Tips for Parent and Their Teens for the Summer

Be Aware of Risk Factors

Being a responsible and loving parent also means that you take the time to familiarize yourself with risk factors that may propel your teen toward alcohol and drug use, including:
  • Any significant social transition, such as moving from middle school to high school and getting a driver’s license
  • Any family history of alcoholism or drug use
  • Depression and other serious emotional problems
  • A history of social and emotional difficulties
  • Any contact with peers involved in troubling or suspicious activities.
It goes without saying – but it needs to be repeated – that parents should show teens good behavior by their own actions. This means that parents have to know that their teenage son and daughter will be watching how they behave when others are around at a party where alcohol is served, at a restaurant when the parents order wine or cocktails and then get in the car and drive, even casual comments made about alcohol or drug use shown in movies and on television.

According to the latest Monitoring the Future Study from the University of Michigan, underage drinking continues to be a pervasive problem among American youth. The study of 10th  and 12th graders found that:
  • Nearly half (44 percent) of teens have consumed alcohol within the last year, while more than one in four teens (26 percent) reports having been drunk in the last year.
  • More than a quarter (26 percent) of teens said they had consumed alcohol within the last month, while more than one in seven (15 percent) reported being drunk in the last 30 days.
  • One in seven teens (14 percent) said they have had five or more drinks (binge drinking) in a row within the last 14 days.
  • More than three-quarters of 10th graders (78 percent) say it is fairly or very easy to get alcohol if they want some and more than half of 8th graders report the same. 

In a recent report by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), each day in June and July 5,800 teens try marijuana for the first time. Keeping teens involved in supervised activities and sports during the summer months is a great way to help keep them safe from drugs.

A survey published by the National Household Survey On Drug Abuse (NHSDA) says kids who play sports are less likely to do drugs.

Ten Tips for Frightened Parents of Teenagers:
  1. Don’t relax the rules. If anything, take ‘em up a notch. And, don’t be surprised when the rules are stretched or broken. 
  2. Make consequences clear… and make ‘em harsh. Write them down and get your teenagers to sign it. Seal the bond of trust with a hug.
  3. Supervise Your kids. Your teenager has plenty of friends; you need to be their PARENT. Be prepared and expect to be unpopular from time to time.
  4. Openly discuss alcohol use and abuse. Make it clear that teenage drinking is illegal and dangerous. As a parent, if you drink at home, do so responsibly and count your beers. Lock up your liquor. Make sure your vodka hasn’t mysteriously changed to water./li>
  5. Ask questions. Stay involved. Teenagers need and deserve a certain amount of privacy in their lives, but that does not imply parents should stop parenting. 
  6. Check and double-check teenage party plans. Talk to those supervising parents. Do not hesitate to make surprised visits. Embarrassing your teenager is your privilege and right.
  7. Make sure your rules are not ambiguous. Teenagers are famous for being vague or “changing plans” at the last minute. If there is a loophole in the rules, a teenager will jump through.
  8. If you are going out of town, do not leave teens unsupervised overnight. Even responsible teenagers get into big trouble when the supervisory distance increases. 
  9. Follow through with your consequences. Your primary mission is to keep your teenager safe and on the right road to responsible adulthood. 
  10. It’s okay to say NO.
  11. Encourage teens to get a summer job – not only does it put a little extra cash in their pockets (and yours!) it can give them a safe, supervised place where there is little time to get into trouble. Not to mention, it can help strengthen their work ethic and make them more responsible.
  12. Opportunities for community service - get a jump-start on college applications by embarking on community service opportunities. It is good for the community and it keeps them busy during the day.
  13. Sign them up for a camp or summer sport - physical activity is beneficial for a strong healthy life!
  14. Daily check-ins - it is important to know what your kids doing.  Send an occasional text message or make a phone call just to see what they are up to while you are at work.
  15. Be aware of what is in your home - if you have a stocked liquor cabinet or a medicine cabinet filled with prescription pills, be aware of how much is there. Double check every so often and beware of a drastic decrease. You may also want to consider locking these substances in a safe place.
  16. Talk to your kids -   Talk to them and make them aware of the true dangers of drugs and alcohol. The more comfortable and open you are, the more likely you are to know if your kids are getting into trouble with drugs and alcohol.


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