Eleventh Grade: Challenges

Eleventh Grade Some of the challenges that could be facing you and your 11th-grader include:

• Drugs. If your teenager has moved from "using," or simply experimenting with drugs every once in a while, to "abusing," or developing what seems to be an addiction to them, then his reasons for doing so probably aren't because "it's fun" or because of peer pressure. Rather, teens who are addicted are usually trying to produce positive feelings to block out emotional problems. Teenagers are very much like adults in this way: They're getting drunk or high to escape what's bothering them.

• Sex. It's now even more likely that your child is having sex. One parental response commonly heard these days is not particularly helpful: "If you are having sex, I don't want to know about it." While this may seem like an enlightened view - it gives them their privacy but doesn't imply that you're happy about their sexual activity - it ends up alienating your teen from you and the family. It could set up a pattern by which he doesn't tell you things about his life that he believes will upset you. Using this sort of line with your kids will also mean that you lose the opportunity to discuss birth control or safe sex with them: Many "first-timers" don't use birth control, and even after they lose their virginity, teenagers often continue to use unreliable birth control methods, such as withdrawal.

• Curfews. You may find you are arguing about this topic quite a bit. It's only natural because he's expecting to enjoy more freedom than ever while you are still thinking of him as a rule-abiding resident of your home.

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