Dear J.T. & Dale: I’m coming to you because I need some “authority” to help convince my son of his folly. While away at college, he thinks it is OK to mention on public forums (such as Twitter) that he uses drugs. Aside from the fact that this information is most disturbing to his parents, I’ve told him that such information will exclude him from almost every job opportunity. How do I show that being inappropriate on social media is detrimental to his career, and how do I put weight behind my argument? – Concerned Mom
J.T.: Young people today love social media and use them to impress their peers. Anticipating the need to impress employers is not yet a concern for them, and I doubt your son would be swayed by the opinions of newspaper columnists. However, do a quick online search about college students getting in trouble for what they post online, and you’ll find plenty of articles to pass along to him, and maybe, over time, he will start to be more cautious.
DALE: There’s a little, inexpensive Kindle book by Peter K. England about dealing with a headstrong teen that has the provocative title “What Do You Say When Your Daughter Says ‘F**K YOU!’?” The logic of that book fits what J.T. is recommending: You can’t teach someone who doesn’t want to learn, but with patience you may entice your son to educate himself. In addition to articles about students getting in trouble, you might bring the issue home to him by having a discussion about places he’d love to work. For instance, if he considers working for Apple to be a dream job, you can go online and find their drug policy …
“Apple is a drug-free workplace. Employees are prohibited from manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, possessing, using, or being under the influence of illegal drugs, inhalants, or controlled substances in the workplace. Any employee who violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.”
Reading such policies, he might understand that good companies can be choosy about employees and that many check job applicants’ online histories. Will this strategy work? Probably not, but one of the lessons of England’s book is that there’s patience and peace in knowing that you’ve done your part and more.
© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.