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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 11, 2006

PARENT POWER
Little sleep at coed 'slumber parties'

By John Rosemond

A journalist recently asked me to name some of the dumbest things I'd ever heard concerning teenagers and their parents. I immediately thought of two. The first is the "supervised" coed teenage slumber party. According to a recent report, the coed sex sorry, I meant "slumber" party is the latest way for parents of teens to demonstrate how trusting and cool they are.

Typically, a particularly enlightened set of parents will host a party on the night of a high school dance or game. Afterward, kids meet at the hosts' home, bringing sleeping bags and "appropriate" sleep wear.

As the festivities begin, each of the invitees slips into something comfortable. A floor or area of the house is designated for teens only, and the parents promise not to intrude unless they hear something inappropriate going on. All the kids do, parents swear, is watch television and eat popcorn or dance to their favorite records or just have a rap session. Then they fall asleep, sometimes in boy-girl pairs, under blankets or inside sleeping bags that have been zipped together. But nothing goes on. The parents are sure of that.

One parent was quoted in the story as saying, "After all, they're not going to have sex in front of each other, much less right under our noses!"

Are today's parents really so stupid? Apparently, some of them are.

The second-dumbest thing was a report from the federally funded (that's a euphemism for "you and I paid for it") National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which surveyed some 90,000 students in grades seven through 12. The primary finding: Teens who have strong emotional attachments to their parents are much less likely to use drugs and alcohol, attempt suicide, engage in violent behavior, or become sexually active at an early age.

My reaction to this revelation was: THEY'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!

In other words, the con artists oops, I mean, researchers in question spent $25 million of our hard-earned money to tell us what we already know: If you demonstrate unconditional love to a child even if he/she does act like a jerk sometimes the youngster is less likely to develop serious problems than a child whose parents are unaffectionate, critical and rejecting.

Here's another astonishing finding from the same study: The presence of a parent in the home when a child comes home from school reduces the likelihood the child will use drugs or alcohol.

Translate: Adult supervision is good. Remember, folks, you and I paid $25 million for these absolutely eye-popping revelations!

Here's yet another startling revelation: Teens who have repeated a grade in school are more likely to have later problems of one sort or another than teens who have done reasonably well in school. Translate: Teens with a history of problems are likely to develop even more.

As today's teenager might say, "Well, duh!"

Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents' questions on his Web site, www.rosemond.com.