10 Tips to Keep Kids Off Drugs this Summer

teens having fun by the lake

Summer is officially here, and the relief and freedom felt by most teenagers across the United States are accompanied by the concern and worry that many parents are experiencing about their children’s well being. Now that your kids are out of school, how can you be sure that they will stay out of trouble? How do you know that they won’t get involved with drugs? There are things that you can do to help them stay safe and enjoy a drug-free summer, and Narconon is sharing 10 tips that you can use now:

  1. Have the Talk  Don’t assume that your children have fully gotten the message about staying away from drugs at school, in the media or elsewhere. Even if they have heard it countless times, it will have more of an impact when delivered one-on-one and with you expressing your sincere concern.
  2. Don’t let them Go to Unsupervised Parties - Summertime often sees parties where teens take advantage of the fact that parents may be out of town, or when teens host parties outdoors in different locations away from the prying eyes of adults, and they do this for a reason. Make sure that there will be responsible adults present at any parties that your children might be going to.
  3. Maintain an Open Channel of Communication - After talking with your teens about drugs, make sure that they feel comfortable discussing the subject with you. To do this, you need to avoid making the talk a stern lecture; keep it relaxed and invite your child to share his or her views on the subject. The more communication you and your child can have on the subject, the better will be the understanding and the more that your child will want to avoid doing anything that would disappoint you.
  4. Keep Unsupervised Time to a Minimum - In all likelihood, there will be long hours during the work week when you will not be able to be there with your children to supervise their activities, but this doesn’t mean that you should just leave them to their own devices. Try to arrange things so that they’re with an adult as much as possible, whether at a friend’s house, coming with you to work, visiting with family, etc.
  5. Always Know Who They’re with and What They’re Doing - Your teen could easily spend most of the summer doing things you don’t have any idea about and spending time with friends you have never met, and you would have no idea what happened. Take the time to ask questions and keep tabs on their schedules and social scene.
  6. Point Out the Media Influence - Movies, TV, music, video games and more are filled with references to drug use, and in many cases, the media not only normalizes drugs but makes them seem glamorous. Discuss this with your children to make sure that they’re aware of the message that’s being pushed, rather than passively accepting it as part of the show.
  7. Acknowledge and Reward Them - While you can focus on the things that your kids should not be doing, you should also pay attention to the good things that they do. By doing so, you can help to build up your child’s self-esteem and confidence, leading to a better outlook and overall level of happiness. If your child feels really loved and has a stable home life, there will be fewer reasons or excuses to use drugs.
  8. Help them Get Involved in Summer Activities - Summer break doesn’t have to mean idle days and aimless hours. In most areas of the country, there are plenty of activities going on, from organized sports to summer camps, to volunteer activities. By choosing fun and engaging activities that keep your teen occupied and interested, you can reduce the opportunity to get involved with drugs.
  9. Help Them Find a Job - If you can help your teen get a summer job, you can not only rest assured knowing that he or she will be busy and most likely supervised for much of the week, but also take stock in the fact that working and earning a paycheck can make an enormous difference in helping your teen to grow up. The responsibility of holding down a job can be a great deterrent to drug use.
  10. Set a Good Example - This is one of the most important things that you can do to help your teens avoid drug use. Don’t underestimate the effect that the things that you say and do have on shaping your children’s opinions and attitudes towards life. Be upbeat and driven, be compassionate and caring, and stay sober.

Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.