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Talking to Your Teen About Staying Safe This Summer

Drug and alcohol abuse is a big concern. Do you worry about keeping your child safe this summer? Even the strongest of families can experience addiction and abuse issues. You may want to broach the topic, but don’t know how to talk to your child about drinking and drugs.

Pat Moore Foundation has some suggestions and resources for talking to your children and teens this summer and giving them the tools to make good decisions without you becoming a helicopter parent.

Worried your teen might drink?

According to the Office on Adolescent Health, 10th Graders saw marijuana use of less of a threat in 2013 than they did in 2008. This is a call to action for parents to address what is and what is not appropriate use of pot, especially in light of the national changes taking place. With marijuana becoming legal in many states, and easy access to the herb, it is important to speak openly with your child about illegal vs. legal use of the drug.

Even though alcohol has long been legal, it’s important that you start talking to your child as early as 9 years old about the dangers of adolescent drinking. The federal government reports that 10% of youth have experimented with alcohol by age 12 and 50% had tried alcohol by age 15. Your child needs you to teach him or her how to navigate the rocky shoals of adolescent drug and alcohol use. Research shows parents are the number one reason adolescents decide not to drink. You really do make a difference.

Here are five action steps to take to curb your teen’s drinking:

  1. Show you disapprove of underage drinking.

  2. Show you care about your child’s happiness and well-being.

  3. Show you’re a good source of information about alcohol.

  4. Show you’re paying attention and you’ll notice if your child drinks.

  5. Build your child’s skills and strategies for avoiding underage drinking.

The good news is that overall alcohol use, binge drinking, and illicit drug use has declined in the last decade among adolescents. Public education and awareness plays a role in this. You, as a parent, play a major role in this! Being honest with your child, having an open, realistic, clear conversation about the role of drugs and alcohol is our society, as well as your expectations and boundaries as a parent, are what your child needs. Give them the tools they need to make good choices this summer.

 Image: Flickr