La Coop P.A.- General and Forensic Psychiatry - Boutique-Private Psychiatric and Forensic Practice in Tampa-Clearwater-Florida


August, 2011 - Focus On Kids And Substances


Now it's already time for school to start again. I want to make this email be important and about a topic that is relevant not only to what I see daily in the office, but what is also going on in your lives now or in the future.

A very important topic that I take personally is parenting and kids because I see so many teens in the office (and adults that used to be teens) and it's heartbreaking for me to see them mess up. The worst thing is seeing kids mess up and essentially getting their parents blessing to do it.

A lot of parents get frustrated with me because they feel that I am putting value judgments on them with my conservative psychoeducation/advice. But, I'm glad to see that objectively, what I have been saying for so long to parents has actually been supported by research. Below, I am placing a copy of an email that I received from my Psychiatrists listserve.

It's a little old as it's from December 2010, but it's no less valuable.

COMMENTARY: Permitted teen drinking invites lifetime of woe.

The Hingham survey results showing 27 percent of students have been at a party where parents knew that alcohol was present is sadly reflective of national survey results over many years.

Despite the growing body of scientific evidence and common sense that dictate otherwise, more than a quarter of parents enable teen drinking.

But these parents should take note.

You cannot keep imbibing children safe by taking away their car keys.

They may wander off and get run over by someone else's car; they can drown; fall down a flight of stairs and break their necks; or, most commonly, pass out, throw up and then choke to death on their own vomit.

Is this what you want for your child?

Recent neuroscience has shown that brain development continues into the mid to late 20s, and that the developing adolescent brain responds differently to alcohol than the adult brain.

Intoxicated youth are more likely than adult drunks to be mentally impaired, yet awake and mobile, which explains why alcohol-related car crashes are the leading cause of death for this age group. Early onset of drinking also increases the lifetime risk of developing alcoholism.

I have spent the last 20 years of my career as a pediatrician and researcher trying to prevent alcohol-related tragedies among teens, so I take what these misguided parents are doing very seriously. Earlier this year, my colleagues and I at Children's Hospital Boston produced a website,, which summarizes the science, and gives parents research-based strategies for keeping their teens safe, sober and successful.

Teen-Safe takes only 15 minutes and is freely available to all. Is your child's life worth 15 minutes?

Dr. John Knight of Milton is founder and director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Children's Hospital Boston.

I hope this gives you some ideas about the boundaries you should have with your children and the importance of being a good parent rather than a cool parent.


Dr. L

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