Let’s make this a #SoberSummer. Here are three helpful documents that you can click and print.
1) The good folks at Your Teen Magazine have compiled an excellent Summer-Survival Guide, which includes a section on drug and alcohol use. Check it out: http://yourteenmag.com/2015/05/summer-survival-guide/
2) Also, from The Courage to Speak Foundation, here is a good article on the prevalence of youth substance use with tips on prevention.
3) Additionally, follow Our Young Addicts on Twitter for daily #SoberSummer tips, and take a look at our summary resource. Here’s a recap of some of our 2017 tips: #SoberSummer – #SoberSummer – Resources for OYA Parents – 2017
|Resources for Parents:
Follow @OurYoungAddicts on Twitter for #SoberSummer Tips
Become part of the #OYACommunity
The following resources may be helpful to parents who are concerned about a young person’s substance use. These resources do not imply endorsement by Our Young Addicts or the #OYACommunity.
Reality & Statistics
Weekends tend to be more conducive to kids and substance use, so up the effort to know their plans and whereabouts.
In terms of first-time use of marijuana, more than 4,500 youth start using it on an average day in June and July, as opposed to about 3,000 to 4,000 youths during the other months. http://www.teendrugabuseprevention.com/summer-substance-abuse/
More great resources for #SoberSummer #OYACommunity from @CourageToSpeak http://www.teendrugabuseprevention.com/summer-substance-abuse/
Need ideas on having a healthy, productive conversation? http://www.drugfree.org/resources/8-ways-to-talk-with-your-teen-about-drugs-and-alcohol/
If there are drug/alcohol related stories in the news, use these as opportunities to talk with your kids.
Have the talk early on before kids are confronted with choices about drug/alcohol use.
Touch base with your kids throughout the day and night. Face to face is best. Phone is better than text.
Agree with your kids that they can call you for a ride – no questions asked – if they end up at a gathering with drug/alcohol use.
Don’t ask the siblings to be tattletales, but do know that siblings often spot substance use before parents. Keep lines of communication open.
The Other Parents:
Most parents and professionals agree: Get to know the other parents. Exchange names and phone numbers, and plan to stay in touch throughout the summer.
Get phone numbers for the responsible adult who will be present when your kid is hanging out at someone else’s home. Be sure to meet the adult face to face, if possible.
Keep an eye on your kid’s friends, and don’t be afraid to let them – or their parents – know if you’re concerned about drug or alcohol use. Don’t just stand by.
If you need to talk to a kid or their parent, don’t accuse or make judgments. Just offer concern and direct them to resources like @Drug-free. http://www.drugfree.org/resources/8-ways-to-talk-with-your-teen-about-drugs-and-alcohol/
Don’t let there be “elephants” in the room.
Have Some Rules:
Enforce a curfew.
Encourage regular sleep routines during the summer. Not too many sleepovers or all-nighters.
Be wary of last-minute sleepover requests.
Insist that kids keep their bedrooms and closets reasonably picked up. It’s harder to hide substances and paraphernalia when things are neat and orderly.
Car Keys, Please:
If your kid is of driving age, insist and reinforce NO DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE of alcohol or drugs, including pot.
Revisit the “car contract” with your kid regarding impaired driving. Be their safe ride home, if necessary.
Be a Role Model:
Amid your own summer fun, be a role model with responsible alcohol use. If you’re in recovery, role model your sobriety.
If you are in recovery, role model your sobriety.
Alcohol & Drugs:
The teen brain is at great risk from the dangers of substance use. Learn more: http://fcd.org/fcd_teen_brain.html
Are kids showing up with beverages when they come over to your house? Make sure these aren’t spiked with alcohol.
If you have alcohol in your home, keep a mental inventory of how much. Kids may spike drinks and may even replace liquid with water so you won’t know.
Be the host family for summer bonfires instead of your kid going to someone else’s home, and be a responsible host parent – NO DRUGS or ALCOHOL.
Know the Signs of Substance Use:
Keep an eye out for signs of substance use: lighters, Visine, etc.
Hug your kids when they come home – and when you do, take a good smell. Anything odd?
Smell your kid’s clothes. Does it smell like pot or smoke? Does it smell like Febreze or cologne to cover up other scents?
Read Midwestern Mama’s blog post: The Nose Knows.
Have eye contact with your kid. Red? Bloodshot? Bags?
Keep Them Occupied:
A part-time job or a volunteer commitment during the summer is a great way to give kids some structure, responsibility and accountability.
Give your kids responsibility and hold them accountable. Chores, anyone?
Remember the days when kids set reading goals for the summer? Find a book you’d both enjoy, and use it as a way to have conversations about their ideas.
Continuing with sports or trying out a new one is another way to keep kids sober – even better if it’s something you can do together.
Be a Family:
Have family meals together as often as possible. Let them plan and prepare some, too
Plan a vacation of staycation that kids can look forward to during the summer. Having a future plan can help them make wise choices about drug/alcohol use.
Include your kids in planning for upcoming summer holidays and gatherings: Fourth of July, family reunions and other traditions. Set expectations that they will be there and participate.
Look at old photos and videos of summers past. Remind kids of the good times.
Kids are less likely to use substances if they are visiting a grandparent, so encourage a visit or so during the summer. Also keep in mind that grandparents are often the more trusted adult of influence in a kid’s life.
Crazy idea! Spend time with your kids this summer:)
Summer Survival Guide from Your Teen Magazine for Parents:
In addition to many great topics, Your Teen Magazine for Parents includes a section on Drugs & Alcohol, and it has prepared a Summer Survival Guide for parents of teens.
We have also included a link to the guide in our Resources section.
Talk About Money:
Have a money check in with kids throughout the summer. How much are they earning and spending? Substances aren’t free, so a spending pattern may be a clue.
Keep track of your own wallet and even the family change jar. Kids who are spending on drugs/alcohol may “help themselves.”
Seek Professional Help:
Don’t go it alone, if you’re concerned about your kid’s substance you – find an addiction professional to talk about assessments and options. Develop a plan.
Schools get great information on substance-use prevention and as parents we can tap these resources. https://www.nais.org/Articles/Documents/FCD%20Prevention%20Source%20e-Journal.pdf
Take action if you’re concerned about your kid using substances – insist on an assessment with a professional and get a drug test.
Treatment & Recovery
Drug and alcohol use is dangerous for young adults, but not every kid has addiction or needs treatment. Seek professional guidance.
If your kid does have a problem with substances, act quickly but prudently to find a qualified program that meets their needs and offers evidence-based programs.
If your kid is in recovery, encourage them to check out Facebook and other social media e.g., Young People in Recovery for ideas and activities.
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