Teenage Drug Abuse Prevention: Remaining Vigilant During Winter Break

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Teenage drug abuse prevention requires parents and loved ones to remain vigilant.  It’s that time of year when teens have winter vacation, which for most teens results in hours of unsupervised and unscheduled time.  That leaves teens at high risk this time of year for encountering drugs and alcohol, sometimes for the first time. While taking off a week or two weeks for work is not an option for most parents, there are things that parents and loved ones can do to remain vigilant throughout the holiday season in preventing teenage drug abuse.

Teenage Drug Abuse Prevention During The Holidays

  1. Provide productive activities.   Engage your teen in participating around the house, like cooking or childcare.  Challenge them to cook a dinner entirely out of vegetables or to create a one day field trip for younger siblings.   Appeal to their sense of being an “adult” by offering incentives and thanks.  Avoid making these activities sound like chores.
  2. Check in Regularly.  Check in throughout the day.  This can be as simple as a phone call or even asking your teen to meet you for a “lunch date” during the work day.
  3. Know Their Plans. Before you leave in the morning know where your teen is going and who they are going to be with.  Teenage drug abuse prevention means understanding what your teen is doing. You don’t have to make a big deal about it, just make sure you have an open discussion about their plans and activities for the day.
  4. Get home on time.  Show your teen that you want to spend time with them and are interested in them by getting home on time.  If you are going to be late, call and inform them.  Treat them like an adult.
  5. Eat dinner together.  During the school year weeknight dinners can get pretty crazy.  Make it a point to eat dinner together and spend time together in the evening now that they are out of school.  Plan fun family dinners, like make your own pizza night or make your own pasta night.  Engage your teen in menu planning. Remember that just spending time together may be the strongest step in teenage drug abuse prevention.
  6. Encourage Friendships.  Don’t prevent your teen from hanging out with their friends during winter break.  We all need a break from work, even teens.  Encourage them to hang out with their friends in safe and healthy environments.  If you have concerns about certain friends or particular hang out locations, express those to your teen.
  7. Offer Unconditional Love.  Teens are known to test the boundaries, but remember that it is part of growing up.  Offer and remind your teen that no matter what happens you will always love them.  Offer them a no questions asked ride home or support for whatever they may be going through.  While they may not need you this winter break, you never know when you might get that call for help.  An offer of unconditional love keeps the communication lines open.