the PARENT UP-Date
Vol1.3 July 2014
Summer and Staying Alcohol and Drug Free!
We hope this newsletter finds you and your family deep into the summer schedule with some space for relaxing, getting away, or simply enjoying time together.
School is just around the corner! We hope this season's update helps you to prepare your kids for health and wholeness mentally, emotionally, and physically. Staying in school, away from drugs and alcohol, and connected to caring adults will equip our kids to not just survive but to thrive in another year of school.
Building into Kids Before "Back to School"
At ParentUP, we hope you end summer on an upbeat note with your kids. Your kids will care about your rules when they know you care about them. Send them back to school secure in their connection to you and their convictions about good choices.
For Elementary School Kids: Invite them to shop for school supplies with you and to pick out some special pencils or crayons for homework time at home. Set up their desk in their room, or pick a spot around your kitchen table where they will be able to work on school work at home. Remind them of your family values and rules about staying healthy and smart by staying away from all alcohol or drugs.
For Tween/Pre-teens: Pay attention to them in the next few weeks and NOTICE 10-20 things a day they do that reflect your family values. Anything from remembering to take their dish to the sink, or paying attention to an adult who was speaking to them, can give you the opportunity to let them know you see them and notice when they are being respectful, helpful, positive, focused, friendly etc. This will send them back to school reminded of who they are and what they need to do when they are out in the world. Instead of lecturing them, simply catch them behaving positively, and verbally acknowledge it.
"Your sister was really bugging you and I noticed you chose to walk away instead of argue with her."
"Thank you for clearing your plate so promptly. Your contributions to our family and home are important."
"I can see you're focusing with intensity as you play that video game."
"Your voice was kind as you spoke to Mrs. Ruth next door."
"Dylan's mom said there were a lot of kids drinking at that party last night. I know you came home early and chose not to drink. I support you making that healthy decision even if it was hard with so many friends choosing to drink."
For High Schoolers: Have a night together where they discuss their goals for the year. Encourage their dreams.
What do they hope to accomplish in school, music, arts, sports, or in their job?
Also spend time reviewing expectations.
Remind them that using drugs or drinking alcohol is 100% unacceptable in your family and could deter them away from achieving their dreams and goals. New data from a national survey of high school students shows that teens who receive a message from their parents that underage drinking is completely unacceptable, are more than 80 percent less likely to drink than teens who receive other messages.
Use this ParentUP contract to set expectations together.
Legal DOES NOT equal Safe: Some Facts About Today's Pot
Legalizing marijuana for any purpose has youth thinking that smoking pot is “no big deal.” It's imperative to remind kids, and remember ourselves, that legal does not equal safe.
- More kids are in drug treatment programs for marijuana use than for any other drug.
- Marijuana now is much more harmful than it was at Woodstock. In the 60’s, THC (the chemical that makes you “high”) levels in marijuana were between 4-5%. Now, marijuana found in Missouri is packed with 15%-30% THC…and it’s just getting stronger. This past winter, local school resource officers have found marijuana they believe to be 90% pure THC (see dabbing). As a result, 1 in 6 youth who use marijuana will become addicted, 1 in 10 adults will become addicted.
- Studies have found a lower self-reported quality of life for Marijuana users.
- Regular use of marijuana is robbing our youth of their IQ points, memory, sexual safety, and increasing their risk of car crashes.
The disastrous risks go on and on:
- Young people using marijuana frequently are more impulsive, less attentive, less motivated, unable to retain information as effectively, and slower to make decisions.
- Frequent users experience an increased risk of schizophrenia and greater levels of depression, including being three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts.
- Marijuana use has been shown to permanently impair brain development in youth. Learning skills such as problem solving, concentration, motivation and memory are negatively affected
- Marijuana-using teens are more likely to have multiple sexual partners, begin having sex at a younger age, and engage in unsafe sex.
- Finally, Marijuana use doubles the risk of a car crash because it impairs motor coordination, slows down reaction time, as well as distorts depth perceptions.
This is a barrage of facts and information. Evidence from these studies can be found by referencing the picture below.
When you're reviewing your safe night and no-use contracts with your kids, pick three dangers from this list that might particularly impact your son or daughter. Encourage them to stay drug free!
While socially sexy or inviting, the smoky reality is that pot steals young lives and brains.