Teens with Time on Their Hands in the Summer
Summer can be a risky time for teens. More teens try marijuana for the first time during the summer months than any other time of year.* Why? The main culprit is boredom. Ensuring that your teen is engaged in positive activities like camps, volunteering, or supervised outings with friends can be a way to deter youth from things that are harmful to them, such as drugs and alcohol use.
The following Summer Activity Checklist will help you and your teen have a safe and healthy summer:
- Set Rules
Set clear rules. Establish a summertime curfew for your teen. Set some kind of check-in system, such as an established call time when they get home. Set limits with clear consequences for breaking them. Praise and reward good behavior.
- Understand and Communicate
Talk to your teen about the harmful physical, mental, and social effects of marijuana and other drugs. Young people who learn about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to try drugs than their peers who learn nothing from their parents. Look for teachable moments in everyday life to keep the conversation ongoing.
- Monitor Your Teen's Activities and Behaviors
Check to see where your teen is, whom he or she is with, and what he or she has been doing. Teens who are not regularly monitored by their parents are four times more likely to use drugs. Sometimes surprise your teen by checking up to make sure they are where they say they are.
- Make Sure You Stay Involved in Your Teen's Life
Talk to your teen's coach, employer, and friends. Stay in touch with the adult supervisors of your child and have them inform you of any changes in your teen. Meet your child's friends, especially those who hang out your your teen regularly.
- Engage Your Teen In Summer Activities
Help plan activities to keep your teen busy. Research shows that teens who are involved in constructive and adult-supervised activities are less likely to use drugs.
- Reserve Family Time
Plan a family activity with your teen in the coming weeks, such as going to the movies together, taking a walk, or sharing a meal. Schedule time together to do something fun as a family. Teens who spend time, talk, and have a close relationship with their parents are much less likely to drink, take drugs, or have sex.
Creative Ideas for Summer Fun
The following are some creative ideas your teen can do this summer:
- Plan a supervised camping trip with friends.
- Take a trip to a museum or public zoo.
- Visit some colleges online or plan a trip to visit some colleges.
- Volunteer in the community.
- Take a dance, art, or cooking class or learn some other new skill.
- Attend a summer camp for teens.
- Become a mentor or camp counselor.
- Get a job. Teens can do babysitting, pet care, yard work, house work, painting, etc. before they turn 16 years old.
*The NSDUH Report (2002): Seasonality of Youth's First Time Use of Marijuana, Cigarettes, or Alcohol, SAMHSA, National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Information in this parent tip is courtesy of TheAntiDrug.com.
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