Scottish Daily Mail
Home is where we should set the rules
AS A child hypnotherapist and mother of four children ranging in age from six to 19, I think I will hit the roof the next time I hear other parents use the phrase: ‘As long as it’s under my roof.’ Why do some people think it’s OK to allow their underage children to take drugs, have sex and drink alcohol — as long as it’s in the family home? That should be the one place they should be sure of being protected. home is where boundaries and rules are set. It’s where you give your children sound advice and teach them the consequences of their actions. Teenagers, and even ‘tweenagers’, are more miserable than ever, as shown by the increase in eating disorders, drug-taking and anxiety. The finger of blame has been rightly pointed at social media, where apps filter your photographs to the point you don’t even recognise yourself. But I would also say that parents bear some responsibility for their children’s unhappiness. I’m not a perfect parent, if there is such a thing, but I try to do my best to ensure my children are kept from harm, physically and mentally. I tell them about the dangers of drug abuse and how easily an addiction can be triggered. We discuss the fact that having sex too young can lead to insecurities, a bad reputation, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. I certainly do not encourage my underage children and their friends to have pre-drinks at my house before a night out. When another parent told me they allow this, I replied that children should be commended for not feeling they need to get ‘off their faces’ to have a good time, and should be encouraged to be shepherds, not sheep. I am shocked to see mothers flaunting images on their Instagram accounts of their scantily clad daughters with the caption: ‘So grown up.’ I have heard some parents joke about how their teenager got drunk at a party and ended up in hospital. Others have told me they have deep, meaningful conversations with their child while sharing a spliff. Their excuse for condoning this behaviour is that it ‘happens under my roof’ where they can ‘keep an eye on them’. The home should be a safe place, where parents communicate with their children by telling them drugs and underage sex and drinking are illegal for a reason. You don’t allow your teenagers to act in a way that could harm them not only because you love them, but because their brains and bodies are underdeveloped and they don’t have the physical and emotional capacity of an adult. As parents, we strive to provide a roof over our family’s heads. Surely that means protection, not an invitation to prove you are a ‘cool’ parent.