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April

How to Talk to Your Teen About Substance Use 

  • Don’t surprise kids with a big talk. Instead, let your child know you want to have a conversation about drinking and drugs. Be clear about rules and specific about what will happen if kids break them. Kids do best when they know what to expect. 

  • Springing a serious conversation on your teenager can make them feel ambushed and defensive. Give them a heads-up beforehand and make sure to be clear about what the conversation will entail, so everyone can be on the same page.

  • Spell out your rules and the specific consequences of breaking them. Avoiding ambiguity lets your teenager know where you stand, and research shows that kids tend to be safer when parents set limits.

  • Be very clear about your reasons for prohibiting substance use. Teenagers are often ordered to do things without being given a clear reason why and by explaining yourself you’re inviting them to have a more open, adult conversation. 

  • Speak to your kids the way you’d like to be spoken to. Teenagers are acutely sensitive to condescension, and it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, they are the ones who will make the final decisions. Treat them like the adults you want them to become. By showing respect you’re modeling good behavior and letting them know you expect them to act responsibly, not just for your sake, but for their own.

  • Opening an equal, active dialogue will increase the chances that your teen will feel comfortable being honest with you.

  • Talking to your teen about substance abuse should be a process, not a single event. Risk factors for substance use can change and multiply as teenagers weather the trials and pressures of adolescence. Keep an eye out for changes in your child’s mood and demeanor, shifting peer groups, and other signs that it might be time to check in about their safety and your expectations

March

Three Main Keys to Creating Structure 

  • Three Main Keys to Building Structure

    • 1. Consistency – doing the same thing every time

    • 2. Predictability – expecting or knowing what is going to happen

    • 3. Follow-through – enforcing the consequence (“say what you mean and mean what you say”)

  • Steps to creating routines/rules

    • 1. Identify the routines/rules

      • For routines:

        • Identify important daily activities and decide the order they should happen.

        • Be sure the routine works for the whole family.

      • For Rules

        • Be as specific as possible.

        • Focus on specific behaviors. Avoid vague rules like “be good.”

        • Start with one or two rules and add new rules as needed. A large number of rules will be difficult to follow and enforce.

        • Rules should be realistic and fit your child’s age and development.

    • 2. Explain the routine/rules

      • Make sure your child knows what you want him to do and when you want him to do it. Talk to your child about the routines and rules and have him repeat them back to you.

    • 3. Follow the routines/rules 

      • All family members should try to follow the routine and family rules.

      • Your child may not always want to follow the routine or rules, so provide reminders and support when needed to help him be successful.

    • 4. Use consequences

      • Positive consequences like praise occur when you let your child know you like the way he follows the routine or rules.

      • Negative consequences like loss of a privilege, time-out, or removal from the situation occur when the routine is not followed or rules are broken.

      • The consequences for not following the routine or breaking the rules should be clear to you and your child and given immediately.

  • Keep in mind

    • Be consistent with the routine and rules, and let your child know you expect them to be followed.

    • Rules are consistently enforced, routines can be flexible. If the routine changes, let your child know about the change.

    • Rules should be enforced the same way no matter who is caring for your child (including grandparents and babysitters) to provide a consistent message. Routines should also be consistent as much as possible.

    • Always follow through with consequences for routines or rules that are not followed.

Source

February

Your Voice Matters

Adolescents listen to their parents when they discuss issues such as drinking and smoking, especially if the messages are conveyed consistently and with authority. Research has found that around 80% of teens feel that their parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol. Whether teens defer to their parents on the issue of drinking is statistically linked to how parents parent. Specifically, authoritative parents—those who provide a healthy and consistent balance of discipline and support—are the most likely to have teenagers who respect the boundaries they have established around drinking and other behaviors. Research suggests that, regardless of parenting styles, adolescents who are aware that their parents would be upset with them if they drank are less likely to do so, highlighting the importance of communication between parents and teens as a protective measure against underage alcohol use. Studies have shown that it is important to talk early and often, establish policies early on, work with other parents to monitor where kids are gathering and what they are doing, work in and with the community to promote dialogue about underage drinking, be aware of the state's laws, and never providing alcohol to someone else’s child. With open, respectful communication and explanations of boundaries and expectations, parents can continue to influence their children’s decisions well into adolescence and beyond. This is especially important in young people’s decisions regarding whether and how to drink—decisions that can have lifelong consequences.

Source

January 

Why You Should Talk With Your Child About Alcohol

and Other Drugs


            One of the most influential factors during a child’s adolescence is maintaining a strong, open relationship with a parent. When parents create supportive and nurturing environments, children make better decisions. Though it may not always seem like it, children really hear their parents’ concerns, which is why it’s important that parents discuss the risks of using alcohol and other drugs.

It's Better to Talk Before Children are Exposed to Alcohol and Other Drugs 

            If you talk to your kids directly and honestly, they are more likely to respect your rules and advice about alcohol and drug use. When parents talk with their children early and often about alcohol and other drugs, they can protect their children from many of the high-risk behaviors associated with using these drugs.

The Older Kids Get, the More Likely They'll Try Alcohol or Other Drugs 

            About 10 percent of 12-year-olds say they have tried alcohol, but by age 15, that number jumps to 50 percent. Additionally, by the time they are seniors, almost 70 percent of high school students will have tried alcohol, half will have taken an illegal drug, and more than 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose. The sooner you talk to your children about alcohol and other drugs, the greater chance you have of influencing their decisions about drinking and substance use.

Not Talking About Alcohol and Other Drugs Still Sends Kids a Message 

            Kids don’t always have all the facts when it comes to alcohol and other drugs. If parents don’t talk about the risks of underage drinking and substance use, their kids might not see any harm in trying alcohol and other substances. Having a conversation allows parents to set clear rules about what they expect from their kids when it comes to alcohol and other drugs.

 

Source

December

Talking to Kids About Alcohol

Research shows that parents are the #1 reason young people decide not to drink. So, start talking to your children about alcohol before they start drinking—as early as 9 years old. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, they really do hear you

5 Conversational Goals 

  1. Show you disapprove of underage drinking. ​​​

    • Over 80% of young people ages 10-18 say their parents are the leading influence on their decision to drink or not drink. So they really are listening, and it’s important that you send a clear and strong message​

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

    • Young people are more likely to listen when they know you’re on their side. Try to reinforce why you don’t want your child to drink—not just because you say so, but because you want your child to be happy and safe. The conversation will go a lot better if you’re working with, and not against, your child.​

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

    • You want your child to be making informed decisions about drinking, with reliable information about its dangers. You don’t want your child to be learning about alcohol from friends, the internet, or the media—you want to establish yourself as a trustworthy source of information​

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

    • You want to show you’re keeping an eye on your child, because young people are more likely to drink if they think no one will notice. There are many subtle ways to do this without prying.​

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

    •  Even if your child doesn’t want to drink, peer pressure is a powerful thing. It could be tempting to drink just to avoid looking uncool. To prepare your child to resist peer pressure, you’ll need to build skills and practice them.

Source

November

Tips for Connecting with Your Teen

  1. Listen.

  2. Validate their feelings.

  3. Show trust. 

  4. Don't be a dictator. 

  5. Give praise.

  6. Control your emotions.

  7. Do things together.

  8. Share regular meals. 

  9. Be Observant.

Source

Be aware of what’s happening in your teen’s day-to-day life. Ask questions and listen closely to their answers. Get to know the people and things that are important to them. Being aware of these things will help you notice positive changes or behaviors that deserve your praise. When you see your teen doing something positive, tell them what you like. Describe the action or behavior you’re seeing. Be specific in your praise. This helps your teen understand what they’re doing right and makes it more likely they’ll want to repeat the behavior.

Source

November

Tips for Connecting with Your Teen

  1. Listen.

  2. Validate their feelings.

  3. Show trust. 

  4. Don't be a dictator. 

  5. Give praise.

  6. Control your emotions.

  7. Do things together.

  8. Share regular meals. 

  9. Be Observant.

Source

Be aware of what’s happening in your teen’s day-to-day life. Ask questions and listen closely to their answers. Get to know the people and things that are important to them. Being aware of these things will help you notice positive changes or behaviors that deserve your praise. When you see your teen doing something positive, tell them what you like. Describe the action or behavior you’re seeing. Be specific in your praise. This helps your teen understand what they’re doing right and makes it more likely they’ll want to repeat the behavior.

Source

November

Tips for Connecting with Your Teen

  1. Listen.

  2. Validate their feelings.

  3. Show trust. 

  4. Don't be a dictator. 

  5. Give praise.

  6. Control your emotions.

  7. Do things together.

  8. Share regular meals. 

  9. Be Observant.

Source

Be aware of what’s happening in your teen’s day-to-day life. Ask questions and listen closely to their answers. Get to know the people and things that are important to them. Being aware of these things will help you notice positive changes or behaviors that deserve your praise. When you see your teen doing something positive, tell them what you like. Describe the action or behavior you’re seeing. Be specific in your praise. This helps your teen understand what they’re doing right and makes it more likely they’ll want to repeat the behavior.

Source

October

As children approach adolescence, “fitting in” becomes extremely important. They begin to feel more self-conscious about their bodies than they did when they were younger and begin to wonder whether they are “good enough”—tall enough, slender enough, attractive enough—compared with others. They look to friends and the media for clues on how they measure up, and they begin to question adults’ values and rules. It’s not surprising that this is the time when parents often experience conflict with their kids.

Respecting your child’s growing independence while still providing support and setting limits is a key challenge during this time. Even if your child is not yet drinking alcohol, he or she may be receiving pressure to drink. Act now. Keeping quiet about how you feel about your child’s alcohol use may give him or her the impression that alcohol use is OK for kids.

Source

September

Parenting shifts as your child becomes a teen. You will go from actively managing and directing most aspects of your child’s life to encouraging them to think for themselves and make good decisions. Instead of telling them how to solve a problem, you can ask questions and offer suggestions when they ask for your help.

Source

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