We can't keep sitting back and doing nothing to save our teens! We as parents have an obligation to do right by them and give them the tools that they need to do well in life. It's our job to teach them everything that they need to know so that they won't get caught up. It starts at home! We can't afford to be lazy parents. We need to parent like it really matters...Because it does! They need us y'all. It's time to step it up so that they will have a fair chance. Set good examples for them to follow! Trust me, they are watching you more than you think. Be parents that they can be proud of and speak highly of. Set them up to go in the right direction! You'll be glad that you did!
And now I introduce to you: CHOICES ( From my book Teens Matter Most) Available on Amazon.com.
Choices, Choices, Choices. Let’s face it, we all have to make them. If you think about it, everything that we do starts with a choice. Let me give you some quick examples of what I’m talking about.
We make everyday choices about what we’re going to eat, what we’re going to wear, deciding what time we’re going to work-out, what time we’re going to wake up or go to sleep, etc.
Now that I have your attention, I would like to discuss important things that you may have to make decisions about. As teens, you are faced with so many things on a daily basis and it can sometimes be overwhelming, exciting, and scary too.
I want to discuss your friends. Be mindful of the people that you call your friends. If people are truly your friends, they will want to see you do well in life, and they won’t try to put you in a position where you can get into trouble, hurt yourself or others, or completely ruin your life by making a bad decision that will cost you big time!
Choose your friends wisely. Try to pick out people that share your same interests. It would also be wise to hang out with people who have good morals and values. I know that some teens don’t give it any thought, but you should. Be careful of the company that you keep.
I’ll leave you with this to think about regarding friends: Make sure that they TRULY like you and have your best interest at heart. A true friend will be honest with you and bold enough to tell you when you’re wrong. They don’t want to see you go down the wrong path.
These are some things that you should also consider when you’re deciding on friendship: Are they trustworthy, honest, dependable, supportive, selfless, a good listener, respectful of themselves and others? There are so many things to consider. Also, here’s a quick reminder: Genuine friends won’t be jealous of you. Please keep that in mind. I know you’ll make the right choice.
Okay, let’s talk about drugs and alcohol. I’ll try not to get too long-winded on you, but this is an important topic.
We all know that if you’re under the age of 21, you shouldn't be drinking or using drugs. But the fact of the matter is, teens are drinking and using drugs. I will share this with you: Underage drinking and drug-use is irresponsible and you risk the chance of putting yourself in some compromising positions.
Underage drinking and drug-use can cause the following: Death, addictions, mood changes, getting arrested, getting lower grades in school, poor performance in your extracurricular activities, etc. I want you to think smartly! You can’t afford not to.
Don’t be pressured or fooled into thinking that everybody’s doing it or that it’s the thing to do. That’s not true. It’s a personal choice and you don’t have to be a part of it. Choices, Choices, Choices! It’s a part of life and I want YOU to make the best ones. You have more important things to worry about, let’s not add more trouble to your plate. Your plate is already full.
Do you, or somebody that you know, like to: shoplift, steal vehicles, burglarize homes, fight, and/or keep up trouble? Let me give you something to REALLY think about.
This kind of behavior will destroy you and your life! Some of you may be saying, “Not me, I've never been caught!” Or some of you may be saying, “It’s cool or fun!” You may think it’s all fun and games now, but what IF…
Could you see yourself in juvenile hall? Or, if you've already been there, done that, do you remember what it was like? I don’t know about you, but I wouldn't want to be locked up being told what to do. They have complete control over you and there’s nothing you can do about it. You have to follow their rules. Period, end of story.
If you continue on the road that you’re going down, you’ll find yourself in jail and/or prison. I want you to imagine being there for a second. I mean REALLY imagine. I don’t know about you, but I’d be scared to death being in those cells with people from all walks of life. If you don’t know, SO many awful things go on behind those walls. I mean awful things! Some people get raped, beat up, and/or killed. You don’t have any privacy either.
I don’t think you would enjoy taking showers out in the open with total strangers. I don’t think you would enjoy sitting on toilets that everybody else is sitting on. I don’t think you would like the food that they provide you. I don’t think you would enjoy the fact that you have to share a cell with somebody that you don’t even know. I don’t think you would like other inmates taking or stealing your personal belongings.
I don’t want this to happen to you. You don’t want to make a choice that will literally ruin your life. Think about your actions and how it can cost you. Could you imagine standing in front of a Judge and he sentences you to LIFE without parole? Imagine hearing the words: I sentence you to: 10 to LIFE, 15 to LIFE, 25 to LIFE, LIFE without the possibility of parole, or DEATH.
I’m pretty sure shoplifting, stealing vehicles, burglarizing homes, fighting, and starting trouble doesn't seem so fun now. Your life is worth more than that. Think about that the next time you even think to do something that you know isn't right. It’s your life! Make it count for something great! Make something of yourself!
Written by Stephanie Lahart (Author & Poet)