HOW TO PREVENT RISKY TEEN EXPERIMENTATION DURING THE LAID-BACK SUMMER MONTHS

July 1st, 2013

Our community partner Drug Free Collier has provided some great tips for parents to make sure their kid’s summer isn’t “wasted”. Students, teachers and parents alike look forward to a break from an exhausting and often action-packed school-year. By the time June hits, most people look forward to slowing things down and enjoying a laid-back summer.

While this sounds like a good plan, it is actually in our children’s best interest to keep up the pace a bit this summer. Researchers have found that the summer months are the riskiest months of the year for first-time drug and alcohol use among youth.

Check Out These Stats:

  • Each day during the school year, about 8,000 adolescents take their first drink of alcohol. Compare that to the average summer day, where about 11,000 adolescents take their first drink of alcohol.
  • Each day during the school year, about 3,000 to 4,000 youth smoke cigarettes or marijuana for the first time. Compare that to the average summer day, where about 4,500 youth smoke cigarettes or marijuana for the first time.
  • As for students who have already begun drinking and smoking, many are known to indulge more often and more heavily during June and July.

Top 10 Parenting Tips to Prevent Underage Drinking this Summer:

  1. Make clear your expectations for your children not to drink or use other drugs.
  2. Supervise tweens and even teens as much as possible. Set house rules for who is allowed and not allowed in your home when you are not. Then, check- in regularly.
  3. Monitor where your children are, who they are with and what they are planning to do. If any part of their plan changes, instruct them to let you know.
  4. If you are not able to be home with them, consider hiring a trusted college-age “buddy” to check-in on them or hang-out with them for short periods of time.
  5. BEWARE of summer parties and do NOT allow your children to attend one where underage drinking is planned, even under the “agreement” that they will not drink. This is legally risky and the peer pressure may overcome their better judgement. No matter how much you “trust” your son or daughter, it is never wise to put any child in such a position.
  6. If your teen finds themselves at a party where alcohol or other drugs come out, talk to them about an exit plan where they can call you day or night for a safe getaway.
  7. Lead by example. Show your children that a fun, summer party does not have to include alcohol. And if you choose to drink at a gathering, drink in moderation and let your children see that you are not driving. For better or worse, they are watching and learning.
  8. Remind them to never ride in a car, boat or any other motor vehicle with a driver who is under the influence of any substance.
  9. Get to know your children’s friends and their parents. You may be surprised to learn that some families are not on the same page as you when it comes to underage consumption of alcohol or other drug use.
  10. Help them create structure for their days, whether it is getting a fun, part-time summer job; volunteering; taking part in an educational class, workshop or adventure camps, etc. Help them discover what interests them.

Sure, a little rest and relaxation is well-deserved and much needed, but too much downtime (especially when unsupervised) can be hazardous to our children’s health.

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