It is a parent’s job to take care of their kids and to talk with them about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Any parent who understands the risks of substance abuse and is involved in their child’s life should want to do all they can to keep them drug-free. It is surprising, therefore, that in many areas parents are resisting the push by authorities to be the anti-drug force in their teen’s life.
In numerous cities and towns, school officials are calling meetings to educate parents on resources and techniques they can use to keep their kids drug and alcohol-free. They often cover a variety of topics related to students’ safety, such as educating about the different types of drugs that are popular today, warning signs to drug abuse, and ways to talk to teens about drugs. Unfortunately, many of these meetings are poorly attended. Maybe parents are too busy, or think they know all they need to know already, but for a school system that is really trying to benefit the students and their families, the poor attendance must be very disappointing.
We all have busy lives. Parents of teens may juggle work with taking care of their family, and then there are sports, meetings, and extracurriculars to get their teen to. Sometimes if a meeting isn’t something we are required to do, it is too easy to find something else to do instead. That’s why some schools now are making these meetings mandatory. In some districts, students whose parents do not attend the meeting aren’t able to go to school social events. Other schools have set the stakes even higher, and will not allow students to participate in sports or extracurricular activities if a parent doesn’t make the meeting.
Many parents are upset over the mandatory meetings and are refusing to go. They argue that a principal or school board can’t make them do anything, and they have no right to take things away from their child as a consequence.
Schools that are more lenient and offer a few choices of dates and times to attend are met with much less resistance. While the forums and the information provided are important for parents to hear, it is unrealistic for schools to expect that every parent will be able to clear their schedule for it.
Best Interest of the Child
One concern about the disagreement surrounding these meeting is the message it is sending the kids. If parents refuse to go to a mandatory meeting about drugs and alcohol – no matter what the reason- isn’t that sending a message to the teens that the topic is not important? These parents need to be careful that they don’t make a bigger deal out if it than necessary. Maybe parents don’t like to be told what to do anymore than their teen does, but for the sake of their child, they may need to just be quiet and go to the meeting.