Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How to teach your kids to drink responsibly: make them wait until they’re 21

Many parents believe that allowing their teens to drink under supervision will create more responsible alcohol consumers. However, recent studies have proved this line of thought to be wrong. Parents who “teach” their kids to drink, in fact, do just that. They teach and, unfortunately, prompt their teens to adopt a practice of drinking, and usually not in a very healthy manner.
An American Medical Association study, looking at both Australian and American middle schoolers, found that those teens that had begun drinking with parental supervision were more likely to have engaged in risky behavior or experienced health related issues due to the overconsumption of alcohol. Another AMA study reported data suggesting that teens with parents who condone supervised underage drinking are more likely to have trouble with alcoholism or alcohol abuse later on in life.
Because the brain is still developing into the twenties, alcohol affects teens in a much more pronounced way than it does adults. Therefore, health and research professionals encourage parents to firmly prevent their teen from drinking until the age of 21.
This, however, does not necessitate a complete ban on any alcohol in the house. The most effective action parents can take in forming responsible alcohol consumers is to model moderate drinking behaviours themselves. So go ahead and have that glass of wine with dinner, but maybe just one.
This information is taken from the NBC article “Letting teen drink under parent’s watch backfires.” To read the full article you can go to the following link:
During our last gathering we heard how the heaviest burden our young people are carrying is STRESS. The anxiety that comes with the expectation of high performance across a variety of areas (school, sports, music, etc.) is the biggest challenge facing our kids right now ... so the kids say. This article is very relevant and could open up a new conversation about what we can do to help. So, go forth, read, think, and talk. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Crisis Text Line: Turning “Hot Moments to a Cool Calm” Virtually

Despite the many positives that come with advances in technology, virtual communication has been marked for years by its facilitation of cyber bullying and its tendency to perpetuate bad choices in the teen population.

Nancy Lublin, however, has found a way to turn this problem around. Initially partnering with a data scientist, an engineer, and Link2Health Solutions, Lublin of founded Crisis Text Line (CTL) in the hopes of providing crisis solutions instantaneously.

CTL is based on the belief that adolescents and young adults are already comfortable with the medium of text, so reaching out for help through their phones is only natural. Thus, more individuals are likely to use this free platform in times of trouble, and CTL is able to help more people avoid harmful decisions.

The CLT crisis team consists of volunteers that are extensively trained over six weeks, partner crisis center organizations, and expert supervisors who lead these counselors. So when an individual is facing any situation, from cyber hazing to suicidal thoughts, he can text in to CTL and receive emotional support or helpful referrals anonymously and instantaneously.

CTL is upfront about not being a substitute for regular therapy or doctor’s appointments. But it is passionate about connecting those in crisis to “active listeners,” and CTL has already sent over 8,668,953 texts aiding individuals in changing their potentially risky behaviors into “safe and healthy” decisions.

To find out more about CLT, its new international division, or how you can become involved, visit To receive help from CLT text “Start” to 741-741 at any time.

Information obtained from:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

National Brain Expert Returns to Sewickley to Discuss Dangers of Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Use

On May 9 Dr. Duncan Clark will return to Sewickley to talk about his latest research on the impact of drug and alcohol use on the developing teenage brain. The event, sponsored by Youth Connect, runs from 10:00 am to 11:30 am at The Sewickley Presbyterian Church on Beaver and Grant Streets, and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be generously provided by event co-sponsor HVHS Sewickley Foundation.

Dr. Clark, a psychologist and psychiatrist, presented in May 2013 to the community, providing valuable insight to both parents and students. On May 9, he will provide updates, and will participate in a Q&A with the audience. In addition to Dr. Clark, Quaker Valley Voice will present their pointers for parents. Youth Connect will also premier their first video brief, a new approach to getting information out to the community.

In 2006, Dr. Clark created the Northwest Pennsylvania Adolescent Alcohol Research Cooperative, a collaboration of the University of Pittsburgh campuses in Bradford and Pittsburgh with 40 rural primary care practitioners conducting NIH funded research to apply computer assisted clinical decision support to reduce underage drinking. With support from four NIH institutes in 2012, Dr. Clark, colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh, and scholars from four other research institutions, established the National Consortium on Alcohol & Neurodevelopment in Adolescence (NCANDA, and are now initiating the most definitive project to date to determine the effects of alcohol on adolescent brain development.     For further information about Dr. Clark:

QV Voice is a student organization focused on Teens helping Teens. The group aims to promote and support healthy lifestyle choices by focusing on various topics that affect students’ lives. Youth Connect is a community collaborative that has the mission to provide the information, resources, and support needed to give our young people the best chance to enjoy their teen years while avoiding risky behaviors.  The goal of Youth Connect is to positively impact the lives of our community youth not by providing separate services, but by leveraging all the resources in the community to work together to address their needs.  For more information about Youth Connect or Dr. Clark’s presentation, please contact or visit