Some teens party too much and lose their heads. We can inspire youth to choose self-discipline and moderation.
Whether it’s Spring Break, a frat or field party, or just a kickback in a friend’s basement, self-discipline and moderation are the virtues we want kids to choose to keep them safe and their parents sane. A midnight run to the emergency room (or the morgue) because of an alcohol or drug overdose is every parent’s worst nightmare.*
No matter how uncomfortable or awkward, it’s a parent’s duty to have “The Talk” about underage drinking and drug use with their kids. Don’t worry about being a hypocrite—no matter how much of a boozer, stoner or druggie you were in your youth (or currently are), it’s a parent’s responsibility to keep their kids sober and safe. Yelling at your kid as they’re leaving for the party “don’t drink and don’t take any drugs!”, doesn’t qualify as “The Talk”. Nor do threats of punishment. As we all know, fear tactics are quickly forgotten in a moment of desire.
Parents need to spent time with their teenage sons or daughters before they discover the joy of partying. Here’s an example of what “The Talk” might sound like between a parent and daughter the morning after celebrating her 13th birthday.
PARENT: “Now that you’re a teen I can’t help but notice that afternoon birthday parties and goodie bags are a thing of the past.”
DAUGHTER: “Uh, yeah…”
PARENT: “Have you been to a party… and seen any alcohol or drug use? “
DAUGHTER: “Uh, no…”
PARENT: “What if the cool kids asked you to join them in doing shooters or to smoke a joint? What would you say?”
DAUGHTER: “I don’t know…I guess like NO, right?
Be patient, parents. This is more than a casual ‘chat’; it may sound melodramatic, but it could be the conversation that saves your kid’s life. Listen and watch for changes in their tone of voice and body language. Maybe the cues are signaling you to wait for another day to bring up the subject. It could be during a car ride, or while you’re doing dishes together. You’ll know when the time is right. And keep trying; your kid needs to hear “The Talk” from you. It’s a basic act of love and compassion; and despite the eye rolling and the “OMGs”, teens need to hear you care.
PARENT: “Why do you think some kids drink and use drugs? Is it peer pressure? Is it because of school or parental pressures?”
You may be surprised by the wisdom and insights that come from the ‘mouths of babes’. It may be something like this:
DAUGHTER: “Most of my friends think being ‘bad’ is more fun, but they don’t want to take responsibility for their actions, so they drink or take drugs. When they act stupid they blame it on being wasted.”
Again, resist the urge to use fear tactics or being overly dramatic. Saying things like, “What happens when they get rufied, date raped, or die in a car accident? How much fun is that?!” makes kids tune-out.
So what is the best advice parents can give their daughters and sons? “Tune into your self-discipline and choose not to drink or do drugs.” Self-discipline is having the self-control to do only what we truly choose to do, without being blown off course by our desires. It is establishing healthy and ennobling habits.
If you think your kid is going to experiment, like most kids do†, then make sure they understand the power of drugs and alcohol, and inspire them to choose moderation.
Moderation means making the right choices because we love ourselves enough to care. The self-discipline and self-respect that comes with moderation protects us from falling into addictive patterns. Moderation empowers teens to keep their heads screwed on tight.
A parent who takes the time to listen to their children, and who chooses virtues, will be inspired to say something meaningful, relevant and sincere.
PARENT: “It’s hard to resist and say ‘no’ when the vodka is flowing, the joints are passing and the pills are popping. Just remember, you can protect yourself from over drinking, over smoking, over anything, by choosing and using self-discipline and moderation. The best advice I can give you is not to drink or do drugs. Getting drunk and high takes you away from your sensibilities and puts you in a vulnerable and ‘out of control’ space. If that ever happens, call or text me and I will be there for you; no judgments.”
*In 2010, there were approximately 189,000 emergency rooms visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm
†In 2015, the National Survey on Drug Use and Healthhttps://www.cdc.gov/Other/disclaimer.html reported that 20% of youth aged 12 to 20 years drink alcohol and 13% reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.
Stay tuned to The V Channel for more on the ‘what, why and how’ of Self-discipline and Moderation.
This is just one example of our “Virtues-Driven” content. With the support of Vice Media, The V Channel can be the most authentic and interesting parenting advice platform available in the media today.
Because “Crest doesn’t want to be next to severed heads.”
— Shane Smith
Or contact Scott Feraco, Founder and Creative Director:
scott@theVchannnel.com or call/text 917-445-0102.
We can inspire parents (and even fussy babies) to choose patience.
Let’s take a fresh look at the cliché, “Patience is a virtue”, because a baby crying at an ear-drum-busting-decibel-level can quickly drive the most resilient parent over the edge. Patience is enduring a delay or bad situation without complaining. Patience means having self-control because you can’t always control a baby, a rebellious teen, or a temperamental boss when things don’t go as planned. Patience is persevering––it’s sticking with something for as long as it takes. If your toddler is throwing a tantrum over a lost pacifier, don’t give up. Breathe and choose patience as you search for the darn thing.
It’s never too early to talk about virtues with children. We can say to a three-month old who is waiting to be fed, “You’re being really patient.” And if they start to fuss, “Be patient, sweetheart, I will feed you as soon as I wash my hands.” When we talk about virtues we set in motion a positive and meaningful dialogue that lasts a lifetime.
It’s never too late to learn about virtues. Parents, grandparents, teachers and coaches—everyone who deals with children—can gain a new perspective on what it takes to raise ‘good’ kids. Patience is a commitment to the future. It is doing something now so that later something good will happen. It is also tolerating all the things necessary to make it happen. Patience is seeing the end in the beginning––doing what you can and then calmly waiting with trust that the results will come. It takes a ton of patience (and many other virtues) to raise kids who grow up to be adults that make responsible and ethical choices. That’s what our world needs.
Parents have a natural tendency to put their children’s needs first. But a parent’s top priority should be to keep their sanity. Instead of getting uptight and stressed-out when your kid melts down, choose patience and surrender to the screaming and crying. When you practice patience, you can go with the flow and let your child cry while standing by, calmly letting them know they are safe and loved. If the meltdown occurs in a public place, like at the supermarket or airport, take your child to an out-of-the-way area and let ‘em wail. Do not threaten them, shame them or blame them. Never walk away from them to instill fear. Be patient. Rise above the crying. Wiping away a child’s tear or stroking their hair while gently saying, “I understand.” makes a deep impression that creates a sense of security in a scary world.
No matter how dramatic a child acts, do not give in to unreasonable demands. Kids learn to manipulate parents to get their way by throwing hissy fits and tantrums. Once that pattern is set it’s very difficult to break.
When you are with your children be with them, not on social media, thinking about your to-do list or consumed with work-related worries. During the rare nights when you go out with friends, don’t worry about your children with the babysitter or at a sleepover. The same applies to those intimate moments with your spouse or lover. The kids may be in the next room, but you can still allow yourself to feel. Being in ‘the moment’ may not come easily. Don’t give up. Be patient.
Taking care of young children is demanding and exhausting, so remember to take care of yourself. At the end of the day when the kids are in bed, if a bottle of your favorite lager, a glass of wine or a toke helps, great (all in moderation, of course). Being a ‘good’ parent doesn’t mean you no longer indulge—just not as much as you did in the good old daze! Whether you choose to partake in your favorite substance, go to a yoga class or out for a run, self-care is crucial. A happy, healthy parent leads to a happy, healthy child.
Teaching virtues to children is an ongoing process. As toddlers grow up and become teens, choosing patience can be just as challenging. Watch our student “V” Video about an impatient city girl who learns patience with the help of her violin (and her dad).
The V Channel’s goal is to produce hundreds of student “V” Videos that parents can share with their kids, to model positive behavior without stereotypes and clichés of what ‘good’ is.
Remember, it’s not enough to simply say, “Be patient.” Kids need to understand the benefits of choosing virtues. Explain to them how choosing patience will improve their own lives first. You know your kids are practicing patience when they…
- Calmly tolerate a delay or confusion
- Are willing to wait for things they want
- Set goals and stick with them until they are completed
- Do something now, which will help them in the future
- Accept things they cannot control. Remind your kids, humor helps!
- Are gentle with others when they make mistakes
People who are impatient can’t stand to wait for anyone and fuss the whole time, which makes them and everyone more upset. When people are impatient, they act mad and irritable when things don’t go their way or other people make mistakes. They whine, complain, or criticize. Kids who are impatient act like spoiled brats. They cause resentment, which leads to problems. You know your kids need more patience when they…
- Think that everything they want should come right away
- Figure that if something takes time it is not worth it
- Get frustrated if things do not happen right away
- Do only things that have instant payoff
- Are irritable with others when they make a mistake or keep them waiting
Take a few minutes and deepen your understanding of the most famous virtue of them all. Check out the What, Why and How of Patience >
Then talk with your kids.
Stay tuned to The V Channel for more on the ‘what, why and how’ of Patience.
We can inspire kids to choose courage and say no to bullying.
There’s been a lot of attention given to the problem of bullying in schools and online. PSAs tell kids to, “Say No to Bullying.” Great advice, but kids need more than a catch phrase. Parents and teachers need to teach kids the ‘what, why and how’ of Courage to empower children to help stop bullying. Begin by explaining, “Courage is doing what you know is right regardless of the risks.” It’s not letting your fear get the better of you; it’s reaching beyond your comfort zone and taking on new challenges. When kids follow through with courage they grow confidence.
It takes a lot of courage for a 10 year-old boy or girl to stand up against a bully. It helps to remember that most bullies are usually looking for attention. Kids can say something funny or clever like, “Wow, you have a really forceful personality! Like a raging hurricane, you have blown me away.” And then walk away. Or try and catch them off guard by giving them a compliment, “You have a major influence on people—Just think what a powerful leader you would be if you learned to practice the virtues of Respect and Friendliness.”
Bullies are often victims of abuse at home, by an older sibling, or even their parents. So along with courage, parents can teach kids compassion. No matter how mean a kid is on the outside, they have the virtues on the inside.
Whether saying “No” to bullying, speaking in front of the class, or doing a radical BMX bike trick, courage empowers kids to overcome adversity, rise above negative influences, and be a good person in an often negative, hostile and competitive world.
In this pilot episode, Morgan, The V Channel’s ‘Kid Correspondent’, interviews a boy from New York City. He tells his story of how he learned to practice courage to overcome fear when he rides the subway to school alone for the first time.
Stay tuned to The V Channel for more on the ‘what, why and how’ of Courage.
Cartoons are funny, but real-life choices are serious. We can inspire kids to choose honesty.
Kids should be free to choose their entertainment and laugh their asses off. However, beginning at an early age parents need to guide their children and to teach them the difference between fact and fiction, good and bad, or right from wrong. When Bart lies, steals or cheats, parents can recognize it as a ‘teachable moment.’
Start by talking about virtues like Honesty to help children understand that when people are dishonest, we can’t trust them. If someone makes up stories to cover up a mistake, it’s hard to correct. Without honesty people would always be suspicious. Honesty is telling the truth without exaggerating or trying to impress another. When we’re honest we keep the promises we make. We say what we mean and we mean what we say…everyday.
Making the wrong choice sucks. Unlike on TV, serious mistakes in real-life don’t have happy endings. It’s a parent’s responsibility to keep their kids safe (and out of jail) by helping them make the right choices. To paraphrase Bart from the Season 13 episode “The Parent Rap”: “If I grow up to be a halfway-decent person, I know it’ll be because of my mom and dad.”
Stay tuned to The V Channel for more on the ‘what, why and how’ of Honesty.
We can inspire creativity so young people can leave a positive mark on the world.
UrbanDictionary.com defines tagging as: “Much like, but not to be confused with graffiti.” Tagging is a way for young people, usually male teens, to leave their ‘mark’ in public—on walls, bus-stops, alleyways, paved streets, billboards, garage doors, bridges, and mailboxes—usually done in one color with a single can of spray paint or thick marker.
Adults hate tagging and graffiti. Here’s a comment by a city official, “Vandals like to show off their ‘tags’ to their peers and call themselves ‘Graffiti artists’—graffiti tagging is not ART, it is UGLY.”
At The V Channel, we think beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Each tag is unique and original in its own way. But teens need to know that tagging and graffiti is vandalism. If they are caught, they can be charged with a crime that will stain their permanent record as they try to go to college and start a career. Parents can support teens in expanding their options beyond vandalism by talking about the what, why and how of Creativity.
Creativity is the power of imagination. It is seeing old things in new ways, and doing things in a way that have not been done before. Creativity is life affirming. It’s the muse with the juice that keeps on flowing when we are open to receive. Practicing creativity inspires us to play and have fun; the quintessential stress reliever. It is our ticket to uniqueness, resourcefulness and intuition. Creativity is the birthplace of imagination, inspiration and dreams.
Props to the creative-thinking adults who are re-directing youth’s rebellious spirit and doing programs that provide teens with a sanctioned place to put their talent to a positive use.
Check out this article in the NY Times about an auto-body shop owner who bought an abandoned house and invited graffiti artists to paint it for an exhibition.
In the UK, Graffiti Stars are turning the subversive art form into a constructive and positive experience for kids by hosting graffiti parties and school workshops.
Imagine if the NYC Transit Authority donated ad space to promote the virtue of Creativity.
Not every teen is a budding artist wielding a marker or spray can. Some express themselves through their choice of music or the way they dress. Parents may not like their kid’s choice of music, hairstyle, make-up or clothes, but they can speak the language of virtues by saying things like, “I appreciate the creativity in that beat”, or “Your hairstyle is very creative, and colorful!” To those parents who get upset because their kids are covered in tattoos, piercings, wearing ripped jeans, say something like, “When I grew up styles were different, but I’m trying to accept the ‘creativity’ in today’s fashion styles.” There are times when a ‘white lie’ is better than a child’s resentment caused by a parent’s judgment and control. Of course, if parents begin talking about virtues with their children at an early age, chances are kids will respect their bodies and practice discernment when choosing clothes, piercings, tattoos and hair styles.
There’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ kid. They’re either misguided or unaware of the choices available to them in life. Parents and teachers can teach kids of all ages creativity, and inspire them to leave a positive mark on the world.
Stay tuned to The V Channel for more on the ‘what, why and how’ of Creativity.
We can inspire youth to choose responsibility behind the wheel or in the back seat.
Sometimes young minds don’t think clearly in the heat of the moment, and it only takes ONE MOMENT to fuck-up the future. DUI? Texting and crashing? STD? Unwanted pregnancy? All are fuck-ups. All are preventable.
There are many reasons why teens choose to do stupid things behind the wheel, like speeding, texting, drinking or doing drugs and having sex in the back seat. Curiosity, peer pressure, and a desire to be ‘cool’ are common reasons. Simply being young is another reason teens make dumb choices. Neuroscientists report that a crucial part of the brain—the frontal lobe—is not fully developed in teens. It’s the part of the brain that says, “Is this a good idea?” or “What is the consequence of this action?”
No matter how mature they act or how much they seem to know-it-all, teens need guidance. Don’t rely on the school, the media or some corporate cause-related marketing campaign to teach your kids important life lessons. PSA’s and nonprofits like Above The Influence and Truth are great resources, but they can’t love and support a child (and enforce the rules) like only a parent can.
Research shows parents have a big influence on their teens, even when it doesn’t seem that way. Talk openly with your children and stay actively engaged in their lives. Know what your kids are watching on TV and online. Gossip sites can be a great conversation starter to discuss other people’s fuck-ups. Watching a celebrity crash and burn can provide parents with an opportunity to talk about the teachable moment without passing judgments and threats of going to hell for their sins. We can leverage these moments to give our kids positive guidance. We can help them understand that being responsible means others can depend on you. When you are responsible, you keep your agreements.
Before you hand over the keys to the car, make an agreement with your son or daughter that they won’t speed, text, or drink and drive. If they get carried away with passion, insist they use a condom for safer sex. Write up a contract and make them sign it. Have a sense of humor about it all, but be serious about your intentions, and don’t cave in Responsibility is a serious business and teens and adults need to practice this virtue if we ever want to truly grow up.
Stay tuned to The V Channel for more on the ‘what, why and how’ of Responsibility.
We can inspire minors to choose assertiveness to resist peer pressure and dangerous influences.
There is no denying it. The day will come when all good little boys and girls grow up, and chances are they’ll be exposed to some seriously negative shit. They’re going to hear stories from their peers about how cool it is to get drunk or high. The media will present thousands of images depicting violence, and how brandishing a piece is a badass way to solve problems.
Parents must be engaged with their children. Know what video games your kids are playing, and what they are watching on TV and online. Ask them what social media pages they follow. Not out of judgment… out of concern and caring. Because we will never be able to completely shield our kids from negative media, experts recommend teaching children media literacy to help them better understand the messages they receive from television, the Internet, video games, music, and other forms of media.
Know where your kids are after school and who they hang out with. Discuss and set clear boundaries with your kids about age-appropriate pastimes. When tweens and teens are bored and have no direction, trouble is never far behind. Lack of purpose and misplaced idealism can be an enticing recipe for anything from misdemeanors to gang violence or even murder. Step up and put some time in to help them find engaging activities. There are dozens to choose from; Parkour, self-defense, hip-hop dance classes, media clubs, cooking clubs, chess clubs, not to mention team sports and art classes. If you can’t afford the fees, don’t let pride stand in the way. Write a letter to your local councilperson and request financial aid.
Anyone can end up in jail, on the street or dead, simply by making a seriously bad choice. So every young person should know the what, why and how of assertiveness. They can choose to say, “no thanks”, or “I’ll pass”, or “it’s not my thing”. Assertiveness is having the courage and clarity to set clear boundaries without guilt or feeling pressured to do something we don’t want to do. It’s kick-ass confidence in knowing and feeling our truth, our worth and our dignity. We acknowledge our awesomeness. We can walk away from booze, drugs, guns, and any kind of violence knowing that we shine without that shit.
Tapping into assertiveness we can resist peer pressure, rise above negative influences, and stand up for what we think is right and just. When we choose assertiveness and set clear boundaries around what we will and will not do, we respect ourselves and that lets others know we are worthy of their respect too.
The way a child turns out is beyond a parent’s control. However, doesn’t it make sense to teach our children the virtues from “A” to “Z” so they stand a better chance of growing up strong and able to recognize the difference between good and bad, or right from wrong?
Our children grow up so quickly. At 18, our kids are considered adults and can legally make all of their own decisions. While we have the chance, let’s make time to give our kids positive guidance and encourage them to choose virtues so they can confidently make ethical, responsible choices in adulthood.
Stay tuned to The V Channel for more on the ‘what, why and how’ of Assertiveness.
Or contact Scott Feraco, Founder and Creative Director:
scott@theVchannnel.com or call/text 917-445-0102
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