Emeritus Prof. J. David Hawkins: Preventing Teen Substance Abuse | Raising Parents #28

In this episode, host Dina Sargeant is joined by Dr. J. David Hawkins who is an Emeritus Professor at Northwestern University, Founding Director of the Social Development Research Group, and principal investigator of the Community Youth Development Study

Adolescence is a stressful time for parents, marked as it is by often surprising acts of exploration and self-discovery of their children. To mitigate the potential harms of risky behaviors that occur during this stage, understand how this developmental stage works through this podcast.

Meet Dr. J. David Hawkins

Dr. J. David Hawkins, Emeritus Professor and Founding Director of the Social Development Research Group, is renowned for his pioneering work in child and adolescent health and behavior prevention. With a BA from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University, David has dedicated his career to identifying and mitigating risk factors while enhancing protective measures in families, schools, and communities.

About the episode

The episode started with how Prof. J. David Hawkins defines parenting as the system of actions, skills, and practices that help promote the positive relationship between parents and children. He discussed how healthy parenting should form strong bonds that make children want to comply with the systems, rules, and standards for behavior.

David debunks two common misconceptions: that parents don’t have control over their children during adolescence or that they should exert too much control. He divulged that balance should be maintained. Forming strong, positive relationships does make a difference during this growth period.

The guest talked about the risk-taking behaviors that occur during adolescence. Research has proven that parenting strategies and strong familial bonds can mitigate long-term negative physiological and psychological behaviors.

As an extension, the episode then delved into the specifics of parenting practices. They discussed what risk-taking behavior should be allowed and encouraged, how parents can determine what’s permissible, and warning signs that parents should know.

They also delved deep into teenage substance abuse, and how alcohol and marijuana are often thought of as gateway substances into deeper substance addiction. For this, even delaying the onset of practice is key to preventing long-term abuse.

They then discussed the Social Development Strategy, which consists of five in-depth, research-backed strategies for preventing substance abuse that parents can implement to secure a sure future for their children.

In conclusion

Adolescence can often make parents feel like their children walk on a knife’s edge between healthy adulthood or a lifelong struggle with substance abuse. However, there is a clear and scientific roadmap for navigating these times, which is the Social Development Strategy. This episode is an excellent chance to learn these transformative parenting skills.

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