Raising Boys and Girls Podcast: S4, E30 Jessica Lahey Interview

By Jessica Wolstenholm

Join Sissy Goff and David Thomas as they chat with mom, educator, writer, and addiction expert, Jessica Lahey about how to prepare kids to guard themselves against addiction.

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The Addition Inoculation

The Stress In America Report APA

The most stressed-out people in America are adolescents between the ages of 15-21.

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What are some of the most common reasons teenagers use drugs and alcohol?

Kids are untreated for learning issues. Kids whose brains feel out of control.

Sexual and physical trauma

Unresolved academic failure

Social ostracism

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Adolescents are drawn to novel things.

At the same time, they have lower levels of dopamine.

Parents can encourage adolescents toward positive risk so they feel self-efficacy and confidence which boosts their dopamine levels naturally. Jessica Lahey

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Effective medication for ADHD is actually preventative for substance abuse down the road.

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What happens when kids begin experimenting at different ages and how does it impact brain development?

Statistics show that kids whose parents allow them to experiment with substances, even under their supervision, have higher levels of substance use disorder. Jessica Lahey

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We need to parent around accurate information, not myths and 

The younger a child is when they first try drugs or alcohol, the higher their risk for lifelong substance use disorder. Jessica Lahey

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How can we encourage parents whose kids are saying, “everyone is doing it!”?

The adolescent brain is more susceptible to damage and delayed development than an adult brain when you introduce all kinds of substances to it. Jessica Lahey

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Parents need to give kids facts and refusal skills for when they are offered substances. 

This is inoculation theory.

Pluralistic Ignorance: We tend to believe that people are more invested than they actually are in alcohol consumption. We overestimate the amount that people are consuming.

The Gift of Failure

There are so many learning opportunities out there and so often we take those away from our kids.

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What is something that surprised or encouraged you in researching that book?

Formative assessments actually help with meta-cognition