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Sunny with a Chance of Drugs: Keeping your kid away from the “hot” commodity

Summertime sadness is not a thing when you’re a teenager. No school, less supervision, and lots of social time. The summer months are an opportunity for your teen to truly feel like they are “living their best life,” but sometimes the carefree attitude gets out of control.

Studies show, by the end of August, nearly one million teens will have sipped their first drink of alcohol. On an average summer day, about 4,500 youth will smoke cigarettes or marijuana for the first time. This may not be a huge concern to you. But consider this. Substance use can lead to much bigger problems such as drinking and driving, sexual activity (unprotected sex), violent behavior, and poor decision-making in general.

As summertime approaches, it is the opportune time to talk to your teen about the negative consequences substance use can have on their summer fun. It is unrealistic for us to suggest that you follow your teen around all summer and monitor their every move. Let’s be real, that would totally cramp their style. But, there are some things you can do to help keep your teen on track for a super awesome summer. Bradford Health listed these suggestions for keeping your teen safe and drug-free in summertime:

  • Set Summertime Rules: Make clear your rules regarding unsupervised time spent with friends, as well as your expectations surrounding drinking, smoking and other risky behaviors.
  • Supervise: Be physically present when you can, and when you cannot, ask a friend, neighbor or relative to randomly check in. Research shows that unsupervised youth are three times more likely to use alcohol or other drugs.
  • Monitor: Know with whom and where your child is at all times. Ask WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY daily. Randomly call and text your child to check in, and don’t be afraid to check up on your child by calling other parents. It truly takes a village.
  • Stay Involved: Show your child you care by taking time out of your busy schedule to do something fun together.

In an ideal world, all teens would conform to these boundaries, but that’s just not the reality. Sometimes, no matter what you do, or how much you talk about it, your child will still resort to substance experimentation. Changes in mood or behavior or physical changes such as bloodshot eyes, poor hygiene, weight changes, unexplained bruises, flushed cheeks or fatigue can be quick indicators that your child is experimenting with drugs.

If you are suspicious or concerned, talk to your child first. Don’t accuse and don’t overreact. Address the situation and if you feel like the issue is out of your control, seek professional help.

Kokua Recovery can help

Kokua Recovery is a program for adolescents ages 13-18 who struggle with substance abuse. The program is dedicated to providing students with experiences that ignite a positive change in their lives and create healthier habits. The nurturing environment fosters safe relationships and gives students the skills they need to seek personal growth and healing. Call us at 877-302-5022 and let us help your family today.

Ken Huey

Upon graduating from Purdue with a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy, Dr. Huey worked as a therapist, Clinical Director, and Business Development Director in residential treatment. Dr. Huey was always drawn to the large population of adoptees in residential treatment (he is adopted himself). He ultimately became convinced that this population needed specialty care and in November of 2006, Dr. Huey founded Calo. Calo grew to a 200 plus employee organization with about the same numbers of teen clients served each year. He sold Calo and retired in June of 2015. He came out of retirement in 2017 and founded Kokua Recovery, trauma-informed residential drug and alcohol treatment with sites in Colorado.

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