School’s Out – Make It A Safe & Enjoyable Summer!
Everyone loves summer – especially teens as they celebrate their accomplishments during the school year and look forward to enjoying relaxing days and fun activities with friends and family. But since teens also tend to spend more time unsupervised during the summer months, it is an especially important time for parents to set clear expectations about behavior and help teens make smart decisions to stay safe and avoid risky situations.
Did you know that…
On an average summer day, over 11,000 adolescents between ages 12-17 try alcohol for the first time and about 5,000 teens report first time cigarette use. More than 4,500 teens start using marijuana during June and July.
An average of 10 teens between ages 16-19 die in car accidents each day between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a period known as the 100 Deadliest Days for teens on the road.
Teens who drink and use drugs are more inclined to have unprotected sex and are more susceptible to addiction when they begin using before age 21.
Good News is that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports 80% of children credit their parents as the biggest influence in their decisions about drinking and drugs. Open family communication helps teens understand the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse and reassures them that they can still have fun while staying out of harm’s way.
How Can Parents Help Teens Stay Healthy & Positive During Summer?
Talk About Alcohol/Substance Abuse Early and Often – An average child may try alcohol for the first time by age 11, so start conversations early in your child’s life to establish ongoing communication as they grow older. Short, frequent talks are often more effective than having one big talk.
Set Reasonable Limits – Establishing boundaries is important especially during the summer when teens have more time on their hands. This may include agreed-upon limits on curfew, technology use, chores, use of the car, rules on having friends over, etc.
Check-In and Be Aware – Know what your kids are doing and who they will be spending time with. Have teens check in often about where they will be and what their plans are.
Spend Time Together as a Family – Planned vacations are great, but so are day trips together to a local pool, waterpark, or museum.
Summer is a great time to re-connect with your children and strengthen family bonds after the busy routine of the school year. Please stay safe and have a wonderful summer!