Two of the topics featured in this month’s Family Table Talk kit are decision-making and heroism. While they may seem unrelated, they are actually two sides of the same coin, and that is courage: the strength to choose the right decision and the determination to face your fears and move ahead regardless of those fears.
Informed Families Blog
Some well-intentioned parents may think that allowing their teens and their teens’ friends to drink at home under adult supervision will keep their kids safe, and lead to healthier attitudes about drinking. The truth is that underage drinking can lead to serious negative consequences for both parents and teens:
- Supplying alcohol to underage youth actually increases (rather than decreases) the risk for continued drinking in their teenage years, and can lead to problem drinking later in life.
- Research shows that teens who perceive their parents to be more permissive about alcohol use are MORE likely to abuse alcohol and to use other drugs.
- A majority of states have civil and or criminal penalties for adults who serve alcohol to minor at home. Under “social host laws”, party hosts are held responsible for car accidents and other disasters resulting from alcohol use at their home.
With parents working remotely, kids learning virtually and extracurricular activities outside the home postponed, Family Day is every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most families have not had this much time together uninterrupted in some time.
Some families are using this time to reconnect. We love to see the cool things you have been doing - picnics in the backyard, themed dinners, bake-a-thons, game night, movie night and more. Use the #FLFamilyDays hashtag in your social media posts so we can continue to promote strengthening family relationships.
It’s National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week, a week focused on connecting teens with science-based facts about drugs and alcohol.
Here are some more fun ways your family can participate in National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week:
- Play Kahoot! E-cigs, Vapes and Mods: What Do You Know About Vaping?
- Take the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge Quiz
- Play the Jeopardy-style interactive game: Drug Facts Challenge
- Print a "Not everyone's doing it" placard or pledge card and tweet, snap or post a photo on social media! Make sure to include #NDAFW in your posts.
- Join a Twitter Trivia Challenge hosted by NIDA and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) on Friday, April 3, at 3 p.m. EDT. Follow the hashtag #NDAFW and answer multiple-choice questions about drugs and alcohol.
Is there a link between vaping and coronavirus? While experts say it’s impossible to say for sure, according the National Institute of Drug Abuse the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who vape or smoke tobacco or marijuana because it attacks the lungs.
Informed Families is partnering with the Lung Love Foundation to help educate parents and teens about the dangers of vaping. Lung Love Foundation founder, Chance Ammirata, was only 18 years old when he almost lost his life to Juuling. After his near death experience he took to social media to spread awareness of the dangers of vaping. Watch this CBS news clip to learn more about Chance’s story.
How Are Your Kids Handling the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in both adults and children. We are all trying to adjust to our new normal as things continue to rapidly change.
While you are struggling with health concerns, school closures, having to work remotely and financial uncertainty, your kids have suddenly been cut off from school, friends, extracurricular activities and more. How are your kids coping?
According to the CDC, children and teens are among the groups of people who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis.
Ways to help kids manage stress and anxiety
So what parenting advice is there to help kids manage their stress and anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak?
It is important to keep in mind that children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. Positive parenting is key right now.
An Easy Way to Improve Parent-Child Communication
Do you want to stop school violence and a host of other dangerous behaviors? Eat dinner with your children.
Did you know if you eat dinner together as a family four times a week that your kids are 50% less likely to use drugs and engage in other risky behaviors?
Many people think they don’t have time to eat dinner with their children – well just imagine how much time you will spend sorting out your child’s problem behaviors? And guess what, some behaviors become chronic and don’t get sorted out so you will be living with them for a life time.
Eating dinner together provides an opportunity for family members to come together, strengthen ties and build better relationships. Communicating early and often makes it much easier to tackle conversations around tough topics, like substance use, when the time comes. If your kids aren’t used to talking to you about their day when they are 8 or 10 years old, it's much harder to start at age 12-14.
Our Family Day campaign promotes frequent family dinners as a way to prevent risky behavior in kids. On September 23rd, join millions of families across the U.S. to Stand Up for Sitting down to dinner. Enjoy a meal together with your family and talk to each other, electronics-free.
Back to School Transitions Can Lead to Problems
Summer vacation is coming to an end, and your children will be returning to school soon. Some are preparing to transition into middle or high school; while others are heading off to college. These transitions will introduce new environments, new friends and new found freedoms. Research shows that dealing with transitions is often a time when kids get into trouble. If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to have another talk with your kids about your family rules and boundaries regarding underage drinking and substance abuse.
You want to encourage your children’s growing independence, but set appropriate limits. Set clear rules, and then enforce the rules you set. Make sure your children understand what the consequences will be for breaking rules. But equally important, don’t forget to acknowledge the moments when your kids choose healthy behaviors over underage drinking or experimenting with drugs.
According to a recent report, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) Drug-Free Communities (DFC) programs continue to yield consistently reduced youth substances use rates. There has been a decline in prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol use among youth. So we know prevention programs and initiatives, like the ones Informed Families offer, work. We all must continue to play a role in creating communities that care about helping kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free.
Let's End the Stigma Associated With Drugs
The Surgeon General’s recent call to end the stigma associated with addiction is long overdue. The stigma surrounding alcohol and drug use and addiction often prevents us from talking openly about these issues with friends, family and most importantly our kids.
It’s much easier to avoid talking about tough topics, especially when we think “that could never happen to one of my loved ones.” No one wants to believe their child is sneaking pills from the medicine cabinet or drinking while out with friends. No one wants to believe their child is experimenting with or using drugs.
The sad truth is that children as young as nine years old already start viewing alcohol in a more positive way, and approximately 3,300 kids, as young as 12 years old, try marijuana each day. Additionally, about five in 10 kids, as young as age 12, obtain prescription pain relievers for non-medical purposes. Furthermore, the research shows that children who first smoke marijuana under the age of 14 are more than five times as likely to abuse drugs as adults than those who first use marijuana at age 18 (NIDA).
It is never too early to talk to your children about the risks of using alcohol and drugs. It may not always seem like it, but kids really do hear their parents say; talk they listen.
Summer Is A Good Time to Refocus On Prevention
Another busy school year is coming to a close and we are all looking forward to having some down time and reconnecting with family. The start of summer is a critical time to talk with your kids about risky behaviors. Teens and college students most often use substances for the first time during June or July, according to SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data on adolescents – 2012 and NSDUH data on full-time college students – 2015.
Unfortunately it’s not as easy for parents to recognize that their child might be experimenting with alcohol or drugs. JUUL e-cigarettes that look like USB flash drives, flasks disguised as lotion containers, sunscreen or smart phone cases, and CBD gummies can be hidden in plain sight. These items can all be purchased online. Talk to your kids about the dangers of using drugs or alcohol and arm them with the knowledge they need to make healthy choices. If you need some talking points take a look at these 11 Tips For Talking To Your Kids About Drugs & Alcohol.
It might be hard to acknowledge if your child has a substance abuse problem. It’s also difficult to find help. Many parents often ask - what should I do if my child is dealing with an addiction or mental health issue? The good news is a newly proposed Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act 2019 would help provide the infrastructure and community building that is are critical to getting them the care they need.