Ah, the joys of summertime. Summer can be a wonderful opportunity for children and adolescents to spend more time exploring their passions and interests. It’s also the perfect time as a family to cultivate new experiences and have fun together. However, all that extra free time over the summer can mean that some children may engage in risky behaviors.
Parents who are concerned their children might be at risk can take some proactive steps to be a positive influence in their child’s life. This can help parents hopefully guide children towards making safe, healthy choices during their summer break.
There’s something to be said for being proactive. Planning your summer activities in advance can help you create a healthy, happy, fun schedule for the whole family. Plan to take a family vacation to your favorite lake cabin or beach resort. Surprise your children with a trip to Disneyland. Soak up some sun. Splash around in the water. Take a yoga class together as a family. The ideas are endless!
Another way to help ensure a safe, successful and happy summer (and future) for your child is by modeling good behavior. Children learn how to behave through watching adults. Even though it might not always seem like your child looks up to you, they are still turning to you as a role model for how to navigate tricky life circumstances. As a parent, you have an important opportunity to be a positive influence on your child’s life.
Consider how spirituality might play a role in your family’s plans this summer. Children with a strong connection to God or a Higher Power may have better coping mechanisms during times of crisis and may also be less likely to give into peer pressures of drugs and alcohol abuse.
Parents can help their kids avoid these peer pressures by talking through how to handle tricky situations. Help your child understand the dangers of drugs and alcohol – and practice what he or she can say in a situation where peers are offering those substances. Best of all, teach your child how to avoid tricky situations altogether.
Although it can be awkward, talking to your children about the dangers of drug use is absolutely critical for keeping kids on the right track. Peer pressure happens, and you should prepare your child for how to handle those situations when they occur.
As parents, there are lots of inevitable factors in a child’s life that are simply beyond our control. No parent is perfect, but the fact that you are reading this article is a positive sign. You obviously care enough to try to be a positive influence in your child’s life. When you make an effort to spend time with your child and strive to keep the lines of communication open, you’ll stand a much better chance of keeping your kids on the right track. Good luck!