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Celebrate Family Day by Being an Engaged Parent

Posted on Aug 30 by

If there was a tool for keeping your kids healthy, well-adjusted, and drug-free, wouldn’t you want to have it? Organizers from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse think every parent should have that tool.  And that’s why they started a national initiative called Family Day, which is supported by the Behavioral Health Alliance of Grundy County and other local organizations. Family Day is aimed at sharing with parents what researchers know about successful parenting: that simple acts of parental engagement are key to helping prevent risky behaviors in children and teens. Family Day started out in 2001 as a grassroots initiative to inform parents about all the benefits of frequent family dinners.  It has grown into a national movement to help parents understand the importance of connecting with kids in many different ways to communicate with them and really listen to what they have to say. As children age, it is vital to keep those lines of communication open, especially during adolescence when they are at risk of engaging in risky behavior including smoking, drinking or using...


What Parents Need to Know About St. Patrick’s Day

Posted on Mar 11 by

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday known for good music, delicious food and fun. And excess drinking. Your kids are watching – or they could be participating. Contrary to popular belief, kids do listen to their parents. What you say and how you act matters! Holidays like St. Paddy’s Day are a great opportunity to talk with your teen about alcohol and begin shaping healthier behaviors. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids offers the following great advice:  Set clear expectations about avoiding alcohol—and remind them of the risks of underage drinking Appeal to their self-worth by letting them know that they have a lot going for them and don’t need alcohol to have a good time Be upfront and open about any family history of alcoholism or substance abuse Celebrate safely with family by watching parades, making green pancakes and smoothies, or listening to traditional Irish music Visit the Partnership website for lots more resources designed to empower teens to avoid alcohol and drugs every day, including Above the Influence, their youth-serving program that reaches over 1.6 million teens through social media and community-based partnerships....


Knowing Your Teen = Knowing Your Teen’s Friends

Posted on Mar 10 by

Our role as parents is to care for and guide our children. Here are some great pieces of advice gathered from parenting experts: Know Your Child’s Friends by Name. Know how to contact them if you need to talk to them. Have Rules and Monitor Your Child’s Use of the Internet and Social Media. Set up your own social media account and make sure both you and your child use privacy settings offered by the provider. Talk with your child about the problems and pitfalls of online relationships and how important it is to guard your personal safety and your reputation. Attend Your Teen’s Events. Whenever possible, attend school events and other activities such as athletic clubs and church programs. Ask your child to introduce you to her friends. Spend some time getting to know more about them and the things they care about. Get to Know the Parents or Guardians of Your Child’s Friends. It helps to know that they share your values and priorities and that you can work with them to ensure that everyone in your...


Radio Ads Take on the Myth That It’s Okay to Let Kids Drink at Home

Posted on Feb 26 by

Parents of teens sometimes justify letting their kids drink at home because “they’re going to do it anyway, and at home I can keep them safe.” But, if they thought about this more carefully, they would see the potential dangers. During several weeks around the holidays, is running a series of radio ads on WCSJ 103.1 FM, emphasizing the health risks posed by underage drinking. The ads, narrated by Phil Jass, Director of the Grundy County Health Department and linked below, stress the fact that underage drinking increases the risk for future alcoholism as well as other risky behaviors.  They also urge parents to talk to their teen about the consequences that can result from underage drinking. Talk to Your Kids (30 seconds) Prevent Addiction (30 seconds)  (15 seconds) Research shows that teens who think their parents are permissive about alcohol use are MORE likely to abuse alcohol and to use other drugs.* Of course, there are other risks as well—from health and safety risks like alcohol poisoning, unprotected sex, and drunk driving, to the legal and...


New Year’s Eve—It’s All About Drinking, Right?

Posted on Dec 14 by

Alcohol plays a big role in many holiday celebrations in the U.S., especially on New Year’s Eve. A popular image in the media is of raucous parties fueled by liquor. Yet most adults will drink responsibly, and a significant minority of adults will not ring in the new year with a toast of alcohol. Consider the fact that, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 71% of U.S. adults over age 18 drank alcohol in the past year. Almost 30% don’t drink that often or don’t drink at all. As parents of teens, it’s important for us to do what we can to dispel the notions that it’s not a party without alcohol and you need to be drunk to have fun. Spend some time talking with your teen during the holidays. Use what you see in the media as a teachable moment to challenge the emphasis on alcohol during this time of the year. Ask your teen what she and her friends think. Do they know it is against the law for teens to drink alcohol?...


‘Safe’ Drinking by Teens? No Way!

Posted on Nov 3 by

There is no such thing as “safe” drinking when it comes to alcohol use by teens. Youth who start drinking before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to become dependent on alcohol than those who start drinking at or after age 21.* Youth who drink alcohol are also more likely to experience: Poor performance in school Social problems Legal problems Alcohol-related crashes and other unintentional injuries Unplanned and unprotected sex Physical and sexual assault Abuse of other drugs Changes in brain development that may have life-long effects Disruption of normal growth and sexual development Death from alcohol poisoning If you think your child has been drinking, it’s time for a calm, yet firm, discussion with your child.  Keep your cool, because angry, judgmental talk will only cloud your message.  Here are some ideas: RISKS—Talk about the extra dangers teens face when they have been drinking (see above). Ask her whether she has seen other teens suffer consequences from drinking alcohol. Ask him whether he has ever felt unsafe because of other teens’ drinking. PEER PRESSURE—Brainstorm some...