Some great research has been done (16 years worth) by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University on the effect of frequent family dinners on teens' use of drugs and alcohol. The list of findings below come from The National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XV: Teens and Parents which CASA released on 08/19/10.
Articles in Category: Adolescence
A common conversation between parents and teens has to do with future aspirations and desires, most of which are usually focused around the teen's desire to move rather quickly and easily into the adult world, often without a realistic view of what that would mean or what it would entail. For example, the teen who is unhappy with some of his parents' restrictions and rules might say something along the lines of "When I'm 18, I'm moving out and getting my own apartment and then I'll come in at night whenever I want. Not only that, but I can do whatever I want when I want and you won't be able to tell me what to do."
One of the more common sources of frustration for parents of teens is figuring out an effective way to get them to keep their rooms clean. Sometimes this revolves around simply getting the beds made, putting laundry in the hamper, and getting the large amounts of debris cluttering the room picked up and put away. It's not uncommon for a fifteen year old boy's room to smell more like the inside of locker room, or for a girl's room to be so littered with clothes that you can't find the floor.
In the last article (Early Adolescence: Part I), I described the major changes in development that take place among young adolescents during the years between twelve and fourteen. Included was a discussion of the onset of puberty with its accompanying changes in sexuality, physical development, and new focus on appearance. Along with puberty, changes in cognitive development revealed a new capacity for thinking about problems hypothetically, allowing young teens to begin to evaluate not only their own values and behavior, but also those of authority figures and peers alike.
"The point of no return." That sounds a little ominous, but actually it's quite appropriate when we speak about the beginning of adolescence. It's not so much that we are moving into difficult territory, but more that the initiation of adolescence marks the beginning stages of the child's journey into adulthood, which once started, cannot really be halted or reversed. Once a child is beset with the physical changes of puberty, childhood as he or she knew it, and as you knew it, is gone.