The world is a risky place — it’s one of the first lessons we learn when we become parents. And even from the earliest days, we are bombarded with information about the potential risks associated with everything from bottle-feeding to the chemicals found in plastic toys for kids.
As our children grow up, the number of risks increases exponentially. Our kids may be tempted to smoke cigarettes, do drugs, or have unprotected sex. They may also be a victim of cyberbullying or they may post inappropriate comments or photos on social media sites. With every stage in their development, kids will have to make decisions about whether or not to engage in risky behaviour.
Now, longtime Montreal Families’ contributor Alissa Sklar offers parents and educators a blog where they can discuss and debate these risks and learn how to handle them.
Sklar draws on her personal and professional experiences: in addition to being a mother of three girls, she has a PhD in communication and cultural studies and has taught and done research on youth, media and adolescent high-risk issues. Her articles have garnered international attention and she has won several journalism awards over the past 10 years.
Sklar maintains that a certain amount of risk is normal. As she writes in her first post, “We need to take chances to learn about the world and about ourselves.” The challenge is to do so thoughtfully, picking and choosing the kinds of risk, assessing the degree of danger and possible consequences.
Sklar tackles a wide range of topics, with a focus on risks common in the preteen and teen years. Besides looking at activities many parents worry about (alcohol, drugs, sex), Sklar talks about issues related to social media sites, online gambling and texting. The blog will help adults gain the knowledge they need to facilitate how teens use these technologies.
RiskWithinReason is designed to be an online resource for parents, educators and mental health professionals. In addition to regular postings about different issues, readers will also find links to related articles presented along with brief commentaries about what makes them interesting or relevant. Sklar’s blog can be accessed through the Montreal Families site (she’s our first blogger!).