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Girls, Drugs and Parental Influence

This series of posts is about drugs and young girls. 

We aren’t suggesting that anyone should ignore the issues of boys and drugs -- boys certainly have potential to abuse drugs at an early age. But too often people think of drugs as a boys-only problem. And it is important to recognize that drug use is also an issue with unique consequences among young girls.

So, maybe you have asked yourself “What can parents do?”

A report from the Office of National Drug Control Policy lists several suggestions. Research shows that parents are the most important influence in their daughters’ decisions about drug use. So here are some recommendations for parents of young girls:

Girls, Drugs and Self-esteem

A previous blog looked at girls and drugs, and another blog examined how drugs impair judgment and can influence the sexual decisions of young girls. Both of these posts noted that many people tend to consider drug use among kids to be a boys' issue, but evidence shows that girls are even more at risk in some ways.Confident young girl.

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Athletic Performance & Alcohol

Exercising with a hangover decreases aerobic performance by as much as 11%.

Alcohol impacts every organ system in the body and impairs

  • motor skills (reaction time, hand eye-coordination), 
  • strength and power (overall performance times, cardiac output), and 
  • aerobic performance (the diuretic properties lead to dehydration and lower performance). 

In women, the higher the total life-time dose of alcohol, the lower their muscular strength.

PositiveTip: If you want to perform to the best of your ability--physially and mentally--don't drink alcohol! 

Sleep, Response Inhibition & the Quality of Your Decisions

The frontal lobes of the brain (forebrain) is where we make all our decisions. Neuroscientists refer to these decision-making processes as "executive functions". We may not be executives at a global corporation, but our personal success in life definitely depends on the quality of our daily decisions.

When Parents Drink, Kids Do Too

Did you ever wonder about the relationship between parents using alcohol and other substances, and the use of these substances by their children? Logic says that they ought to be connected, but what does research say? Teenagers drinking.

In the mid 1990's, research was conducted on substance use in Christian high schools. Students were asked if they had ever used drugs of several varieties. The questionnaire also asked whether they had a parent who used alcohol, tobacco or marijuana.

The Power of Mentoring Youth

If you pay attention to trends among people working with adolescents, one word you'll hear frequently is "mentor".

Adult mentoring young person.

mentor is an individual, usually older and always more experienced, who helps and guides another individual’s development without having a goal of personal gain.

Some professions have "mentoring programs" where newcomers are paired with more experienced employees who advise and guide them as they advance. Schools sometimes offer mentoring programs to new students, or to students having difficulties. 

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Childhood Sleep Loss Suppresses Goal-driven Behaviors Later On

Not enough sleep in childhood may lead to alcohol and drug abuse in young adulthood.

A new prospective study suggests that overtired children are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs when they become young adults by lowering their response inhibition

Young adults who had trouble sleeping in childhood were twice as likely to have the same problem in adolescence. This persistent sleep deprivation directly predicts alcohol related problems later on in young adulthood.

Could it be that irregular schedules, combined with media such as television, video and computer games are robbing your children of the sleep they need and setting them up for substance abuse later in life?

Dietary Patterns & Disease Risks

Research often focuses on how specific foods or nutrients affect our risk of disease risk. In reality, our food and nutrients interact in very complex and subtle ways. So it is a good idea to find studies that look at disease risks based on food patterns.Mixed fruits and vegetables.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in developed countries. While we know that  factors such as obesity, family history, menstrual history, and the number of children modify women's risk of cancer, these are difficult -- if not impossible -- to change. But diet can be changed!