“There are two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings.”
~ Goethe and Jacobs family mantra.
Today is eighth grade promotion day in Burbank. Throughout middle school, our daughter’s peer group has become increasingly important to her. As such, I am uncool, a terrible dresser, not funny and worst of all: I have to know too much and make a big deal about everything. Good thing her friends like me! My daughter, Reason, and company are nerds. Liked, but not popular. Smart, silly, creative, free-thinkers. One boy wrote, “You’re the most innocent person I know” in her yearbook. I’m glad she lacked access to the socially advanced kids. I’ll let the experts explain why:
“Dating in Middle School Leads to Higher Dropout, Drug-Use Rates, Study Suggests.” Pamela Orpinas, University of Georgia professor and study author, determined middle school students who date report using twice as much alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, compared with their classmates without romantic relationships. They have poor study habits and higher drop out rates. A likely explanation for the worse educational performance of early daters is that these adolescents start dating early as part of an overall pattern of high-risk behaviors.
“Temporal Associations of Popularity and Alcohol Use Among Middle School Students Journal of Adolescent Health,” Volume 52, Issue 1, pages 108-115, January 2013: Rand researchers found, “Popularity is a risk factor for drinking during the middle school years.”
Same with tobacco use. Researchers at Keck Medical found, “Peer Pressure to Smoke Greater in Middle School Than High School: Study from USC. [http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/parenting/peer-pressure-to-smoke-greater-in-middle-school-than-high-school-study]
As I prepare for high school, and dynamic peer groups, conversations about hard topics will continue. Friends’ mistakes taught me to keep my past private. [http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/alcohol/children-more-likely-to-accept-drug-use-if-parents-admit-past-substance-use]
When talking to your kids about alcohol, drugs, and sex and they ask, “Did you do it?” Dr. Drew says the correct answer is, “We’re not talking about me, we’re talking about you.” Exactly! My wings are expanded; I’m now providing roots.