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.
Informed Families Catalyst
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.
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.
“I learned how to handle peer pressure and say no to drugs.”
“I didn’t know people could die from alcohol poisoning.”
“I didn’t know how much of a problem prescription drug abuse was.”
“Many of our peers are dealing with drug issues themselves or have a family member with a problem.”
Student ambassadors in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Creating Community Change: Youth Engagement Program (CCC:YEP) program shared these messages and much more during their end of the year presentations at the Betty T. Ferguson Center in Miami Gardens on May 22, 23 and 24.
Topics: red ribbon week, ambassadors, prescription drug abuse, lock your meds, safe homes smart parties, middle school, peer pressure, drug free, drug prevention, parent peer group, miami gardens, miami
Communicating Across Generations
I recently read that some families now have five living generations. Imagine that. Each generation has a totally different world view and processes information in a different way. However simply engaging with others remains the key to communicating effectively.
Want to equip your child with the best way to respond to negative peer pressure? Share these tips from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and practice using them together.
Even when your child is confident in his/her decision not to use drugs or alcohol, it can be hard when it’s a friend who is offering.
A lot of times, a simple “no thanks” may be enough. But sometimes it’s not. It can get intense, especially if the people who want your child to join in on a bad idea feel judged. If everyone is being “stupid” together, then they feel less self-conscious and don’t need to take all the responsibility.
But knowing they are just trying to save face doesn’t end the pressure, so here are a few tips that may come in handy.
1. Have your child offer to be the designated driver. Get their friends home safely, and everyone will be glad your child didn’t drink or take drugs.
2. If on a sports team, ask your child to say he/she is staying healthy to maximize his/her athletic performance—besides, no one would argue that a hangover would help someone play their best.
3. “I have to [study for a big test / go to a concert / visit my grandmother / babysit / march in a parade, etc.]. I can’t do that after a night of drinking/drugs.”
4. Have your child keep a bottled drink like a soda or iced tea with you to drink at parties. People will be less likely to pressure him/her to drink alcohol if he/she is already drinking something. If they still offer something, have your child just say “I’m covered.”
5. Have your child find something to do so he/she stays busy. Get up and dance. Offer to DJ.
6. When all else fails…have your child blame his/her parents. You certainly won’t mind! Ask your child to explain that his/her parents are really strict, or that they will check up on him/her upon arriving at home.
If your child's friends aren’t having it—then it’s a good time to find the door. Nobody wants to leave the party or their friends, but if your child's friends won’t let him/her party without drugs, then it’s not going to be fun for him/her.
Sometimes these situations totally surprise us. But sometimes our children can anticipate when alcohol or drugs will be used, such as at a concert. These are the times when your child should consider alternative plans.