Recently, I’ve had several youth workers lament the fact that they are ministering in churches and communities where adolescent drug and alcohol use is being promoted rather than prevented by parents. . . the very people who should be intervening to protect their kids from making horribly unwise decisions that could affect them negatively for the rest of their lives. Whenever I hear these stories, I am left shaking my head by the stupidity of parents who reason that a) they need to be their child’s friend rather than their parent, and b) that if I provide the alcohol in the context of a safe place. . . well, then nothing bad can happen. Are you really that ignorant?!?
Reality is that without even taking the moral, ethical, and spiritual implications into consideration, you are playing with fire. . . BIG fire. You see, even if a teenager is drinking in a safe environment, their malleable and impressionable developing brain is still present with them. And even if “nothing happens” in terms of accidents or run-ins with the the law, something is happening. A child or teen who consumes alcohol or dabbles in substance abuse is not only at risk for addiction, but they are doing permanent damage to their brains and bodies.
The folks at Turning Point Addiction Treatment Center recently posted a helpful infographic on the developing teen brain and substance abuse. While Turning Point might not address the spiritual component of addiction prevention and treatment in ways that would be consistent with a more Christ-centered approach, they offer up a valuable and convincing graphic introduction that can help us frame our discussions and approaches to issues related to teens and substance abuse. This is helpful. . . and we encourage you to pass it on. . .