We just finished celebrating Memorial Day weekend here in the United States. It marks the unofficial start of summer. I was fortunate enough to attend a poolside BBQ with family and friends for it. As I sat there there feeling that summer has arrived started to sink in.
I thought about all of the reasons why I enjoy summer. Then I started thinking about my teenage and college clients. I realized that summer may be something they really look forward to for different reasons. Typically they like it because.
- No school
- The beach
- Easier to use alcohol and drugs
When school ends the fun begins
Generally in the summer teens have less supervision. As parents reading this article can attest, parents generally do not get summers off. They still have to work and still have to parent.
During the academic year schools help keep students’ lives structured. However the school structure is gone as soon as class is dismissed the final time for the year.
Steps you can take to prevent underage alcohol and marijuana use
- Know where your teens are and who they are with
- Set clear rules for no underage alcohol use and marijuana use
- Remind your kids to never drive under the influence
- Remind your kids to never get in a car driven by someone under the influence
- Stress to your kids that they can call you anytime for a safe ride home
- Talk to your children about the risks of alcohol and drugs
The list above will not win awards for creativity or originality. These are the same rules that were given to me by my parents. I suspect I am not the only one who has heard these rules. It is very important to stress the importance of not driving under the influence. Every summer we hear of tragic drunk driving accidents that kills teens.
As a therapist I assumed that most parents talked to their kids about the risks of alcohol and drugs. However it turns out that only 29% of 12th graders report that their parents talk about these dangers. Have these conversations and keep having them. Even if you feel that you aren’t getting through you might be.
What do I do if my child is using alcohol or drugs
Underage drinking and drug use dramatically increases the likelihood of developing addiction later in life. Additionally alcohol and drug use can lead to a increases in assaults, injury, and death. Underage alcohol and drug use is not harmless. If you have a teen or young adult using alcohol or drugs please speak to a mental health professional. Read other article on this site about teens and young adults. Talk to your children. Contact us at NJFAI if you have any questions. We are here to help.