Saturday, November 25, 2017

YAB Teens are talking about teen substance use…. why, what, and how we can do better for our teens.

Q.  When it comes to substance use; drinking, weed, vapes… if teens know it’s wrong, illegal and their parents would disapprove, then why do you think they do it?

A.  I think teens are using because there is a lot of pressure on them about school and their grades from their parents and peers.

A.  I don't think teens really get that it’s wrong.

A. Peer pressure.  Stress and Anxiety.  The need for popularity.  To cope with their problems.

A.  Teens don’t care, they just want to be cool, show off to their friends, rebel against their parents and try to de-stress.

A.  I think teens do it despite knowing the consequences because of the “coolness” factor.  I do think it depends on your friend group though.

A.  There are a few reasons; to try to cover their problems or mask their emotions, or it could be they are trying to boost their social status.

A.  Kids are interested in conforming to the social norms of their friend group.  If someone’s friends are doing drugs, they are more likely to do so as well.

Q.  Do you think teens understand or are aware of the affects, the harm, the consequences of using these substances?


A.       Teens think vapes are a safe alternative to smoking.

A.       Teens don’t understand that vapes contain nicotine or harmful chemicals.  They think it’s just water.

A.      Most teens believe vapes have no harmful effects, but it is really building a foundation for addiction.


A.      I think teens think marijuana is safe because it is natural.

A.      Teens know you can’t OD on marijuana and that makes then believe there is no harm.

A.      Teens are very aware of marijuana, it’s very prevalent.  Unfortunately, it is also a very addictive substance.


A.      I think teens think that because alcohol is a legal substance it is safe for them.

A.      Many do know the risks, but just don’t care, because there is so much peer pressure.

A.      Many teens see their parents and other adults drinking so they think it’s okay.  And, it’s easier to get than other drugs.

A.      I don’t think teens are aware of the long-term effects on their brains and body.

Q.  What should schools and the community do to get a more direct and effective messages to teens?

A.  Have people talk to us about their experiences with drinking and drugs.

A.  Schools shouldn’t give students opportunities to use drugs.  Students are unsupervised a lot, and teaches are uninformed.

A.  We need better counseling at school.  Check-up with your students more regularly – some kids just fall through the cracks.

A.  Better security at school.  More PSA’s and assemblies addressing alcohol and drug use and the consequences.

Q.  What should Parents know OR do to better support their teens?

A.  Parents should let their teens know that there will be consequences, but they will be there for them when they do make a bad choice.

A.  Parents need to understand that teens are easily influenced by their friends, the media and society.

A.  Be more open and less judgmental of your kids.  Too many kids are not trusting of their parents with drug issues.

A.  Pay more attention to your teen -- know what they are doing, who they are with and what’s going on in their daily life.

A.  Show us more examples of real-life tragedies/consequences from people who use substances.

A.  Communicate more with your teen.  Try to really understand what is going on in their lives.

A.  Start talking to your kids about this when they are younger – middle school at least.

Q. What would you like to see addressed?  Do you have any thoughts on messaging or reaching teens better on this issue?

A.  I would like to see Parents be more informed about vaping.  How to recognize the signs, what to look for, and then how to handle it.

A.  The huge amount of stress and anxiety teens are trying to deal with today.  And, the consequences of substance use.

A.  I need everyone to understand that is it so hard to be a teenager today and I wish that they would all be more supportive.

A.  Parents need to be better informed about what’s happening with teen substance use.

A.  Helping teens find healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety.





Saturday, October 14, 2017

YAB Teens are talking about the teen experience, Parent engagement and communication... Part 2.

A GREAT read for Parents, teachers, counselors... anyone interacting with teens today. The teen experience and how we can support them.  So compelling, if we can take the time to really listen to what our teens are going through.

Q.  If at times your Parents don’t really understand things and what you’re going through, what do you want them to know?
A.  I appreciate how much you care about me and I know that you want to be involved in my life.  I know how to behave and I would like more independence.
A. Please just try to listen and gain perspective instead of lecturing or telling me about how things were for you.  
A.  I’m trying my best to do everything to the best of my abilities… but sometimes I just can’t.
A.  I want you to know that I have bad social anxiety and its effecting my actions and what I do and don’t do.
A.  Sometimes your too strict about little things.  You don’t trust me even though I’ve never given you a reason not to.  Please be more understanding.
A.  Kids may experiment with drugs and alcohol and may become addicted, and you may not know it.
Q.  What is a good way for Parents to respond and/or start a conversation with you AND respond to you?
A.  “Hey… how’s it going?  If you ever need to talk I am here for you.”  If they would talk to me like this…. It makes me feel like they actually want to listen and hear what I have to say.
A.  “Hey, how was your day?  How are you feeling?”
A. “How is ____________ going?”  “How are you feeling about ________?”  “Is there anything I can do to help you with _____________?”
A.  “Did anything happen at school today?”
A.  “I know that you’re a good kid…..” 
A.  Just say “Hi.” When I get home not a whole lot of conversation.  Start that a little later after I’ve had some time to just be home.
A.  “I understand you are a teenager and a lot of things are happening around you right now.”
A.  “How do you feel today?”  “OK… I will get you help so you don’t feel like this anymore.”
Q.  What’s it like to be a teen today?  Describe your teen experience…the good, the bad, what it's like for you?  
A.  Being a teen today is hard.  But it can also be so much fun.  I’ve found that with all the drugs and alcohol going on around me, it’s a challenge to hold true to my morals and refrain from following the crowd.  And, I imagine that’s how many people my age feel.  But I also feel that being a teen can be fun, new and exciting when you find the right people to surround yourself with. 
A.  It is very hard with all the pressure to do the right thing and to prepare for your future.  It is also very stressful to do things for fun with all the school work we have.  Then there is the extreme social pressure to fit in with everyone.
A.  It’s rough.  People are not as nice or honest as they should.  School is hard.   People just need to be kinder to each other.  
A.  It’s a high-pressure roller coaster.  You can feel on top of the world.  The suddenly feel like you are in the pit.  The added stress of school, sports and extras make it that much harder. 
A.  If we’re involved in a bunch of activities it gets overwhelming and tough.  Sometimes the best way to avoid social pressures and anxiety it to just NOT go to some of the school/social events at all.
A.  Being a teenager today takes the courage to say no to our generations norms (vaping, sexting, drugs).
A.  There is a LOT of peer pressure for all sorts of things (drugs, alcohol, vapes).
A.  Peer pressure.  Very high expectations from everyone, and trying to be “cool”.
A. Being a teen today is awesome!  School, sports, and clubs are all demanding and thinking about my future is stressful, but fun is still fun!  Like when we’re just hanging out with friends, listening to music, going to the movies… just being with our friends J
Q. What do you need that you are not getting from someone, whether it’s your Parents, Peers/Friends, or the Schools/Community?
A.  Sometimes I need to talk to my Parents about things but I feel they won’t understand.  So, I just feel I need to try to be more open and understanding to what I’m going through and what I am sharing with them.
A.  Parents need to be more understanding of what their kids are going through.  I think they need to listen to their kids more and not just lecture and punish them.
A.  I need everyone to understand that is it so hard to be a teenager today and I wish that they would all be more supportive.
A.  What I think I need is for everyone else to be informed about the dangers of smoking, marijuana and vaping.   And, then to act on that knowledge.
A.  I want our schools to educate students about the harm of vape.  A vape assembly with scientific evidence would be effective in middle and high schools.
A.  More leadership advice on college preparation, college life and applications, testing, essays, etc.
A.  I would like to be listened to and for people to actually listen to my problems and then help me to resolve them. 
Q.  What do you think is the biggest teen issue today?  
A.  The biggest issue I believe would have to be the drugs and partying.  Teens fall into it because there is so much pressure but also many parents aren’t disciplining their kids.
A.  I think mental health issues, specifically the fear of failure on many levels.  And, substance abuse of vapes and drinking is also a big problem with teens right now. 
A.  Vaping.
A.  We are greatly influenced by the music we listen to and by the strong urge to fit in with our peers.
A.  Mental health and anxiety.  We have a LOT of pressure and too often kids turn to substances to “let loose”.  We can prevent that with better support. 
A.  Many teens today smoke weed and are using vapes and they think this it this is not harmful. 
A. Extreme stress from school. Parents and friends leads to drug and alcohol use. 
A.  I feel like mental health is an issue that people don’t talk much about.  I also feel that adults don’t understand how hard it is to go to school every day and then do everything else (work, sports, church, activities, etc.)
Q.  What is your primary influence to be drug-free?  How do you think you are able to stay true to that with so much pressure?
A.  I personally feel I don’t need that in my life because I want to stay healthy and in control.  I feel that I can have fun without drugs or alcohol and that I would regret doing it.  
A.  I think it’s really myself.  I want to do well in the future -- I don’t want my life to go down-hill.
A. My influence to be drug-free is to protect my body.
A.  I chose a friend group that doesn’t care what others think as much.  And, I stay away from drugs because I know that things would only get worse in my future.  
A.  My Parents showing me that I can have fun without substances.
A.  I care about my future.   
A.  I know that everything is temporary.  I want to make the most of my time and keep a clear mindset.
A.  I see other people my age making poor decisions and it influences me.
A.  My influence is knowing what it leads to.  And also seeing what the people I love went through.  
Q.  What is something that you will work towards or focus on?
A.  Learning to overcome academic challenges.
A.  A strong focus on the things that really matter in life. 
A.  Making my school a safer place.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

THIS Q&A Blog is a must read!. YAB Teens are talking about Parents…. What they wish Parents knew and communication.

Q.  What do you wish your Parents knew about you (or teens in general) that they don’t know or understand?

A.  I wish my Parents understood that a lot of teenagers ARE responsible to make good choices and hangout with our friends.  We will only go through high school this one time, they need to allow us to be in the position to make decisions for ourselves.

A.  I wish they knew that sometimes when I get home from school I don’t want to talk and would like to relax for a while.  We have a full life in school and that we are tired when we get home.

A.  That I go to a school where other kids feel socially pressured all the time and a lot of them give into that pressure.

 A.  I wish my Parents knew that sometimes support can be in the form of giving me alone time or silence.

A.  I wish Parents were more understanding of all the stress that is put on teens today.  A lot of people think that being a teen is easy but there are so many more expectations to succeed, to get into a good college to do everything well… and then there is a lot of peer pressure.

Q.  How do you want your Parents to talk to you?  When is a good time to talk and when is NOT a good time to talk?

A.  I want them to talk respectfully to me.

A.  I want my Parents to talk to me, even though it might not seem like it.  A good time to talk is during dinner or in the car, but talking to me and interrupting something I’m in the middle of doing is not good.

A.  I want my Parents to talk to me when I’m not vulnerable.  It’s a good time to talk after an event happens and I need to discuss something.  But, I don’t like being talked at or lectured.

A.  I would like my Parents to talk to me in a more interested, considerate, and less authoritative tone.  A good time to talk is if something is troubling me.  A bad time to talk is when I’m doing homework, relaxing or right after practice or a game.

A.  Parents should be open to having good conversations where they give their undivided attention (no distractions).  It’s not a good time to talk to me in the morning or immediately after school.

A.  I would like my parents to talk to me like I am an adult, because I really am almost an adult.  More like they support me and want to help, rather than lecture and talk at me.

A.  I wish my parents wouldn’t try to make a big deal about talking to me…. I feel that discussion should come naturally.

A.  A good time to talk is at family meals or when saying good night… ask if there is any news or updates, ask how we are feeling/doing and ask how they can help.

Q.  What do you think Parents are doing that they shouldn’t? 

A.  Trying to talk to me right after school as soon as I get home or when I’m pre-occupied with homework or something that is academic related.

A.  Parents aren’t asking specific questions about their children’s life – like their school day, who their friends are, where they are going, who will be there, etc.

A.  I think Parents need to find a balance of being too lenient and too controlling. 

A.  I think Parents shouldn’t snoop to find information about their teen. 

A.  Parents are putting too much pressure on their kids.  Motivation should come from within sometimes.

A.  Some parents don’t care if their teens vape. 

A.  I think some Parents are too “hands-off”.  I think being involved in your childs’ educations is helpful.

Q. What do you think Parents do that is right effective/appropriate/helpful?

A.  Some Parents do a good job of keeping track of their teen and try to keep them from doing drugs.

A.  I think it’s good when Parents hold their teen to high standards and consequences for the bad choices they make.

Q.  Do you think Parents really realize the amount of stress and pressure Teens are feeling AND, do you think Parents are adding to the stress and pressure Teens are feeling? 

A.  No, they think school and social life is as easy as it was decades ago, but that’s not the case.  Colleges have a lot more expectations when it comes to academics and extracurriculars.  Plus, we have to balance a job and dealing with relationships.  I think Parents are definitely adding to that stress.

A.  I don’t think Parents understand the amount of stress and pressure that teens are facing today.  I think they actually add to the stress when they ask a lot of questions about our progress and with that almost demand perfection.

A.  No, I do not think they understand the level of stress and pressure, and yes, I think they definitely add to it.

A.  No, I don’t think Parents are aware of the environment teens socialize in – there’s a lot of pressure.  I think poor communication and relationships between Parents and their children can bring added stress.

A.  I think that they actually do realize this but they don’t know how to adjust their behavior accordingly so that their child doesn’t feel even more stressed.

Q.  Are you able to communicate effectively with your Parents? If YES, can you describe how you think you mutually achieve it… if NO, what do you wish for?

A.  No, personally for me my Parents are usually too busy at work and are too tired to talk to me after they get home.  I would wish for them to understand that I have things that I do want to discuss with them.

A.  Yes, I am very honest with my Parents and by constantly sharing information with them it helps to keep our relationship open and their trust in me.

A.  Sometimes I’m able to communicate with my Parents by telling them how I feel, why I feel that way, and how they can help me – if we are talking in a calm tone it really helps.

A.  Yes, because we communicate with each other every day.

A.  Yes.  We sit at the kitchen table and talk.  We can agree to disagree and we respect each others opinions.

A.  I don’t think I’m able to communicate effectively with my Parents because they think that I’m trying to make them say what I want them to say.  I wish my Parents would trust me and what I’m trying to do.

Q.  Do you feel Parents really know/understand what’s going on with Teens today?

A.  No, I don’t think Parents know how much partying their teens are doing or the substances that they are using. 

A.  No, I don’t think Parents really know what is happening due to the influence that technology has on our lives – and for the most part, Parents are not able to keep up with that technology.

A.  No.  Parents lack the knowledge of the amount of drug and alcohol use that is going on with teens today.

Q.  What do you think is the primary issue for Teens and how do you think we can communicate that to Parents?

A.  I think the primary issue for teens today is coping with stress in appropriate ways.  I think it should be communicated much more in Parent meetings with teachers, counselors, etc.

A.  Stress….about our future and college.  It is getting very competitive and for teens in our community and it is very stressful.

A.  I think the issue right now is teens thinking vapes are safe.  We need to tell Parents so they can have discussions with their children.

A.  School stress combined with extra curriculars and a social life…. Just trying to balance it all is stressful.

A.  Teens think it’s cool to do drugs.  I think having Parent meetings with the schools and guidance counselors so they can communicate to the Parents the issues they see from the teens they see and talk to everyday.

A.  Stress and ill relationships are the primary problem for teens.  We should be more open to talking to our Parents.

Q.  Any other thoughts on Parent Communication, Parent Engagement, Parent Awareness, Understanding, etc.…?

A.  Parents should know about vapes… a lot of kids are doing this.  Parents should be more aware of what’s going on and with the behavior of their own kids.

A.  Parents need to be more engaged with their children and understand the stress they are under and what they are going through.

A.  Parents should aim to be as close as they can with their teens, to help them succeed and live responsible lives.









Tuesday, July 25, 2017

CHECK IT OUT… The Youth Action Board meeting dialogue is a great way to tap into what’s going on with our teens today.

YAB Teens are talking about their concerns, stress & pressure, what can be done, how they cope AND why the youth voice matters.

What are you most concerned with right now?  And, why do you think this is a problem?

Teens who turn to alcohol and drugs when they are overwhelmed by school.  And, young people who grow up thinking it is “okay” to drink.  It is a problem that teens can’t find a better coping skill.  And for teens who drink – underclassmen who look up to upperclassmen get the idea that it is “okay” to abuse substances.

Teens overwhelmed by school, peer pressure, expectations and feeling trapped.  It’s a problem because many teens don’t have self-confidence and are more prone to falling into drinking and drug use.  The number of teens who participate in these things continues to grow.

Vape.  Teens believe it’s not harmful and we don’t have enough research or information coming at us on its harm.  And because teens and young adults are always looking for new ways to get high, or a certain feeling from doing drugs.  They are looking for an outlet from stress and life in general.

College application stress.  Most of my friends talk about their uncertainty of where to apply or what major they would like.  It’s a life changing decision and has a lot of impact on our future…. Making decisions and uncertainty like these cause a lot of stress.

I am concerned with partying.  Teens are drinking and smoking behind their parents’ backs.  It’s a problem because most of the time they get away with it and come to think there won’t be consequences.

Who do you think we should talk to and what needs to be done to address the problem?

We need much stronger education.  We need to talk to the schools – the Board members -  and make them more aware.   Schools should hold assemblies and class-room sessions on substance use, it’s harm and the consequences we can face.  We should talk to and bring in the Police to talk to us and our parents about protocol and the laws in our communities.

We should target freshman and seniors.  Freshman need to be taught to establish and maintain good morals.  Seniors need to be reminded to be good role models.

We all need to do more…. talk to and educate Parents – get them engaged and encourage them to talk to their kids!

Bring more attention to the rising Vape trend – tons of kids are doing it!  Schools and Parents need to know and teens need to understand the harm.

Do you think there is a link between Teen stress, pressure, anxiety and substance use? 

Yes – most definitely there is.  Teens don’t know how to cope so they resort or turn to substances.  Also, when teens are stressed, they aren’t in a right frame of mind and are more likely to do things they shouldn’t.

How do YOU cope with stress and pressure?  

I vent/talk to my Mom about anything that is bothering me.  I trust her and that she will keep what we talk about private.

I cope by watching TV, listening to music, go for a walk or exercising.

I like to plan things out – everything I need to do for the day or week. 

I take the time to focus and get in the right head space – and face deal with what is causing me stress.

Why is the youth voice and presence important in Coalition/Teen prevention work?

It’s important because it’s easier to speak and listen to people who teens can associate and relate to.  Peers caring about peers is very powerful.

Teens should have a voice because we are the ones being affected by this work and we know and understand our peers and what they are going through.

It gives us a chance to speak about what’s on our minds and what we are experiencing.  It’s important and rewarding that our voices are being heard.

What’s your influence to live drug-free?

I don’t want to ruin my future over having a good time, when there are so many other ways to have a good time in high school.

I am an athlete and I plan on pursuing my athletic career in college.  Drugs and alcohol will only reduce my chances of success in college.

My future… and to be in control.

I want to live a long healthy life and I don’t want anything to get in the way of me being able to ALL the things I want to do.

I want to be someone I am proud of.





BBCC is dedicated to providing resources to students and parents in the mental health and wellness of our teens.  We look to support you in prevention intervention and overall support where you need it most.  The YAB is a great resource to tap into the teen mind, voice and is an open and inclusive point of view on how to handle life in these exciting and challenging times.

Friday, June 2, 2017

CHECK IT OUT… YAB Teens are talking about the rising trend in Vapes, what’s concerning them now, what needs to be done, and what keeps them grounded.

We’ve been hearing about a rising trend in e-cigs, vapes and hookah sticks.  Are you aware of this?  And, how, when and where do you think teens are engaging?

Yes!  Kids will literally vape whenever they can.

Yes… teens are using vapes in schools, in their cars, at home, practically everywhere.

Yes, teens are vaping all the time in class, in the bathrooms, and  in their cars in the school parking lots

A lot of teens think it’s a safer substance and don’t know the real facts or science behind it.

I think vape is a trend among teens because people think it looks “cool”.

So, teens just don’t believe it’s harmful.  So, what can be done to better educate both teens and parents?

Teens should be educated on the fact that vape is harmful and addictive

I think that you HAVE to get the message out to kids as young as possible (elementary and middle school).  It will have a greater impact and stay with them.  High school is too late.

We all need to do more…. talk to and educate Parents – get them engaged and encourage them to talk to their kids!

Bring more attention to the consequences of vaping both at schools and give Parents the education and resources they need.

More support, education and awareness for social media/on-line pressures.

As we near the end of the school year, what else is on your mind and concerning you right now? And, what should be done to address it?

I am concerned that it is hard to reach kids and inform them about the cost of abusing alcohol, drugs and substances like vapes

As the school year comes to a close, more and more kids start to slack off and make choices.  We should let the teachers/staff/counselors know about this and have them make sure that students are still motivated about school.

I’m concerned about summer parties and kids getting caught up in things and getting actively involved with substance use.  We should try to inform teens in our school in a way that impacts them.

Finally, what keeps you grounded…. What’s your influence to be drug-free and to make good choices even when you feel pressured?

My conscience keeps me grounded.  I care about my future.

Knowing that it is wrong and will NOT help my future.

I want to have control over my body, my mind and my future.

My influence is my future in academics and doing well in school, with my family and in life.




BBCC is dedicated to providing resources to students and parents in the mental health and wellness of our teens.  We look to support you in prevention intervention and overall support where you need it most.  The YAB is a great resource to tap into the teen mind, voice and is an open and inclusive point of view on how to handle life in these exciting and challenging times.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

YAB Teens are talking about trends and concerns with teen substance use and their experience with the YAB.

What is concerning you most right now with teen substance use?

A lot of kids binge drink and don’t realize how dangerous it is.

I think it’s concerning that some Parents know about it, but are passive or even seem to encourage it.

The carelessness of making the choice to drink or use drugs and the lack of awareness for the consequences.

How easy it is to get a hold of alcohol, drugs and other substances.

The super high use of Juuls and the amount of vaping going on.

The fact that kids are using alcohol, drugs and vapes so commonly and don’t really see an issue with it.

What do you think needs to be done about it?

Find and present them with statistics and stories of how dangerous binge drinking is.

I think the consequences should be different (and enforced) because for the most part, they can easily bypass the current ones.

Talk to and educate Parents.

Get more Parents involved!

Find a way to stop the distribution of drugs and make it harder for teens to have access.

Bring attention to the consequences of vaping.

More support, education and awareness for social media/on-line pressures.

We often talk about the stress and pressure teens are feeling from Parents, School and each other.  What do you need OR what will help teens better cope and handle the stress and pressure?

We need an outlet to let out the stress like a sport or club that kids can do for fun.  Kids that aren’t on Varsity or in NHS or Leadership…. need an outlet too.

I think that teens need to be exposed to different coping mechanisms because not everyone has access to help/support.  And not everyone responds well to one method.

Parents shouldn’t give their children as many expectations.  Let them choose their path.

How do you handle peer pressure when in a situation where other were drinking or smoking?
I don’t let other people affect my choices because if they are my friends, then they will respect my decisions.

Personally, I am not susceptible to peer pressure because I am aware of the consequences and I always think ahead.

I’ve gotten myself out of it by walking away or have left a party early.  I didn’t really say much, I just left.

I have just said that I wasn’t interested.

What are your thoughts on Prom and Graduation?  These are definitely seen as “party times”.  High School should be celebrated but what can be done to make these safer and less pressure on everyone?
They are “big” events that create life long memories…. But I think drinking and partying negatively impact those memories.

I think the schools could do a better job of spreading and encouraging a healthy message about these events.

I think Parents should lock up their alcohol and if they are hosting a party at their house actually monitor the kids.
What do you think is unique about the Youth Action Board?
It is a group of teens from the same area that feel the need and want to create alternative activities that don’t involve drugs or drinking.

The YAB has really helped open my mind and I’m more aware of what is going on in my community.

The YAB is unique because it lets young people have a voice and makes them more aware of what’s really happening.

They get stuff done. 

I have gotten the knowledge and connections to improve my community.

It is a great space to share how we feel.  I feel I’ve gotten a safe space to be, and I feel like I’m not alone in my convictions and concerns.



BBCC and the YAB are dedicated to providing resources to students and parents for the mental health and wellness of our teens.  We take a positive, thoughtful approach in prevention, intervention and overall support where you need it most.  The YAB is a great resource to tap into the teen mind and voice and provides an open and inclusive point of view on how to handle life in these exciting and challenging times.