Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with Texas HHS. However, all opinions are 100% my own.
Growing up in the 80’s, things were a bit different from today in that we didn’t have the technology we do now. During the summer, we rode bikes to local parks, hung out with friends on our block, and went home when the street light last came on.
Keep Kids Safe and Drug-free
Although some things were different, I’m sure many of the pressures and influences we faced then are still prevalent today. As the father to five, I do my best to stay on top of things that could possibly influence my children towards making bad choices. The misuse of drugs and alcohol by teens is still an issue I see students facing today.
For our children, Staci and I remain a constant in their lives. We know that there are people and things all around them that can persuade them in a direction we may not agree with.
Therefore, we do our part to keep our kids safe and drug-free, especially during the summer months when boredom runs high, using the following tips:
- Know your children’s friends. The saying goes, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” The girls invite their friends over often so we can get a better understanding of who they are. We meet their parents and talk often to the parents of those friends they spend the most fine with.
- Set expectations. Talk to your kids about everything, including drugs and alcohol. Those tough conversations can save your child one day. Be clear with what you expect from them and make sure they know to call you if they ever find themselves in a bad situation.
- Keep track of where they go. You know your child. Set rules that keep you updated on their whereabouts, yet give them a fair amount of independence based on their age and trust earned. Technology can be a great tool here with smartphone features such as Find My Friends.
- Have open conversations. Once expectations are set in reference to friends, going out, and the do’s-and-don’ts of drug misuse, keep the lines of communication open. Your children should feel safe knowing they can come to you with things they may have seen or questions they may have.
- Encourage hobbies or activities based on their interests. If they are doing activities they enjoy with like-minded peers, they are less likely to fall into trouble.
- Set a good example. Kids tend to follow by example more often than they do by listening. If you model a drug-free example, talk to them about consequences of drug misuse, and direct them toward their goals, you are helping lead them in the right direction.
In the end, our job as parents is to inspire them to achieve greatness, be present in their lives, and stay consistent in our words and examples.