11 Nov Be There and Be Open – Advice from Middle School Counselor Larones Nelson-Bell
Larones Nelson-Bell is a middle school counselor at New Madrid County Central Middle School. As a middle school counselor, she is responsible for identifying and addressing students’ needs, personally or academically, in order to help them succeed in life.
In an interview with Safe and Sober, Nelson-Bell explained what she wished parents knew and how parents could better assist their children when it came to discussing underage drinking.
When asked what she wished parents knew Nelson-Bell responded, “I wish parents knew that schools do have their child’s best interest at heart and I wish they knew it takes both school and parent to make a student successful.” In order to create student success, there has to be a partnership between parents and schools.
She also explained the crucial role parents play as a role model for their children, “They [parents] should be the example because children are taking it all in. They’re like a camera and they’re recording everything they see, especially in their parents.” This leads teens to ask themselves, “If my parents do it, then why can’t I? It’s important to be sure that parents are being positive examples of what age-appropriate drinking looks like.
Teens know a lot more than we may think.
“Ask them what they already know about underage drinking,” she says.
The best way to assess what a young person knows or doesn’t know is just to ask. While having this conversation with your teen, according to Nelson-Bell, it’s important to just “be honest and be real.”
These honest conversations can have massive benefits. “I would rather you call me because you’ve been drinking and face the consequences of the discipline and not burry you,” she added.
Nelson-Bell’s advice for parents having the conversation about drugs and alcohol with their child is to “let them know you would be there for them even when they make a bad choice…Let’s admit it. We are going to make bad choices.”
It’s vital for kids to know that their parents aren’t perfect; parents are imperfect people who will help them learn to be safe and successful.
As a final piece of advice to parents, Nelson-Bell ended with, “Be there and be open.”