Resisting negative pressure

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By The Staff

This week we look at Asset #35, Resistance Skills. According to the Search Institute, “Youth are more likely to grow up healthy when they can resist negative peer pressure, and dangerous situations.

According to data for the nation, only 46 percent of youth report having this skill.

If I could tell you in a 700-word column how to solve this problem, I’d be a wealthy woman.

This is one of those skills that must be acquired over time and doesn’t just happen because they reach the magical age of 18 or 21.

Think about it, you probably know several 40-year- olds who shouldn’t be allowed to vote due to the fact that they make decisions based on some random unsubstantiated fact or other reason that shouldn’t be a deciding factor.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are many 17-year-olds who are more intelligent and could make a more informed decision than half the people you know.

My point is that unless you test the temperature of the water with your big toe, you don’t know if you should dive in the pool.

It is exactly the reason a driver’s license is given with some restrictions. It allows the driver to experience situations during optimal times and under optimal conditions.

When I landed my first job in radio, I hadn’t even started my internship for college. The music director said, “The best way to learn is to be thrown into the bastions of hell.”

If you were to listen to that first cassette tape, sorry for the old school reference, you would get quite a laugh. I had moved from Orlando, Fla., to Idaho Falls, Idaho, and I spoke a mile a minute.

Again, my point is that I’m sure my boss did that out of necessity, because it certainly would have been more logical for me to have some skills under my belt before beginning my career as a radio personality.

You have to trust kids to make their own mistakes and even more than that, to suffer the consequences of making the wrong choice. I don’t mean in the, “I told you so,” sort of way, but in the, “You break it, you buy it,” way.

I hear many parents who want to blame everybody around their child for what goes wrong.

No consequences for anything and then another bad event and still not their fault, and then another bad event and then we’re just biding time until they turn 18 and then it isn’t the problem of the parent anymore, but for the kid, it might be too late.

Youth also need to be able to talk to adults without fear of the adult trying to solve every problem. Have you ever seen the group where the adult gets the kids to scream, “NO!” It sounds silly, but if you do it enough times, saying no isn’t so hard.

If you’re an adult and don’t understand my example, try saying no to volunteering, the next cookie offered at the office, the daily cigarette or the next situation where you drink and drive. If you say no once, it is much easier to say no the second time around.

Life is no different for our youth today. The truth is their lives have them facing situations that would turn your hair blue at the thought of it.

The examples aren’t fit for print, but if asked what things our kids locally are facing, I will share if you ask me.

Talk to them, even if you think they don’t listen. Tell them about tough situations you face and let them know the door is open.

If you need a different topic than smoking, drinking or sex, try using other real life examples like Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela or maybe even a time you said no because it was the right thing to do.

Bernadette Lauritzen is the Coordinator of the Assets In Action program and comments are welcome at 661-4846 or at AssetsInAction@att.net.

Join her for Monday Matters from 9-10am on AM 1490, KRSN. She’ll talk to Assistant Superintendent Kate Thomas about the 2009 Bond election. This community approach is sponsored by the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board.