My, my, It appears another infamous and very well-paid athlete admits to cheating. All-star third baseman (and highest-paid player---a $252 million ten-year contract!!!), Alex Rodriguez, has confessed to using steroids.
The list of Hall of Shame athletes confessing to taking banned substances just gets longer and longer. But steroid use is also rampant among the tween and teen set and that's exactly why I hope you're going to cut this article out of today's paper and use it for another teachable moment.
Here are some pointers for opening up dialogue with your children:
Open up the steroid dialogue. Don't wait for your kid to come to you. "Hey Mom, can we talk about steroids?" probably isn't going to be the reality. Open up that conversation with your child by the time he or she reaches fourth grade. Remember, fifth graders are now indulging, so get a year start. Just tailor your talk to their level. Remember, one talk isn't going to do it. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Use real-world events. Cut out an article and use it as your conversation opener: "Do you think he should make the Hall of Fame if they find out he took steroids?" "Do you think he knows what the long-term damage could be on his body?" "What are you friends saying?"
Do your homework. If you want to talk steroids you better be one step ahead of your kid. Read up on the dangers so you can talk facts and knowledge. If you aren't getting through, enlist the help of your doctor or child's coach. Useful sites include:
Discuss the health dangers. There are clear health risks that your child needs to know. Here are just a few: severe acne, loss of hair, liver abnormalities (including peliosis hepatitis or blood-filled cysts), increase in the harmful kind of cholesterol, rage, angry outbursts or uncontrolled aggressive behavior, increase in blood clots, and high blood pressure. The results really aren't back yet on real long-term effects of steroid use--especially on young bodies.
Share your views. Many kids actually feel their parents are accepting of steroids. Why? Well, it seems one of the biggest reasons kids take steroids is to please their parents. If you've been stressing over that college scholarship or focused on winning at any cost or constantly talking about how proud you are that she's such an athlete ("The Olympics are right around the corner, darling"), then bite your tongue. Your child needs to know (and pronto) why you think steroids are wrong (think this one through carefully so you do create a strong, powerful case), and what your family values are (push the fact that this is also cheating, lying and deception).
Just as parents are the best antidotes for drugs, they are also the best hope for stopping the deadly and fast-rising trend towards steroid use. Let the media frenzy around fallen heroes serve as your opportunity to start the steroid talk.
- The Fall of Michael Phelps: Talking to Your Kids
- Should parents worry about tarnished teen heroes?
- TODAY on iVillage