Marijuana vs. Alcohol: Which Is Having More Impact on Your Teen?

For good reason, parents don’t want their teens to experiment with drugs or alcohol of any kind. But many adolescents do try drugs, especially marijuana and alcohol.

When your teen comes home obviously under the influence, are you more concerned to discover they’ve been drinking or smoking pot? Here is a comparison of these drugs and their impact on teenagers’ lives.

Is Alcohol More Dangerous Than Pot?

Although many experts argue that pot is safer than alcohol, the risks of smoking marijuana are hard to ignore. Marijuana contains even more of the cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke, and regular use can lead to the following ailments:

  • Certain types of cancer
  • Respiratory problems (such as coughing and wheezing, chest colds and lung infections like pneumonia)
  • Impaired immune system
  • Depression
  • Cognitive impairments (such as delusions, hallucinations, disorientation and impaired memory)
  • Cardiovascular disease

In addition to the negative health effects, addiction counselors have noted that pot is a gateway drug (a drug that leads people to try other drugs). Young people assume that if they smoke pot and don’t have an immediate adverse reaction, they can safely move on to alcohol or harder drugs such as cocaine, LSD or methamphetamine.

Another serious concern with marijuana is that it is often laced with more dangerous drugs like meth, without the user knowing. Before they know it, teens are addicted not only to marijuana, but also to the drugs it was laced with.

All of this isn’t to say that alcohol isn’t dangerous for teens. Drinking alcohol has been associated with violence, risky sexual behavior, unintentional injury and alcohol poisoning, as well as long-term health risks.

Learn more about the dangers of teen pot and alcohol use >>

Is Sleep Deprivation Putting Your Teen at Risk for Depression & Thoughts of Suicide?

The “sleepy teen” is somewhat of a stock character in countless sitcoms and other forms of pop culture entertainment. For example, one of the running jokes in the comic strip Zits involves two parents’ exasperation over the hibernation-like sleep habits of their teenage son.

But while this topic may be a popular choice for less-than-inspired scriptwriters, the truth of the matter is that sleep – or, to be more specific, the lack thereof – is an important issue that may be wreaking havoc with the mental health of adolescents and teenagers around the world.

For example, after evaluating data on more than 15,000 U.S. teenagers that had been collected by the National Institutes of Health, a team headed by Columbia University Medical Center researcher James Gangwisch determined that sleeplessness increased the likelihood of teen depression and thoughts of suicide.

Read more about the negative effects of sleep deprivation on teenagers >>

8 Ways to Help Your Teen Find a Job in Today’s Economy

You promised your son that you would help him buy a car when he turned 16 if he could contribute at least a portion of the purchase price. You thought having him earn and save money to help buy a car would teach him valuable lessons, such as responsibility, the benefits of hard work and the gratification of buying something with your own hard-earned money.

Today’s economy is making it hard to get those lessons learned. Where teens could once easily get a job at the local fast food restaurant, coffee shop, grocery store or ice cream parlor, these days they are competing with the millions of professionals who were laid off from their jobs and need a part-time job to support their families.

Since December 2007, more than 7 million jobs have been lost, and the unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 10 percent. While those figures may make it much more difficult for your teen to find an after-school or summer job, it doesn’t make it impossible. Here are some ways you can help your teen find a job in today’s economy:

1. Prepare a Solid Resume

A good skill for your teens to learn is how to prepare a solid resume. This is something that will not only help them get a job during high school, but also will be of use in their future careers.

Most teens don’t have a lot of work history to present in a resume, but there are still ways to showcase their strengths. Have them include places they’ve volunteered, activities they are involved with in school and any other things they have done that demonstrate they are responsible (such as tutoring other kids or writing for the school newspaper). If they have strong grades, also include their GPA to show potential employers that your teen is hard working and conscientious.

As with any resume, make sure that it has been proofread and edited so that there are no grammatical or typographical errors. The look of the resume is just as important as the content.

Continue reading seven more ways to help your teen get a job this summer >>