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Survey From The Partnership and MetLife Foundation Reveals Important Role Today's Grandparents Play in Teens' Lives
Date:9/9/2007

Seven Out of Ten Grandparents Believe Today's Teens Face Greater Worries

Growing Up

NEW YORK, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The Partnership for a Drug-Free America(R), in collaboration with MetLife Foundation, today announced the results of a new survey highlighting the vital role grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. Released today, Grandparent's Day, the survey underscores the heightened awareness and understanding grandparents have of their grandchildren's lives and sheds light on grandparents as an important family resource in helping today's youth make healthy choices.

According to the nationally projectable survey(1), seven out of 10 (69 percent) grandparents reported they believe their grandchildren face greater worries than their parents did growing up. To that end, the majority of grandparents surveyed reported they believe main causes for increased worry among teens are peer pressure and pressure to try drugs and alcohol.

Additionally, 48 percent of grandparents believe that many of today's parents just don't have "enough time" -- and these significant time barriers prevent parents from talking with kids about drugs and alcohol. With over half (54 percent) of grandparents in regular contact with their oldest grandchild on a monthly basis, it is clear that grandparents are an important ally for modern families. The survey shows that while grandparents did not accept sole responsibility for any one activity in their grandchild's life, many do feel they share responsibility with the child's parents to provide guidance and care in the lives of their grandchildren.

"Today's grandparents are more active and involved in the lives of their grandchildren and this unique research provides rich insight into the significant role grandparents play as caregivers in their extended families," said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership. "The number of frequent discussions between parents and teens about the risks of drug abuse has decreased significantly, at a time when teens are faced with new threats like the intentional abuse of medicines and inhalants. Grandparents are distinctly positioned to help parents raise healthy children by helping initiate some of those conversations."

The survey further showed a majority of grandparents (56 percent) reported already having had a discussion about drugs with their oldest grandchild - and of those who had a discussion, nearly nine out of 10 (86 percent) said they felt "very comfortable" talking to their grandchild about alcohol or drug use.

"Grandparents play an important role in their grandkids' lives," said Sibyl Jacobson, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. "With the right tools, resources and support, grandparents can help ensure kids are not at risk for abusing drugs and alcohol."

Grandparents Say They Want More Information to Start Conversations with

Grandkids

A third of grandparents surveyed reported they would like access to resources that provide parents and grandparents with free online information and tools to educate their children and grandchildren about the risks of drugs and alcohol, and over 50 percent of grandparents report having access to the Internet. In fact, many grandparents are already turning to the Internet, seeking information on how to help prevent a grandchild from using drugs and alcohol.

This summer, the Partnership for a Drug Free America launched Time To Talk(TM), a new year-round nationwide movement designed to encourage and empower parents, grandparents and caregivers to talk with their kids often about the risks of drug and alcohol abuse. TimeToTalk.org provides parents helpful tips and tools to begin these conversations and the encouragement to help parents keep it going over the long haul. Parents and caregivers can sign up for free monthly newsletters and gain access to tools such as, Tips for Getting the Conversation Started, How to Help Your Kid Turn Down Drugs and a new tool for grandparents, Grandparents Hold a Key to Keeping Teens Healthy and Drug Free. Insightful content and resources are updated and added frequently. The site also links to the Time To Talk Yahoo Group, an online parent forum that enables parents to share experiences and connect with others facing similar situations.

"In our previous research, teens reported that foremost among the reasons they don't use drugs is because they don't want to disappoint their parents," said Pasierb. We want to help parents - and grandparents alike -- better understand that they are a huge influence on the choices kids make for themselves and TimeToTalk.org can give them access to the information, tools and resources to help parents make these conversations an ongoing part of their everyday lives."

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a nonprofit organization uniting communications professionals, renowned scientists and parents. Best known for its national drug-education campaign, the Partnership's mission is to reduce illicit drug use in America. Now in its 20th year, the Partnership helps parents and caregivers effectively address drug and alcohol abuse with their children. A major new initiative now unfolding integrates the latest science and research with the most effective traditional media and digital communication techniques to give parents the tools, resources and support they need to help their children lead healthy lives. This effort -- the first ever for the Partnership -- will include a web-based interactive information resource center, parent-to-parent support network, a national toll-free call center and user-friendly online/offline tools. The Partnership depends on donations and support from individuals, corporations, foundations and government. The Partnership thanks SAG/AFTRA for their ongoing generosity.

For over 20 years, MetLife Foundation has provided support for initiatives focusing on substance abuse prevention and education. Since 1999, the Foundation has collaborated with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America on a national public awareness campaign to help parents and caregivers communicate with children about the risks of drug use. MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 by MetLife to carry on its long-standing tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. For more information about the Foundation, visit http://www.metlife.org.

(1) Survey sample of 516 grandparents with grandchildren between the ages of 10 and 18.


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SOURCE The Partnership for a Drug-Free America
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