Iceland boasts some of the lowest rates in the world for teen alcohol and other drug use, and the rates have been dropping for the last 20 years (The Atlantic, January 19, 2017). Nations and municipalities around the globe are now adopting the “Youth in Iceland” model and seeing similar results.
The keys to the effectiveness of Iceland’s teen health efforts include nationwide curfews for teens, a wide variety of after-school activities, including sports and hobbies, and government endorsed and supported family time—parents are encouraged and even paid to spend more quality time with their children. The results of this nationwide program speak for themselves. “The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 percent in 1998 to 5 percent in 2016. The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 percent to 7 percent. Those smoking cigarettes every day fell from 23 percent to just 3 percent.”
The Bible tells us that having parents and children whose hearts are turned toward one another is important to God (Malachi 4:6). Children become oppressors of society (cf. Isaiah 3:12) when they are unsupervised, when they lack clear guidelines and rules, and when parents fail to parent. Children need to be led, guided and loved, and when they are, they thrive. The “Youth in Iceland” model demonstrates this powerful parenting principle, even when its biblical basis is not acknowledged. For more information on how to raise children and grandchildren who will thrive, read or listen to Successful Parenting: God’s Way.