Parenting Tips from Jonathan Scott, by Sandi Gleason

I recently attended a MCHS Families Connected event, a presentation by Jonathan Scott of Miles to Go Drug Education. Jonathan is a former comedian and recovering drug addict and now uses his captivating presentation skills and in-depth scientific knowledge to educate students and parents about the risks of teen drug and alcohol use. His is funny. He is smart. He firmly believes that the majority of teens want to please their parents and that by following a few key steps, parents can dramatically reduce the likelihood that their teens will be harmed by drug and alcohol use. 

So what are those steps? Here are the big three: 

  1. Have an active role in your teenager’s life.

  2. Have a curfew.

  3. Have a stated policy of non-use.

You can have an active role in your teenager’s life by knowing what is happening at school. This is easy to do at Mira Costa because the school’s website has been redesigned to keep you up to date at all times. The front page has a news section and quick links to the Daily Bulletin, Weekly Newsletter, La Vista school newspaper and the Mustang Morning News. Read those once a week and you’ll have all kinds of ideas to talk to your student about.

You can also have an active role in your teenager’s life by getting to know his/her friends and his/her friends’ parents. Try to have the house where the kids want to hang out so you can keep an eye on them.

And finally, pay attention to what media your teen is viewing.

The goal of a curfew is to keep your teen in the presence of adult supervision as much as possible, because that is a proven deterrent. Curfews don’t have to be the same every day. You should feel free to vary curfew times based on what activities your teen has going on. It’s important to observe your teen when he/she comes home after an evening out. Jonathan suggested going to sleep in your teen’s bed if you have trouble staying awake. That way your teen has to wake you up before he/she can go to bed. 

Jonathan strongly emphasized the importance of having a stated policy of non-use. Studies have shown that parents who regularly voice their desire that their children refrain from drug and alcohol use reduce the chances their children will use by half. He mentioned occasionally checking on your teen to see if he is actually where he said he was going to be.

And finally, he discussed the importance of teens having their own goals. Teens who are working towards something have an automatic incentive to avoid drug and alcohol use.

For more information, Jonathan’s books can be found here and a series of videos regarding some of these topics can be found here.  

-Sandi Gleason
MCHS PTSA President