Parents have an important role to play in assisting their children to deal with and try to understand the death of Cory Monteith. Even kids who are not fans, or "gleeks" as they are known will likely be aware of the tragedy and talking, tweeting, reading and thinking about it. They will be talking to their friends and trying to understand what happened. Here is this wildly successful, likeable and talented young man who takes an overdose. Here are two issues for parents to address, one is drug use and the second is the grieving process.
This is your chance to really talk to your kids about the power of addiction. Parents have more influence over their child than friends, music, TV, the Internet and celebrities. Kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs and alcohol from their parents are up to 50 per cent less likely to use than those who do not.
Many teens will have experienced grief over the news and it’s important that you listen to them and be aware of what they are thinking and feeling. Discourage them from spending all their time checking the latest tweets or messages from their friend. If they get all their information from other kids or social media, you have no idea whether they are receiving appropriate information.
You will need to make sure they understand that this young actor is not Finn Hudson. He is an actor with a long history of addiction that he was not able to overcome.
When you talk to your kids about the overdose, refer to it as "death" - not using a euphemism such as "asleep with the angels". It’s important they understand that he is not coming back.
If your child wants to do something, you could have them donate to his local charity, Project Limelight. You may have to re-visit the discussion when Glee returns to television. It will depend on how the producers decide to handle the loss of one of their major stars.
Kathy Lynn is a parenting expert and Canada’s leading speaker on parenting issues. She has helped thousands of parents to regain some order in their lives. Check out Kathy's latest book, But Nobody Told Me I'd Ever Have to Leave Home and the best-selling book, Who's in Charge Anyways? For more information, visit www.parentingtoday.ca.
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