If only life were like the fairy tales we read to our children when they’re little: bloodless, maybe a bit tense, but always with a happy ending.
Informed Families Catalyst
If your child has suddenly become moodier or more easily upset than usual, if they seem to be avoiding certain situations like taking the bus to school, or if you notice they’re suddenly not eating or sleeping well, they may very well have become the target of a bully.
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.
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.
PARENTS, WHERE DO WE DRAW THE WINE?
Heroin. Meth. Cocaine. Ecstasy. While dangerous and scary, these are not the most popular drugs among our children. So what drugs are the most widely abused?
Drum roll please…the most widely abused drug is Alcohol, a legal drug.
People don’t change alcohol and drug use behaviors based on scare tactics or logic; they change when they start to see and acknowledge the cultural code that is pushing unhealthy behaviors.
People use drugs based on their perception of harm and the availability of the drug. So certainly alcohol is the most available and surely it won’t harm you; the government has legalized it!
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, data from a national survey of high school students shows that teens who receive a message from their parents that underage drinking is completely unacceptable are more than 80 percent less likely to drink than teens who receive other messages.
PARENTS NEED TO LEARN FROM EACH OTHER
Helen & John Witty’s 16-year-old daughter, Helen Marie, was rollerblading on a bike path when she was struck and instantly killed by a car full of teenagers who were under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. These kids were celebrating graduation at an unsupervised home prior to getting in the car. The driver’s future now included years of jail time and forever living with the knowledge that she killed someone. Think for a moment. You could be the parent of the victim or the parent of the driver of the car! Safe Homes Smart Parties® is not about someone else’s child.
WHY SMART KIDS DO DUMB THINGS
11 Wesleyan University students were hospitalized on Sunday after overdosing on Molly, a “pure” form of ecstasy or MDMA, which has increased in popularity among teens in recent years. Two of these students are in critical condition.
"I think that's why it's so shocking because it feels like that could never happen to anyone that you know," Emma Soloman, a Wesleyan freshman, told Connecticut news station WVIT. "It's like no one is going to overdose, you know? Because it's so common, but then when it's in that grand of a scale, it's scarier."
According to the most recent National Survey On Drug Use & Health, about one in eight 18-25 year olds have used MDMA in their lifetime.
When did ecstasy become so “common” on college campuses? How do we protect our children from unhealthy and dangerous norms? Furthermore, how can we equip our kids with tools that will help keep them safe, healthy and drug free when most kids do not believe bad things will happen to them?
DOES ADVICE DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD?
From the moment our children are born, we are faced with decisions, both important and mundane. Do we breastfeed or formula-feed? Cloth or disposable diapers?
Perhaps one of the most common and important concerns parents face after we have a child is HOW TO GET THE BABY TO SLEEP! So we turn to family, friends, experts, bloggers, books and even if we aren’t looking for help, people frequently offer unsolicited advice! And what do these sources tell us? Tons of conflicting advice. Even today’s “latest research” can contradict yesterday’s “latest research.” Here’s an excerpt from a hilarious blog, entitled “I Read All The Baby Sleep Books,” by Ava Neyer.
“You shouldn’t sleep train at all, before a year, before 6 months, or before 4 months, but if you wait too late, your baby will never be able to sleep without you. College-aged children never need to be nursed, rocked, helped to sleep, so don’t worry about any bad habits. Nursing, rocking, singing, swaddling, etc. to sleep are all bad habits and should be stopped immediately… Naps should only be taken in the bed, never in a swing, carseat, stroller, or when worn. Letting them sleep in the carseat or swing will damage their skulls. If your baby has trouble falling asleep in the bed, put them in a swing, carseat, stroller, or wear them.”
Is that a riot or what? Talk about “Analysis Paralysis.” That decision alone can make any of us crazy if we don’t just listen to our instincts. WHAT DID PARENTS DO LONG AGO when they couldn’t read or access this information? Do parents know more than they think but are afraid to trust their inner knowledge?
As Malcolm Gladwell shares in his book, Blink, experts (and I would add, parents) often make better decisions with snap judgments than they do with a great deal of analysis.
So, does advice do more harm than good? I would argue, “no,” as long as we put it in its proper place instead of letting it overwhelm and confuse us.
As a mother and grandmother, I can tell you that decisions affecting our children (and grandchildren) do not go away and over time as children get older, the issues can become even more complicated. Sure, we can always benefit from hearing different people’s perspectives and sharing our own with others (that’s part of the fun of being in a parent peer group), but ultimately, we have to listen to ourselves. The answers, if we listen closely enough, are usually within.
PS. If you take one piece of advice from me this month, let it be to Lock Your Meds; secure your medication, take regular inventory to be sure nothing is missing, safely dispose of unused meds and spread the word to family and friends. There’s a prescription drug abuse epidemic in our country.