Let’s Talk About It: Spring Break
(03/12/2020) We have all been waiting for it and all signs point to it actually being around the corner: Spring (break) is coming!
Spring break can also mean teens are more vulnerable to risky behaviors, due to the attitude and beliefs they hold toward substance use and that they deserve a little rest and relaxation. While I can’t argue the last statement (everyone deserves a little rest and relaxation), I do believe as parents we have a responsibility to look at our own attitudes and beliefs, as they align with the expectations we set for our children. Whether you are able to take a vacation away from Minnesota, or you are lucky enough to enjoy the snow melt here at home, spring break can be a time to ensure there are clear rules within your family, in order to help protect teens from the many challenges that come with underage drinking or other underage substance use.
Not sure where you stand on the subject? FCD Prevention Works, which is part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, offers some great insight on the importance of adult attitudes and the ways in which we convey messages to our children. Preventing risky behaviors can help our children avoid the challenges that come with early substance use. When children see or feel our ambivalence, they may begin to act out or challenge us in ways they haven’t done so before. There is a wealth of great information here and I encourage you to read through it. FCD Prevention Works has an upcoming webinar to help parents find answers to their questions about how to help teens live safe, healthy, rewarding lives without unhealthy alcohol or other drug risks. This is free of charge and well worth the time!
Spring break also tends to be a time where older teens may travel to Mexico or other locations either with or without parental supervision. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has published some alarming facts regarding underage drinking and binge drinking and I encourage you to read through them with your child prior to any spring break vacation. Doing so allows both you and your child to begin the conversation with the hopes of continuing the open dialogue!
My hope is that when the opportunity to talk to your child about chemical health arises, you are able to respond by saying, “Let’s Talk About It!”
May you have a safe and relaxing spring break!
Colleen O’Neil, LADC, CPP
Anoka-Hennepin School District Chemical Health Prevention Specialist