Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Today’s Youth
Is drinking and drug abuse today really that much worse then in the preceding generations? I’m not sure. It gets more publicity then in the past but is that because there is so much more? Or is it because everything ends up on the internet or what passes for TV news these days and is blown up out of all proportion to get high ratings? I’ll let the so called experts figure that out.
What to do about it now that is the question. In today’ s mindset the way to deal with this is to blame someone or some company and then make a law against it and sue. I like keeping things simple so let’s sue the parents. After all they created these children who are creating this problem so let’s sue them. If you really do think you can solve this problem by blaming someone and suing them, then I’m serious a class action suit against parents. I’m sure at this point some people have thrown down this article in disgust, some are intrigued and some want to see if they can sue me for this.
I am serious though, in my mind the vast majority of parents today are guilty of child abuse and this is a large part of the cause of this rampant drug and alcohol problem. I am not saying the majority of parents today beat their children or abuse them in what could be considered the “norm” in child abuse. What they do in my mind while not illegal in any sense is just as damaging in the long run. They rob their children of their childhood.
It’s as if the child doesn’t come out of the womb reading, writing, playing sports or what have you they are failures. Unreasonable expectations of childhood.
I grew up in 50’s to 70’s. I remember learning how to ride a bike, the falling the fear all of it, the same with skiing matter of fact I didn’t try that until 8th grade. I remember not being chosen for little league I remember sandlot games with no adults around and we worked it out. I remember learning a lot of things. You see I had a childhood. What do kids today remember as they become adults. Probably not much. Parents have them on ski’s, ice skates, playing instruments learning sports as soon as they can walk and talk. All the things that preceding generations took up to 18 years to try, do or learn parents today want their kids to accomplish by kinder garden. They have nothing to look forward to. They’ve done it, seen it, got the tee shirt before they even know what it is they want to do. They are not living their lives, they are living the lives their parents wanted to live but couldn’t.
Interpersonal skills don’t exist, very few things are face to face. TV and the computer bombard their developing minds with new stimuli every 60-90 seconds how can they have an attention span. We read books, we played outside we invented our own games and changed the rules in others we used our imaginations to keep ourselves from getting bored and more importantly we developed attention spans and interpersonal relationships. We learned what it felt like to win and what it felt like to lose. We learned how to make friends and how to lose them.
It is interesting that the grandchildren of the “free love tune in turn on and drop out generation” should have their parents and grandparents all upset with their drinking and drugging. We all know how well behaved and anti booze and drugs we were, right. People who coined the phrase ‘if you remember the 60’s and 70’s you weren’t really there’ now telling their kid’s kids not to do what they did. Lots a luck. It didn’t work with us it didn’t work with our kids and it’s not going to work with their kids.
Examine the situation logically, do your best not to bring in any emotional coloring , opinions, survey’s or psychological ideas just keep it very simple and plain.
Everyone needs some form of stimulation, and in most cases the stimulation covers more then one of the senses or it can be mental, physical, emotional or all of the above. Our generation and preceding ones didn’t have the electronic mediums that have been developed in the past 15-20 years. We had radio, TV and movies. When I was growing up only TV channels 2-13 worked if you were lucky and had a good antenna, movie houses had 1 screen and the movie if it was good stayed for a couple of weeks, radio AM was the big thing when FM finally caught on it was great, 8 track tapes. With these limited electronic stimuli what did you do to fill in your day. We read books, we played pick up games of baseball, basketball, football (touch and tackle without equipment). These were played on vacant lots, school playgrounds, anywhere we could and no adults around and we were 8years old and older and we lived. We played war, cops and robbers cowboys and Indians, tag, dodge ball, hide and seek again without adult supervision and we lived. We didn’t sue anyone either when we weren’t picked for a team or when we feel and hurt ourselves that was just part of life. You’d be embarrassed to run home crying that you didn’t make a team. This went on all thru high school did we smoke cigarettes, drink and smoke some pot? Yes. Did it control us or ruin our lives I don’t think so. Most stopped heavy drinking and drugging along the way. The ones who didn’t probably couldn’t, they are the alcoholics and addicts every generation, every social strata every job religion ethnic group and culture has people with this disease it knows no boundaries and for that reason this group is not part of the “ problem” with today’s youth and I’m not going to discuss them.
My opinion is that when a person’s life is fast forwarded to the extent that they have no new vistas, goals or dreams that they can see in front of them that are their own they lose hope. Lost hope alone does not lead to over indulging in mind altering substances what leads to that is boredom. I’m sure more then a few of you are wondering how can they be bored, there’s theTV, internet, ipods, cell phones. Soccer practice, baseball, dance, gymnastics, all the things to fill up every waking moment in a child’s life. So how does boredom even enter the picture? Simple have the parents ever asked the kid do you want to do this? If the child says no do the parents listen, or do they force them to do it under the guise you’ll learn to like it. What could be even worse is when they have nothing to do. A glitch in the schedule, a power failure, some actual free time kids these days don’t know how to handle it. Why don’t they know how to handle free time? Because they were never allowed to have any. Well if I’m a kid and I don’t want to do something or I’m bored from free time that I don’t know how to handle and I can raid my parents booze or medicine cabinet so I’ll be a little messed up and it won’t be so bad or if I’m pretty messed up I won’t even have to go that would work for me. Punishment for this? Maybe when my parents happen to be around long enough to say something to me since they’re always working, driving myself or my siblings somewhere, or volunteering to be the ‘perfect’ parent, or they’re having their relaxation drink, prozac, valium or whatever sleep aid or anti depressant they’re on this month maybe they may say something but it will be of the don’t embarrass us and do as I say not as I do variety.
How can you blame a kid, forget the liquor ads there are plenty of anti drunk driving ads and classes out there to balance that. But what balances all the ads for the sleep aids, anti-depressants, the pills to calm your nerves, lose weight, stay awake, the pills to help you have sex. These ads are in all the “family” magazines, on all the TV channel during prime time and they see their parents, grandparents, friend’s parents all taking these things so how can they be bad for you? I mean doctors are in these ads saying how good they are and they themselves use them. Interesting or confusing message.
Maybe you don’t want to agree with this but if you’re honest with yourself you probably will, getting tipsy, high or drunk feels good at least at first. So now these kids have something they have never tried before and it makes them feel good. Add into this mix normal teenage rebellion, spreading of ones wings and just the fact that as a wise man once said “ every generation will dress drink listen to music and have sex in a way to most annoy the one that came before them” you have a large number of teenagers abusing mind altering substances.
What can be done to stop this? Really for today’s teenagers and the ones right on their heels I don’t think to much. If however we take a step back in time and allow the kids 10 and under to just be kids and learn to use their imaginations, to leave things like being a golf pro a singer an actor until they are in their teens in short leave kids something to look forward to. Don’t have them live the life you wanted to live but couldn’t for whatever reason. You had your chance if you didn’t take it oh well so sad to bad and if you want to blame your parents go a head but do you want your kids blaming you in the future. Do you want to continue the circle of abuse or do you want it to end with you.