There is a fine line between being honest about youthful indiscretions and actively encouraging illicit behavior, but the difficulty of finding the boundary for parents represents a moral dilemma for many who value their openness as authority figures. Because brain development continues into the mid-20s, early exposure to alcohol and drugs can permanently affect the way the brain functions. The increased risk for addiction creates the terrifying potential that an excessively honest parent may foster a substance abuse problem in their own child.
This anxiety is also compounded by a fear of losing the moral high ground in future arguments, with teenagers feeling vindicated by your actions. However, “the most important message a parent can give is not about the mistakes that can derail a child, but about the joys of finding your way.” Focusing on your child and the positives in the situation can help you navigate complicated questions.
To read the New York Times article discussing how much honesty is too much, check it out here.
Photo by prensa420 of Flickr.