The three Rs of youth: Role models, rebellion and relationships

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We all had role models growing up. Maybe you still do.

Who was your role model? Why did you choose the person? What qualities did he/she possess?

Did your role model fall in your eyes over time? 

If you’re a parent, there’s an even bigger question you need to ask: Who is your teen’s role model? Would you like your teen to have your role model instead of the one they have selected? 

Recently, I have heard a lot of discussion among teens on role models. I have to admit that as a parent, I have some homework to do. I don’t know several of the names I’ve heard. 

If my memory serves me correctly, most of my role models fell from the pedestals on which I placed them – rebellious acts usually the main culprit.

Was their rebellion so bad? Did they deserve that fall? Everyone rebels at some time in the lifetime. Some rebel continuously. I was a late blooming rebel – I waited until I was away from home at college. 

My rebellious acts were mild compared to some of the acts I hear about today. 

A friend of mine rebels against wearing her seat belt. 

She says it’s because her mother pestered her about it, so she decided to rebel when she was no longer under her mother’s watchful eyes. 

She’s a mother herself now and, of course, wears the seatbelt when her kids are in the car, but when she’s by herself? No seatbelt. 

She is still rebelling.

What do you do when your teens rebel? 

There are many ways teens rebel today – the clothes they choose, how they speak or text, activities they engage in such as smoking, underage drinking, using drugs and other risky activities. 

I could easily stress myself to the max if I dwelled on all these things. I would rather dwell on the positive.

While some kids rebel in destructive ways, most kids make positive and healthy choices.  


A few weeks ago, I spent an evening with a few hundred teens who strive to make healthy and positive choices and encourage others not to drink underage.

The cause was Reel Action, a video contest for teens in our region. 

They create their own public service announcements encouraging other teens not to drink. 

It is so refreshing to see the work, creativity and passion these youth pour into the effort. View their work at www.reelactionky.com. 

I encourage you to take a few minutes to view some of these videos with your child. 

The award-winning videos will get more airplay and you’re likely to see these videos again on some cable stations and other media outlets. 

In the news, we are constantly bombarded with what is going “wrong” with our youth so take some time to see what is “right” with our youth. 

Taking time to view the videos together as a family could lead to some great communication in a non-threatening way and communication is key to building strong family bonds. 

Strong family bonds encourage youth to make healthy and positive choices that can lead to better grades, higher self-esteem, feeling more secure and being less likely to engage in risky behaviors listed. 

Who wouldn’t want that for their teen?

I hope this encourages you to develop a closer relationship with your family. 

More parenting and substance abuse information is available by contacting Seven Counties Services, Inc. at (502) 589-8600 or www.sevencounties.org and click on “Prevention” under the “Our Services” tab. 

If you suspect or know your teen is using alcohol or other drugs, contact the Early Intervention Program, for an assessment and educational program for youth 13-17 years of age, at 502-589-8600. 


Column by Deanna Felts, a prevention specialist for Seven Counties Services Inc. the views in this column are those of the writer.