Keep Your Kids Sober This Summer, Continued

drug treatment in columbus OHWelcome back to part two of this series on ways to keep your kids sober this summer. If you missed out on part one, you can find it by clicking here. We started out the series with some basic ideas that you parents out there can use to keep your kids busy this summer. Part two is going to be more of the same, so let's get started.

Since the summer time is a period when your child can let loose a little and have a good time, that does not mean that they get to be crazy and make bad decisions. Part of them making good decisions is you being involved to help guide them and to set boundaries. This includes knowing what they're up to and who they're hanging out with. Don’t just let them go out to parties where there will be underage drinking and drug use. We know that you cannot predict when the "party favors" will show up, but there are certain warning signs that could indicate underage drinking might occur. For instance, if there is no adult supervision, then expect things to get out of hand. This is especially true if the host's parents are out of town, or if the party is outside in a big field, or in the woods. If the party is being held in a secretive location, you can bet there will be risky behavior.

If you do let your teenager go out to parties this summer, be sure to drill this into their heads - never get into a car with someone that has been drinking or doing drugs. This might be one of the most important statements in this post. Sometimes teens fear being late and missing curfew, which can lead to really bad decision making. Some teens just think they're indestructible and going with the flow is the "cool" thing to do. Again, more bad choices. Please take the time to talk with your child about the dangers of driving/riding drunk or drugged. This could be a fatal mistake. The number of kids that die each year from these types of accidents is really alarming, and they're also preventable. Be clear with your child about why they should always have a sober driver, or call you when they need a ride, even if there is alcohol and drugs at the party. Calling a parent to help is always the right choice. Explain to your child that you would never be mad or angry if they ever called in this situation.

That being said, be sure to give praise and reward your child when it's due. It's really easy to give out punishment for bad behavior but we sometimes forget to really reward good behavior. Positive rewards are sometimes just as powerful as negative punishment and consequences. Say for instance, your teen already has some issues and they've been in and out of trouble. You've punished them over and over, but have you ever really told them how proud you were of them when they did good? How often do you show them love and happiness, instead of disappointment and anger? We're not saying to be a pushover, but as a parent you have to be balanced when doling out punishment and praise.

Also set a good example at home. Be a leader by example. Do everything you can to keep a safe and sober home. You can always talk a good game, but actions speak a lot louder than words. If you preach sobriety to your child, yet you drink wine every night, how can you really expect your teen to take you seriously? They're probably filling your bottles back up with water after having a drink while you're away. It all starts at home with prevention, and you're giving your child a handicap by engaging in your own unhealthy behaviors.

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