Saturday, December 17, 2016

YAB Teens on keeping it real, the teen experience, the holidays and share their new year resolutions.

People just don’t understand …

People don’t realize just how many of us teens don’t want to do drugs and party.  Sometimes when I talk to people they think I don’t care about global issues or that I don’t think about the world around me or my privilege.  I think about these things extensively, but I don’t feel I am given even a chance to express this or that I can change anything in the world.

Teens, you have options and opportunity and things are never set in stone.  Friends don’t necessarily stay the same, and family doesn’t stay the same…. You just must learn to adapt.

The level of pressure that teens today are under.  Whether it’s parents, friends, teachers or coaches, many people in our lives expect a lot from us.  I think they tend to forget that we have other responsibilities and that we are still learning how to handle it all.

How hard it is to remain sober in this type of society – with the pressures we face.  Social media dictates our everyday actions and moral values.  It takes work to be who you are or who you want to be.

High school is very hard when you are juggling school work, sports, extracurriculars and friends.  I think the key is to find the time for yourself to relax and take a break from the madness of school.

That paths change and that there are alternative paths to being successful and achieving your goals.  There is so much more time left and you don’t always need to rush things.

There is a lot of pressure on us to succeed and to do well at everything; grades, college… it is just a lot to handle.

What do you want to share about your teen experience?

I want to share that I don’t understand the motivation to party and don’t find it fun or see the point.  I’ve seen a lot of negative outcomes from drinking and doing drugs and I have a passion for making a positive difference.

What do people think or judge about teens that just isn’t true?

That smart people don’t want to have fun... or fun people aren’t smart.  We need to stop putting people in boxes.  Let them all be who they are.

People seem to think that we teens aren’t aware enough to participate in “grown-up” conversations.  What I think the case is, is that we can offer a new perspective.

They think we’re stubborn and don’t want to learn things from other people.

That not everyone drinks or parties as a teenager.  It’s okay to do your own thing. 

What are you looking forward to over the Holidays?

I’m looking forward to just being free of assignments and to just experience things and be present without the added stress of school.

I can’t wait to spend time with my family and friends!  I am traveling overseas with my school.  I love the human warmth and joy everywhere I go this time of year J

Spending time with my crazy, loud family J  and seeing my friends from my hometown.

I am looking forward to the break from school, work and stress.  And, being with family and friends J

I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and eating some good comfort food from the south J

What are your New Year resolutions?

To be okay with myself and improve my lifestyle for my own well-being.

To jump back into my healthy routine, strengthen relationships, and  to mediate and attend church more.

To stay focused and to manage my time well.

To try to be better to myself and those around me by being more positive and capable of letting go of the past.

To be happy, healthy and less stressed J


Thursday, November 3, 2016

YAB Teens on partying trends; what, how, why….. AND how to handle the pressure.

Q. What are the trends in teen partying?  Are teens partying more or less in the summer?  During the school year?  On weekends?  During the week?  At school related events?  
Teens Answer:
  • I think partying has become popular year round.  A lot of partying stems off of school events like dances and sports events.  More people attend those events and are looking for something fun and daring to do after.
  • People at my school party a lot more during the summer – at concerts and music festivals.  On weekends is when people typically party during the school year.
  • Teens party a lot more during the summer – sometimes almost every day of the week.  During the school year, people party on the weekends, and at school events – especially Friday night football games.  Teens are partying before the game, are “lit” at the game, and then it continues at the after parties.
Q. Where do teens typically party?
Teens Answer:
  • I see people smoking weed in cars or out in the woods – although that’s just small numbers of people.  I also think that kids sometimes party at school or just before games/dances.  Other than that, people and parents do host parties at their houses.
  • A lot of kids put alcohol in their cars for “pre-partying”.  There are a lot of home parties where the parents are fully aware of what’s happening but would rather have all the drinking contained.
  • Teens mostly party at homes and most parents are aware and allow the drinking to happen in their house.
  • I am aware of lots of kids smoking weed in cars.
Q.  Why do you think teens are choosing to party – since they probably know it’s wrong and illegal?  Do you think they think of their goals?  Values?
Teens Answer:
  • I know kids who choose to party because of the pressure of school -- they want to just have some “fun” once a week.  Some have goals, but I don’t think that affects if someone drinks or not.
  • I think it’s all about social status.  The higher up the ladder you are the more you feel you have to act a certain way – party and drink.
  • I think teens feel that drinking is the only way to have fun.  They also want to fit-in with what everyone else is doing.
  • Some teens do it for popularity, some do it because of peer pressure.  They all have goals and values except they think doing these things isn’t a big deal or they don’t think it will affect them.
  • I think a lot of teens choose to party because they are bored and looking for fulfillment.
Q.  What do you think drives teens to drink and drug more often – to the point of a problem?
Teens Answer:
  • I think drinking and drug use becomes a problem when it stops being just a social thing and they start drinking or using drugs by themselves out of necessity…. to escape the pressure.
  • Peer pressure.  People say it’s not real, but it is.  People don’t want to be left out or looked at differently by their friends.
  • Addiction -- they like how it feels and feel like they need to.  And peer pressure – they feel like it will bring t them closer to their friends.

Q. How do you handle peer pressure if you’re at a party or in a situation where there is partying going on?
Teens Answer:
·         I think teens should be able to just say “No” Or use athletics, grades or other things important to you as an excuse.
·         I just say “No thanks.”  But honestly from what I see, most of the time people end up succumbing to the pressure. 
·         I know I don’t want to drink – I don’t see the point or fun in doing it.  If other people around me want to drink I won’t judge them, but I never let it affect me or pressure me.
·         In my opinion, peer pressure is an internal force instead of something forced upon students.  It is easy for me to turn down offers because I know no one cares if I don’t.
Q. We are hearing just how much stress and pressure teens are feeling.  Like they are so overwhelmed and think they cannot make a mistake.  So then, how do you handle the stress, pressure and your anxiety?  Do you feel you have resources and/or support or someone to go to?  If not, what else can be done to better support you?
Teens Answer:
·         When I’m stressed, I sit down and do something I love – like my art.
·         If I am stressed I try working it out with exercise – that helps and it is good for you.  Also, taking time away from school and homework to hang out with my friends helps me.
·         I feel like things are becoming so competitive and this just stresses us out.  But I do feel we have support – through our friends, adults and counselors.
·         I try to take some time for myself and I find or designate time to relax.  I also talk to my friends who can relate to my situation.
·         I feel like I can talk to my parents about any problems I’m having.  I think more teens could open to their parents, counselors or adults, but they don’t think they can.
·         If I’m feeling stressed about school I try to remind myself that it’s not as big of a deal as it seems and there’s always an alternative.  It’s important for teens to know that they are not alone in your stress, pressures and problems.

#teenstalkingaboutthetrends  #Peoplelistenup!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Summer is winding down but the YAB teens have not. Check out what we've been talking about....

YAB’s talk and answer questions on teen trends, access, effective messages, dealing with stress, and what Parents need to know….

Q. What do think is the biggest problem today with youth substance use?  
Teens Answer:
  • Teenagers are NOT aware of the consequences that alcohol and smoking does to their health.
  • I think drinking is one of the biggest issues.  It is very prevelant at most parties, both big and small
Q. How do teens get access to alcohol?  Weed?
Teens Answer:
  • Older siblings, friends, facke I.D.’s.  Also some parents support drinking and provide it.
  • Teens get alcohol through connections; (someone knows a guy who knows a guy), parents (at home sometimes they know and sometimes they don’t), and older siblings.
  • Teens get weed through connections, and surprisingly, some parents have week and provide it.
Q.  What do you think is an effective message/deterrant for teens to NOT drink or use drugs?
Teens Answer:
  • I think more messages and education that communicates the consequences of drug and alcohol use is needed.
Q.  What is the easiest way for you to stick to your values?
Teens Answer:
  • Remembering your goals is the best way. If you have a plan to achieve your goals, it will be obvious what you can and cannot do in order to succeed.  You will know your values when you search inside yourself and you will stick to them if you truly know it is what you need and want to succeed.
Q. How do you handle stress, pressure and anxiety?  Do you feel you/teens have resources or someone to go to?
Teens Answer:

  •  I do not feel schools do an efficient job at giving us resources or a place to go with our issues OR with showing us alternatives to NOT being perfect.

  •  I try to remember and remind myself that life will go on if I make a mistake.  That and a nice cup of tea helps me calm down. 
  •   I try to read a lot of books to relax.  I also like to sleep when I can, because I normally do not remember what I was stressed about before a nap J

  •  I can handle the stress and pressure as long as I know it’s worth it.  I always look forward to what I will achieve after I get through stressful times.

Q. What do Parents need to know about teens today?  How can Parents handle things better?
Teens Answer:

  • I think Parents should be reminded NOT to support underage drinking by hosting parties and providing or looking the other way when it happens.

  •  Parents need to know the statistics about teen drinking and drug use.  Parents must know that their kids are not perfect and that they may actually be involved in things they should not be.  Parents can also be more understanding and try to be part of the solution not the problem.

  • We don’t try to make mistakes.  We aren’t going to parties to get drunk or get MIP’s deliberately, but when we are put in those situations we do need support and reminders to be able to call our Parents and get their help….. without getting into trouble.  Staying calm in those moments is important… discipline can come later.

  • Parents need to keep an open mind regarding what kids should be able to do and not do.  Maybe back off a little when it’s not a big issue? Kids can be obsessed with a TV show or a sport.  Loving things that are safe should be OK. 

  • Parents need to know that there is a chance their own kid drinks or does drugs no matter how innocent they may seem.  Parents need to make sure they are cautious about that and monitor their actions.


Friday, May 13, 2016

YAB students are talking about teen drug and alcohol use, making choices and facing the consequences….

Q. Do you think teens in our community understand the harm and consequences of drug and alcohol use?   And if so, why do they do it?  

Teens Answer:

  • No, I do not think that teens in our community fully understand the harm and consequences, and when something happens or they are caught, they are shocked by the consequences.
  • I think some understand and just don’t care.  Other choose to drink or use drugs because they want to portray a certain image of themselves to their friends – they cave to the pressure.
  • Teens today are under a lot of stress  and peer pressure and they feel there is nothing or no one for them to turn to -- to handle their problems, so they turn to drugs as an escape.
  • Yes, MOST students I talk to are well informed about potential consequences, but I think that many teens in this community just enjoy drinking and drug use and don’t care about the consequences.  They don’t think they will get in trouble or they are finding ways to get around the consequences.
  • In my opinion, teens don’t understand the consequences because we live in such a privileged community that a lot of times they don’t see anyone who is affected by their drinking or drug use. 
  •  I think it has become popular to just “let it all go” and not care about consequences.
  • I think that some teens know and some do not…. The issue is with those that are aware and still choose to do it anyway. I think they do it because they want to have a good time.  And I think schools threaten  consequences but they never really follow through.
  • I don’t think teens care about the harm or consequences.  I think they know that  serious consequences aren’t always given and they see other people that party and turn out “fine” ….and then they think it’s okay for them as well.
  • I don’t think people are aware that you can’t play sports or can be suspended…. because it seems like many schools try to brush off drug and alcohol issues to maintain their reputation.

Q. What do you think is the biggest most impactful consequence a teen can face?  And how can we better communicate to teens?  To parents?

Teens Answer:

  • College decisions, because that is the most relatable to teens at this point in their life. 
  • I think that schools should hold forums about the consequences.  People just don’t understand an MIP can affect college, jobs, etc.…. And maybe bring people who have gone through substance abuse to reach out and tell their story more.
  • I think that having guest speakers talk to parents and students really helps in getting the message across that consequences are real.
  • College admissions and finishing high school strong.  If they realize these things might not be possible they might rethink their decisions.
  • I think the legal consequences are a big factor, but people can generally get out of that.  I think health consequences are something that most teens don’t think about/aren’t given concrete information about…. So they aren’t as aware. 
  • It definitely needs to be better communicated to parents.  I don’t really know how to do this because it’s difficult to get parents to events.

Q. What message would you send to teens thinking about or just starting to drink or use drugs?

Teens Answer:

  • To really think about and understand the consequences.  And, to go with their natural protective instinct before they choose to do so.  Think before you act. 
  •  Just don’t.  Nothing is worth it.  It’s not worth ruining your life over.
  •  I want them to know that it will affect them for the rest of their lives.  The moment that you decide to take that drink or use that drug, it will most likely be a downhill path from there.  Once you start it’s really hard to stop.  You can save yourself so much suffering by just making the right choice in the first place.


#youmightnot seeittoday#What’syourinfluence?#Livedrug-free

Saturday, February 6, 2016

YAB students are talking about a lot of teen issues; staying motivated at the mid-way point, what stresses them out, what they need for support, why teens experiment and use drugs and alcohol, and what can be done to prevent it.

This will give you an opportunity to check out just some the ongoing dialogue going on at the YAB table.

It’s mid-year/term for many students.  How do you think teens can remain or gain motivation?
  • I think studying for a short period of time and taking short breaks in between.  It also helps to set yourself a schedule throughout the day on what you will do.  It’s really important NOT to wait until the last minute and then overload yourself.  Just take things one at a time.
  • I set small short term goals that I can try and then accomplish.  It really helps me to stay motivated.
  • Think ahead to how mid-terms will be over in a few weeks.  Then think a head to your future J  There is so much to look forward to and that always helps with motivation.  For myself, I try to remember that the stress that comes with school will soon be relieved by long weekends, breaks, late starts, etc.… I also try to keep in mind my goals and what I need to do to accomplish them.
How can schools and parents support teens with the added stress and anxiety they have?
  • Provide more activities that students can do/get involved with to blow off some of the stress from school.  Or, simply just make them laugh.
  • They can support us by just being aware…. and acknowledge what we are going through.  Being someone we can talk to when we need it.
  • I think schools need to take into account the amount of all that is asked of their students… and consider amending some of their policie;, allow for more modifications and extensions.
  • Offer support groups for teens dealing with stress, anxiety or other issues.
  • Schools and parents can support teens dealing with stress by offering extra help.  Empathizing with them would REALLY help.  If teachers see a student is struggling they should try to help them, talk to them and find out more…. instead of dismissing them as lazy or incapable.
  • By teaching in a way that the grade you get on a test is not what defines you.  We are more than a grade, GPA or letter on a piece of paper.
What do you think is the biggest issue teens are dealing with right now?
  • School.  There is so much school related pressure and it can be a lot to deal with.
  • College; their future; the pressure they feel to succeed.
  • Stress, stress, stress.  College is super stressful and there is just a lot going on.
  • I think it’s really hard for teens to deal with “the bigger and better” mentality that schools perpetuate.
  • Going from high school to college; stress, grades, ACT, etc.… The thought of having to be “perfect” really stresses us out.
  • I think the biggest issue for teens is anxiety.  Between trying to maintain a high GPA, a social life and other activities, teens can become stressed and certain aspects of their life will begin to suffer.
Why do you thin teens experiment or begin to use alcohol or drugs?
  • To avoid the stress of what they are dealing with every day.
  • I think some people use it to cope with the things that they are dealing with and some people are influenced by others to start experimenting.
  • Since I was in the 5th grade I was told substance abuse and teens experimenting begin with peer pressure.  But now I realize that many teens experiment and use because of mental health issues that they are not being helped with.
  • I think they might feel overwhelmed by stress or anxiety and don’t really know what else to turn to or how to deal with it effectively and safely.
  • They try it because they see other people doing it…. the “cool” kids and they want to be like them or fit in better.
  • They are just stressed out and learn to develop substance use as an outlet.
  • Boredom or pressure by their friends.
  • It’s the same psychology we have as child when your Mom tells you not to do something; you want to and will find a way to do it anyway.
  • Pressure; peer and self-pressure.  We see others doing it and we want to do the same.  They think that if their peers don’t show consequences, they won’t either.
What do you think needs to be done to prevent teen substance use/abuse?
  • I think much more awareness should be spread on the damage drugs and alcohol puts on teens and the effect on others around them.
  • Change the way we educate and make teens aware of drinking and drug use.  Teens need to see it in a more serious consequential way. Not just with facts and stats, but teens need to hear from real people and their real-life consequences and issues that have happened.
  • Alternative ways of having fun are available… kids just need to know or be reminded.  Other ways to cope relax and de-stress also need to be made available.
  • More fun alternatives and education about substance abuse would help prevent kids from turning to drugs and alcohol.