Earn the Weekend with a Gut Check
by James R. Kline, Ph.D., M.Ed., CCC-SLP
The term “earn” refers to earning money or something of value from someone else; it is not used in reference to sexual activity (or any other type of intimate behavior). Earn is a verb meaning “to earn.” Earn the weekend means to get paid for having fun at a party or event. Earn the weekend is not a euphemism for prostitution.
A few years ago I was asked to write a letter to my son’s school district about the dangers of drug use and alcohol abuse among high school students. The letter was intended to educate parents about these issues so they could take steps to protect their children from becoming victims of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and even suicide due to substance abuse problems.
I thought it would be a good idea to include some facts about drugs and alcohol, since I knew many parents were concerned about these topics. But then I began to think about the fact that teens are supposed to have learned all this information during their health class in school.
So why wasn’t this information being taught? Why weren’t they being given the opportunity to learn about drugs and alcohol before making decisions about whether or not their kids should drink beer, smoke pot, or do cocaine?
The way I see it, we need to educate our children about drugs and alcohol in the same way we educate them about their other subjects in school. That is, with an open mind and the willingness to provide them with facts so they can make their own choices later on in life when faced with the reality of the situations presented to them.
So what are the facts?
Well, for starters, alcohol is a drug and even if you don’t smoke pot or do cocaine, you’re still at risk for developing a full-blown addiction to booze. I know that doesn’t sound very fun, but as adults we need to be realistic with our children and ourselves about these risks.
What is important to remember is that substance abuse doesn’t begin with “hard” drugs like cocaine or heroine. In fact, most people who suffer from alcohol or drug addiction don’t start out using “hard” drugs. The progression is much more subtle, beginning with things like a few beers after sports practice, or smoking pot at a party with friends during the weekends.
Teens are faced with many pressures to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Their friends may pressure them to try something new, or they may have feelings of anxiety or depression that, in their mind, can be “fixed” by getting high. The media also has a strong influence on many teens perceptions of what it means to be cool or popular.
We need to keep in mind that the use of drugs and alcohol can lead to more extreme substance abuse problems than what we might initially imagine. Although these issues can affect anyone, teens are at greater risk because their brains are still developing. Alcohol and drugs can actually alter brain development in a way that can cause people to become addicted for the rest of their lives.
It is important that you teach your child about:
the risks of alcohol and drug use;
how addiction develops;
signs of potential abuse; and
how to get help if a friend is struggling with a substance abuse problem.
In addition to the information presented here, there are many resources that can help you talk to your child about this important topic. Check out books from the library or go online to learn more. There are also programs on TV and even videos specifically for children on this topic.
As a parent, it is important to remember that:
You can’t protect your child from all harm.
You don’t need to have all the answers.
You can’t solve all your child’s problems.
What you do now can help decrease your child’s chances of developing a substance abuse problem in the future.
It takes time, patience and consistency.
If you suspect that your child is developing a substance abuse problem, do not ignore the situation. The longer you wait to get help, the less options you may have. Call your pediatrician or local drug treatment center to find out what options are available.
Of course, you must also take steps to ensure that your home environment continues to provide a stable, consistent and nurturing place for your child during this difficult time. Good luck!
Sources & references used in this article:
Resistant Starches: Gut Friendly Foods You Need by G Intelligence, WMD Don’t Work, HGHI your Life – blog.131method.com
Superlearning 2000: New triple fast ways you can learn, earn, and succeed in the 21st century by R Semler – 2004 – Random House
You are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon by S Ostrander, L Schroeder – 2012 – books.google.com
SC littering targeted in weekend campaign by J Steinberg – 2011 – books.google.com
Black History Month Winter Weekend Is Back by K Apel – 2009 – scholarcommons.sc.edu
Annual Bible Lectureship begins this weekend by T Loses, RI Monopoly – core.ac.uk