Reality Gap: Alcohol, Drugs, and Sex--What Parents Don't Know and Teens Aren't Telling

Overview

What every parent MUST know…

Growing up isn’t what it used to be—it’s more difficult and more dangerous. Every day, even in “safe” places like school, teens face complicated decisions about personal behavior, involving everything from drinking, to drugs, to sex. Unfortunately, many adults don’t fully grasp the true scope of the perilous world our teens inhabit. Stephen Wallace points out the “reality gap” separating parents and adults from young people at the time they need them...

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Overview

What every parent MUST know…

Growing up isn’t what it used to be—it’s more difficult and more dangerous. Every day, even in “safe” places like school, teens face complicated decisions about personal behavior, involving everything from drinking, to drugs, to sex. Unfortunately, many adults don’t fully grasp the true scope of the perilous world our teens inhabit. Stephen Wallace points out the “reality gap” separating parents and adults from young people at the time they need them most—adolescence—and offers concrete solutions to bridge this gulf.

Grounded in hard-facts with practical, common-sense advice, Reality Gap combines Wallace’s 25-plus years of experience working with young people as a school psychologist, adolescent counselor, camp director, and college professor, and groundbreaking research on adolescent attitudes and behaviors from SADD. Wallace includes concrete suggestions for improving teen-adult communication as well as age-specific “decision-points” before which parents should address various issues with their teen and pre-teen children.

With Wallace’s strong media contacts, professional affiliations, and extensive speaking platform Reality Gap promises to be a go-to book on a vital topic.

Wallace highlights the myths and rationalizations of teens and adults that help fuel the reality gap:

· The myth of improbability: “It’s not going to happen to my kid.”

· The myth of inevitability: “She’s a teenager, of course, she’s going to drink.”

· The myth of irrelevancy: “I’m the parent, he’s not going to listen to me.”

· The myth of invincibility: “I’m young, I’m healthy, I’m not going to get hurt.”

· The myth of immunity: “Even if I get caught, I’ll get out of it.”

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Former head of SADD (renamed Students Against Destructive Decisions), now a professional speaker, Wallace regularly visits schools to spread the alarm about risky behavior by teenagers-drinking and drug abuse, sex, bullying, and indulging in violence and self-destruction-and how to generate more effective communication between them and their parents. In this vigorous wakeup call for adults, he culls results from rather fuzzy, nonscientific SADD polls taken by the research project Teens Today that show how far apart teenagers and parents really are on these issues-the reality gap of the title. Moving from the statistics-heavy "Epidemic" chapter, which chronicles a staggering litany of perils like STDs and suicide, Wallace examines the turbulent changes wrought by adolescence in terms of physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development. He devotes the latter part of his work to proactive strategies for dispelling myths that keep parents in "blissful ignorance"-about the availability of drugs and alcohol, for one thing. Though the presentation can be scattershot and repetitive, Wallace's hands-on research and in-depth interviews are tremendously useful, as are his discussions of the role of the media and the mixed signals gleaned from parents. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402753046
  • Publisher: Union Square Press
  • Publication date: 8/5/2008
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Wallace has served as Chairman and CEO of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) since 1995. He directs the SADD Teens Today research project and speaks frequently to young people, their families, and professional groups (including the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Independent School Health Association, and the American Camp Association) about youth development and decision-making. He was honored by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in July 2006 as a leader in drug and alcohol education and prevention and often serves as a national spokesperson for their public awareness campaigns. In February 2008, Wallace was given a national award by the American Camp Association for “being a tireless and passionate advocate for youth and the camp movement.”
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Table of Contents


Prologue     ix
A Note from the Author     xv
Defining the Reality Gap: All May Not Be What it Seems     1
Epidemic     19
Risky Business     75
Hormones and Hobgoblins     107
Conspiracy of Silence     155
Weapons of Mass Persuasion     183
What They Learn from Us     201
Breaking Down Barriers     219
Communication Counts     245
Reason to Believe     273
Epilogue-Lessons Learned     293
Acknowledgments     297
Resources     299
Index     304
About the Author     318
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