Parent Blog

May 29, 2013

Blog, Parents

Parents – please take the time to read this blog by Amity Chandler. It has a great message!!

Preparing for Summer with   Teens
Amity Chandler, former DFCC Executive Director


First,   let’s debunk summer. There   is nothing magical about it, except that teens tend to have more free time and   there is a strong correlation between free time and risk-taking among teens.   This could mean riding their bike into the pool, walking through the   drive-thru, or an all-nighter of the Jersey Shore.  It could also mean   the temptation to experiment with alcohol, marijuana or sexual activity.   Short of locking them up, there is no silver bullet to prevent any of the   above, and I often joke with my friends that as parents of teens, we have a   100% chance of something going awry. It does not however, have to be as a   result of a lack of planning.


Plan   1. Throw out the left-over   liquor bottles that are sitting around from the holiday parties.   Bigger is not better in this case, and your teens weren’t   hatched yesterday. If they’re going to experiment, it will be with the stuff   you’re least likely to look at or touch. This also means old prescriptions   and the cigarettes you might have quit a month ago. Also consider most   Florida teens say when they drink they do so at another friend’s home. There   is a parent somewhere that hasn’t gotten the memo…it’s time for us to start   talking to the parents of our friends and asking direct questions, such as,   does my teen have access to alcohol in your home? Worst-case scenario is   you’ll embarrass your teen. Let’s just say it won’t be the first or last   time.


Plan   2. Prepare for boredom. Actually,   don’t fall victim to the “I’m bored” routine. Before you know it, they’ll be   calling you on the phone while you’re at work asking to go to place A, with   friend B, whom you’ve actually never met, but is a friend of friend C, whom   you know quite well. And oh by the way, they’ll be home before you get home,   and they’ll keep their cell phone on. Don’t get me wrong, I believe most   teens are inherently honest and good – I am their biggest cheerleader. But   I’ve noticed they can smell weakness. If they can get their otherwise logical   parent who normally would insist on all facts and details with 24-hour notice   to budge in this one moment, the door is open for compromise. Work with your   teen to make plans in advance and stick with the 24-hour notice rule for   activity outside of the home. If friend B is really that important to your   teen, they’ll make plans within your guidelines.


Plan   3. A summer job is not a barrier to experimentation. In   fact, in can be a gateway. Summer jobs are great for teaching responsibility,   earning money and other life lessons. Summer jobs can also result in   relationships between your teen and older, legal drinking-age individuals.   Plan on talking to your teen about work relationships, new friends and your   expectations of them while they are working for the summer, including curfews   and work hours.


Plan   4. Plan for fun and down time. Endless   surveys of teenagers show that they are often more worried, more stressed and   more over-extended than any other teen generation that has come before them.   Sleeping a few days away is not going to be the end of your bright-eyed sassy   teenager. Hanging aimlessly at the beach with an approved list of friends may   be just what they need to decompress and refocus. Plan in advance for ways   that you and your teenager can do just that – relax.


There is no need for summer vacation to be any more onerous than any other period should be while raising teens. At the end of the day, we’re still a parent, and they’re still a teenager. Have a safe, well-planned summer.

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