Every parent hopes to guide their children towards wise choices. How can you do that when the temptation to engage in unsafe behavior is higher than ever? Teens are abusing alcohol and other drugs at an alarming rate in their high school years. What are some concrete things you can do to help your teen resist the temptation? Here are some ideas:
>> Help your teen practice resistance conversations. Help them define their own personal reasons for wanting to avoid alcohol and drugs and help them practice reciting their reasons with confidence and firm voices. Here is an excellent lesson PDF with guidelines and examples to help you and your teen.
>> Encourage your teen to enroll in positive extra curricular activities that can help them to be involved in healthy social situations and to develop meaningful friendships. Ideas include martial arts, bible study groups, youth groups, leadership programs and opportunities, or other sports.
>> Encourage your teen to spend time with quality friends doing innocuous activities like talking, gaming, hiking, or volunteering.
>> Keep dialogue about your teen’s activities open and supportive.
What are some of the ways you encourage and help your teen to resist the temptation to abuse alcohol and other drugs? Share the techniques that have worked well for you and your family.
For those of you who will be trotting off to college in a few weeks, you’ve probably heard of the dreaded Freshman 15. Oh, you haven’t? Well, the Freshman 15 is a euphemism for the weight that many college freshman gain in their early months of study. Some of this can probably be associated with extra freedom in the realm of food-choices. Some of it can be attributed to the fact that many college students aren’t very financially stable and thus fill their (small) pantries with processed, inexpensive foods. But a major factor is alcohol consumption.
Here are some interesting tidbits about alcohol and gaining that Freshman 15!
>> Beer is usually the major contributor to the weight gain because of its empty calories, and typically has less alcohol by volume. // Source
>> Alcoholic drinks tend to be high in calories. Additionally, alcohol can deteriorate muscle tissue, which lowers your overall metabolism. So, in case you needed them, now you have more reasons to stay away from binge drinking. // Source
>> Due to the body absorbing alcohol quickly, people can also gain an appetite while drinking. Whether at a party or only having fast food available, students often turn to fatty and greasy food while drinking alcohol. // Source
In addition to the fact that most college freshman have no business drinking (considering it is illegal for those under 21), alcohol abuse in the early years of college (and beyond) can result in major health deterioration on top of the “Freshman 15”. Make wise choices. YOU are strong enough to resist temptation. There are so many other fun activities to choose from in college rather than drinking.
It’s hard to believe that it is already time for students and teachers to start prepping to go back to school. For some students, they’re entering high school or middle school for the first time. For others, this might be their first year of college. Whatever the year of school, there will be many exciting opportunities for learning, fun, and socializing. Football games will start up in a few weeks, as will talk of school dances and mixers.
If you’re in middle school, high school, or college, there will no doubt be opportunities to engage in dangerous activities–namely drugs and alcohol abuse. The temptation might be extremely high. “Everyone’s doing it!” you might say to yourself. I assure you, everyone is NOT participating in those unsafe past times and you don’t have to either. In the next few weeks, the CPMA blog will be bringing you many articles and posts about remaining safe and making wise decisions during this busy and exciting time of year.
So, as you start preparing your backpacks, acquiring your text books, and “First Day Back” outfits, make some time in your busy life to read these posts, share them, and really let the words sink in! You have all the willpower and courage you need to make smart choices in the 2013/2014 school year!
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Here are some shocking facts from the CDC about the consequences of underage drinking:
“Youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience the following:”
>> Higher absences in school and poor or failing grades
>> Social fighting and lack of participation in youth activities
>> Arrest for driving or physically harming someone while drunk
>> Hangovers and serious illnesses
>> Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity
>> Disruption of normal growth and sexual development.
For more consequences and information about underage drinking, check out the CDC’s article on the subject.
I stumbled across this interesting article yesterday and it raises some really great ideas about what parents can do to help steer their kids away from alcohol: family rules. The rules included in the article were: 1) Make Family Dinner Non-Negotiable. // 2) Educate them and yourself about “scaring the crap out of you”. // 3) Do not condone alcohol or drug abuse directly or indirectly.
I really thought these family rules were worthwhile, especially when the writer discussed them in greater detail individually. I think I’d like to add several family rules to stick to in addition to the great ones above! (If you use these, feel free to add your own!)
4) Know your kid’s friends. // While this may seem self-explanatory to most of you, many parents do not know who their teens are hanging out with on a daily, weekly basis. It is absolutely imperative that you get to know your child’s friend group and if you do not approve of certain individuals for legitimate reasons, take a stand and talk with your child about your reasons for wanting them to disassociate with them.
5) Know your kid’s friends’ parents. // This is another big one that may seem “duh” to some parents and “whuh?” to others. Though your child may have a really classy friend, that friend’s parents might condone alcohol abuse when in their home. You need to know and be comfortable with a child’s parents before allowing your teen to spend time in the home of those parents. Know where your teen is hanging out!
6) Require your child to call/text you periodically throughout an evening away from home. // Depending on how much you feel you can trust your teen, this may be relaxed to a degree, but it is a good idea for you to establish an expectation that teens will communicate with you about their whereabouts and what they are doing when they are spending huge chunks of time away from home.
7) Require your child to participate in at least 1 extracurricular activity. // You don’t want to overload your child with too many extracurricular activities or they might become too stressed, but having 1 or 2 outside-of-school past times can be very healthy, social, and fun for your child. Consider sports, dance, martial arts, music lessons, or another activity that interests them.
I encourage you to read the original article. They make some very good points about the three rules they chose. What sorts of family rules does your household live by in an effort to keep your teens healthy and drug-free? Share with us!
I’m sure all of you have heard of the tragic, premature death of Cory Monteith (one of the main stars of Fox’s hit show Glee). You also probably know that the cause of death was a lethal combination of heroine and alcohol. Cory had struggled with his addiction for many years, having been treated several times for his substance abuse in the past. It is so sad to hear of this young man’s demise. He had such a talent and such a way of reaching people through acting.
I cannot say what drove Monteith to substance abuse. What drives anyone to drugs and alcohol? Is it the fun? Is it to wash away decades of pain? Whatever the reason, IT IS NOT THE ANSWER. It is my wish that Cory’s death will prompt any young people who are struggling with addiction to seek help NOW.
SAMHSA: Find Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment
Georgia Council on Substance Abuse: Recovery Resources
Georgia Drug Abuse Treatment Programs