Posted by on Sep 19th, 2013 and filed under Viewpoints. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Little kids, little parties. Big kids, big parties.

Suzy Jacobs is the executive director of the Crescenta Valley Drug & Alcohol Prevention Coalition. You can reach her at

Suzy Jacobs is the executive director of the Crescenta Valley Drug & Alcohol Prevention Coalition. You can reach her at

I attended the parent session on teen parties led by Paul Royer held at the YMCA and learned we must both set limits and set our children free so they can learn how to be social and control their world. Parents must keep tabs, set consequences, and know about their world. Most of all, we have to ask good questions. If your kid is awed by the cool kid you fear, instead of saying, “That child’s no good,” ask, “What do you like about that child?” Then you have to listen and not lecture. Once you find common ground, you can respond to what’s on their mind. You can share your concerns without dismissing their need to fit in. Another thing Paul said was to observe your child’s status within her/his peer group.

Yesterday was my daughter Reason’s 14th birthday party – innocent fun with her nine closest friends painting pottery while under supervision. As ninth graders, this group hasn’t embraced risky behavior. Data from 2011-12 CA Healthy Kids Survey from CVHS bears this out: 74% ninth graders and 51% 11th graders have never had a full drink of alcohol; 91% and 72%, respectively, haven’t smoked pot. There’s time to prepare for those kinds of parties.

Do you have a signal word or phrase your child can text or say to you to let you know they want to leave? Here’s a tip I learned from another mother who I think had the word “pineapple” as her cue. When Reason asks about her purple shoes, it means, “Get me out of here but make it your fault.” What’s your plan?

It is important to learn from experts and other parents. Please come to the parent sessions! We have a great series planned! They are free, on Tuesday nights from 7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Y. First Baptist Church of La Crescenta has underwritten the first 12 sessions. Please come to their fundraiser, a night of Brazilian Jazz Under the Stars, this Saturday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the church, 4441 La Crescenta Ave. Bring the whole family. Food trucks! If your organization would like to underwrite the next series of sessions, let’s talk!

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