Spring is finally here, and as parents of tweens and teens, we have a lot to look forward to, as well as some challenges to navigate. We want our kids to have a fun and safe Spring Break, learn about 4/20 Day, and enjoy prom without any issues. That’s why it’s important to stay informed and keep our children out of harm’s way. Let’s work together to make sure our kids have a healthy and happy Spring season.
What’s Your Teen Doing for Spring Break? An Opportunity for Positive Activities
With Spring Break just around the corner, it’s important to be aware that some high school students may be taking unsupervised trips, while others will be hanging out at home with little parental supervision. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to increased alcohol, marijuana, or drug use among teens. But don’t worry, there are things you can do to keep your teen safe during this time! Let’s explore some options together.
Establish or refresh family rules: Be clear about your expectations around drinking or drug use and discuss your family’s consequences for breaking the rules.
Talk openly about the risks: Let your child know about the ugly results of drinking and drug use, including alcohol poisoning, violence, STIs (sexually transmitted infections), sexual assault, and date-rape drugs that can be secretly mixed into beverages.
Stress strength in numbers: Explain that the buddy system will help ensure their safety. Three or more is recommended.
Know the laws of their travel destination: If your teen is traveling, make sure they know and obey the laws of the places to which they are traveling.
Walk through peer pressure scenarios: Practice age-appropriate ways to say no to their peers.
Stay in touch and double check everything: Know where your teen is staying and the activities they have planned. If your teen is staying home, know how they are spending unsupervised time.
Network with other parents: Compare plans and coordinate rules with other parents.
Help your child plan the week: More than likely your teen will be spending time with their friends. Help them with the planning process and know who they will be seeing. Offer suggestions for healthy activities, such as volunteering or community service.
Plan family activities: Spring break is a great time to bond as a family. Enjoy family dinners, go for a walk or hike, or discover something new together.
Track your alcohol and prescription drugs: It’s important to make sure you’re aware of what you have in your cabinets and refrigerator.
What Do You Know About 4/20? An Opportunity for Constructive Conversation
Many parents are unaware that 4/20 is a term associated with marijuana use. April 20 has become an annual counterculture holiday where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. While you might not know much about it, your kids probably do because it’s heavily promoted on social media that attracts tweens and teens–TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram, for example.
Raising drug-free kids in an era of legalization, widespread acceptance, and overt marketing of marijuana is one of the biggest challenges of parenting today. However you feel about adults using marijuana, it remains illegal for kids and has proven risks to their developing brains (see our March blog).
Do you know what 4/20 means to your child? If they are aware of this “holiday”, it’s important to have a constructive conversation about the consequences of using marijuana at a young age.
Marijuana use by teens can cause memory and learning problems, and literally change their brain chemistry. Talk with your child about marijuana’s risks so they understand how harmful it can be to them and their friends. Let them know what’s important to you: good character, solid judgment, and belief in a bright future–all of which are compromised by marijuana use.
Are You Ready for Prom Season? An Opportunity for Healthy Celebration
Dresses, shoes, corsages, tuxedos–with everything that goes into planning your teen’s prom night, make sure that setting expectations and boundaries about drinking and using drugs are part of the conversation.
Here are some tips for communicating with your teen before, during, and after the big night to ensure they enjoy a fun and responsible prom:
Plan safe transportation well in advance: Prepare for prom by helping your teen plan how they’re getting to and from prom. Some teens rent limos, while others ride with their date or friends.
Warn your teen about drinking and driving: Empower your child not to get into a car with someone who’s been drinking, using drugs, or is exhausted. Just because your teen and their friends aren’t drinking and using drugs doesn’t mean that someone on the road isn’t.
Remind your teen to wear their seatbelt: It’s against the law for them not to wear it, so not only can it prevent expensive tickets, but it can also save their life.
Be available: Let them know that you can come get them if they no longer feel safe.
Know your teen’s before and after plans: Check with other parents to make sure plans are true and approved by all. If your teen wants to go to a party that you don’t approve of, suggest something else.
Prepare them with cash, credit cards, and fully charged phones: You want your teen to be ready for any emergency. Be sure they have cash and an emergency credit card in case they need anything. Also, be sure their cell phone is fully charged so they can contact you if they need help.