff@Leiken.com 415.441.8218