The dangerous behaviours of our teenage grandchildren 26



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Our teenage grandchildren are growing up before our eyes but new data is showing that they are getting more and more out of control.

We’ve watched them grow up and develop into independently-thinking young adults, but at the same time, with that added responsibility comes the power to make decisions, for better or worse. Two new lots of statistics this week reveal that our teenage grandchildren are participating in dangerous behaviour that could have far-reaching consequences.

Australian teenagers, aged 15 to 19 are drinking more than adults, with consumption rising 13 per cent in the last decade.

According to Farhat Yusuf and Stephen Leeder, from the University of Sydney, women had consumed 40 per cent less alcohol than men in 2001, but only 33 per cent less in 2011-12, which is worrying considering the vulnerability of young women when they drink.

Teenagers surveyed had an average daily consumption of 7.1 standard drinks, compared with 4.3 for adults – absolutely shocking news. This is averaged out over a week, but for teenagers to be consuming deadly amounts of alcohol, there is something going wrong.

One of the report’s authors, Professor Stephen Leeder, says the statistics should be a wake-up call: “Society needs to discuss alcohol and come to a much better understanding of its ill effects.”

“Alcohol is in many respects similar [to cigarettes]”, he said. “There should be more education about its sensible use … to disabuse people of the way of thinking that this is a way out of life’s difficulties”. Do you agree?

Our grandchildren’s brains are still growing into their 20s and drinking alcohol as a teen disrupts that development. The longer teenagers delay drinking alcohol, the best chance they have of reaching their full potential as an adult.

The best thing we can do as grandparents is start the conversation about the dangers of alcohol without being too strict or judgemental. It can be difficult though to get through, and some children as young as 12 can be drinking without your knowledge.

Another prevalent issue in teens is sexting – text messaging sexual images to their peers. Again, children even in primary school have been reported to send naked photos amongst themselves, without realising it can be classified as child pornography.

New research by the Australian Institute of Criminology, has revealed half of Australian teenagers have used their mobile phone to distribute a sexually explicit photograph of themselves.

Shockingly, 15 per cent of teenage boys and 10 per cent of teenage girls have sexted more than five people, while 20 per cent admitted to showing a private image they had received to a third party.

And teenage girls were more likely to send a sexually explicit message because they find it ‘fun and sexy’ and not because they feel pressured to do it.

Murray Lee, an associate professor in criminology at Sydney University, said the majority of Australian teenagers will sext at some stage and “Lots of kids are doing it, but not very often, and not with many people”, he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

This makes our role as a grandparent even more difficult because it’s hard to broach sexual subjects with grandchildren, but limiting their access to images that endorse or promote sexualisation could help them to see it’s not “cool”.

But at the end of the day, being a grandparent is a unique role because sometimes our teenage grandchildren can feel more comfortable talking about serious subjects with us than their parents. Let’s use that bond to keep our grandkids happy and out of danger.


Tell us, do you have teenage grandchildren? Do you worry about their dangerous habits? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. They are out of control, because parents have lost the art of parenting! If they went back to when they were young & taught their own children to behave & have respect they wouldn’t be having these problems now.

    1 REPLY
    • I agree Cheryl, although I think Parents have lost the RIGHT to raise their children like we were raised.

      1 REPLY
      • One of the biggest things that has basically destroyed any enforcement of rules and the ability to raise those grandkids the way they should have been is the legacy of Dr. Spock.

        When he told parents they should reason with their children, spare the rod and allow them to experience life like an adult, that took away a parent’s ability to lay down the law and enforce when necessary.

        Years later, especially after all the “liberals” put their hands in the pie, he stood back, took in the mess he’d made and said he had been wrong.

        I’m no “bible thumper” by any stretch of the imagination but the old axiom of “spare the rod and spoil the child” has come to haunt our grandchildren.

        That could be one of the reasons we have so many kids with entitlement issues.

        A friend of mine once said that he never understood why, in the Western Hemisphere, the family unit had so much “democracy” in it.

        In our time, the family was not a democratic option. Dad ruled the roost and you knew darned well that there would be consequences to your actions or inactions.

        Kids don’t have any consequences nowadays and that will be their undoing unless the pendulum swings back toward saner and more disciplined life styles within families.

  2. It certainly is a big worry, but as grandparents we don not have the right to dictate to our grandchildren. Our role is support, understanding and hopefully, some gentle guidance. There is so much affecting these children that we didn’t have in our day. I am constantly amazed at the number who “cut” – I just can’t understand this

  3. Cheryl the government is some what to blame / we can no longer smack our kids / if we lay down rules they don’t have to obey as centre link is there to help kids leave home earlier / although they are trying to toughen the rules a bit now / the kids have psychologists telling them what they can do / teachers Arnt allowed to try to control them / all the parenting has been taken out of our hands / even the police have to go through so many rules before they can chastise our kids / there is no respect / but on saying this / there are still some great kids out there / mine are now all adults / I have six / but they all tell me / thank goodness you pulled us into gear at a young age / we hate to think who or what we may have become if you hadn’t / their dad had left me to raise them / / they were 13 and under / yes and horror of horrors / I smacked my kids / and had rules / a big NO NO today / of course they were no angels but I’m pretty proud of all of them / all working / giving to others in various ways etc / yes it was a long hard experience / but well worth it / they are our kids / not governments or do gooders
    leave us to raise them well / within limits of course / they say to me / thank goodness we don’t give you the grief today that we used to as kids / they tell all the young kids / our mum used to belt us / and we are so glad she does / of course there has to be rules for child abuse but there is a limit of what child abuse is /

    7 REPLY
    • I agree too. It’s so sad. This is a catastrophe ! Society is now paying for it in a big way.

    • The do gooders got to much in the ear of the gov. And now all hell is breaking loose, these kids need to get a clip under the ear when they misbehave.

    • Doesn’t help tho David as government make it easy for them to get$$ yet people who have worked paid taxes seemingly get nothing if they have scrimped and saved to have a half decent existence! Learning lots since I left work and u do not have a huge super!

  4. There are many great kids out there…..just waiting to be noticed. All they want is your attention and your time.

  5. they are my grandchildren and it is up to my children to teach them not me.i am here to listen ,.

  6. Such a hard road for the kids these days. They all know I’m there for them,and that I would do anything for them. I always have an ear open for anything that worries them,and I m on the alert for anything that may present a red flag. They know I keep their confidence,but that I would share with their wonderful Mum anything that was in their best interests. My kids and my grandies have all been schooled to know that alcohol consumption for them is loaded,as my Father was an alcoholic and they are in line genetically to be adversely affected in an addictive way. As for drugs,please God they never go there. We talk about everything,
    and hopefully they know they are surrounded by Love and support.

  7. Angelene Dewson says it all. Smack on the backside never hurt a child yet. God forbid I said No to my children. Teachers marked in red pen making it easier for me to see their problem areas. My children had animals they had to look after them without pocket money. It was their responsibility.

  8. Yes technically we are David but the government is the one who bought in the rules so we can’t be responsible in the way we want to be / we have to follow criteria now / same as council rules for our animals etc if we break these rules in any way we are punished / and yes of course we have to have rules but the not smacking kids one is ridiculous / ask many an older person who was smacked / not beaten to extreme / that is different / most of them will tell you they suffered no ill effects physically or emotionally for it

  9. The only effect the smack on the backside had on me was…..maybe I will……aahhh maybe I won’t because last time I got whacked for it. No not doing that again. I learnt to respect my mother. When she said no she meant no.

  10. Smacking is NEVER the answer…that does not mean no discipline or boundaries…..It is a known fact that smacking can lead to anxiety and depression as an adult,and at present depression is in epidemic proportions…..domestic abuse is in record proportion ….smacking is abuse……If it was the answer,society would be in a much more loving and caring place,but sadly,it isn’t!!!

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