We are starting a workgroup for parents and caregivers to share tips that are helpful in raising teens and tweens! 

Our connections with other parents/caregivers are valuable as we set our kids up for success in both the short and long term. When parents/caregivers work together to address the issues that present stumbling blocks for our kids, our outcomes get better. One of these stumbling block is substance misuse. There is not a comprehensive manual that outlines how to support our kids and prevent substance misuse, but there is a lot of power in parents/caregivers coming together to address the risk factors.  Healthy Lamoille Valley coalition member Deb Schoepke will be co-facilitating a monthly parent workgroup to support parents in identifying and addressing issues that contribute to youth substance misuse.  Join us on the 4th Wednesday of each month at 7:00pm.  Click here to register! 

We’re launching our parent/caregiver workgroup on April 28th at 7:00pm and focusing on the foundation of strong communication.

Communication, communication, communication!  Here are five tips for successful communication about substance misuse:

  • Communication both verbal and non-verbal is essential for successful kids/teens
  • Short conversations vs. long lectures.
  • We all have good kids – recognize and praise their good decisions often!
  • Find times to build strong relationships and talk about whatever your child/teen wants to talk about. Talking about there interests builds trust to talk about the important things.
  • What you say as parents and caregivers truly does impact the choices our kids make.

If you talk to your kids directly and honestly, they are more likely to respect your rules and advice about alcohol and drug use. When parents talk with their children early and often about alcohol and other drugs, they can protect their children from many of the high-risk behaviors associated with using these drugs.

“Why You Should Talk With Your Child About Alcohol and Other Drugs”

And here’s a few more tips!

  • Start early. There are age appropriate ways to speak to younger children about making good decisions. Let them know you are always there for them.
  • Listen  It’s important for parents to listen more than speak especially during teenage years.  Ask questions that will give them the opportunity to share. Then listen.
  • Communicate clear expectations with your child, adjust as needed and stay open minded to plans changing with communication…
  • Don’t be so strict that you put your child at greater risk.  Bend the rules where it’s safe to do so but some rules are non-negotiable
  • Communicate to your child that under no circumstances will you drink and drive nor will you get in a car with someone who has consumed alcohol. Period. Communicate this often.
  • Know your family history regarding substance misuse and physical and mental health. People with a family history are more vulnerable to developing a substance misuse disorder.  Talk about this with your teens.  It can become the reason they choose not to try substances.

The great news is that there are resources to help parents strengthen their communication skills with their children/teens.  Here are a couple of our favorites!

Parentupvt.org
It may not seem like it at times, but parents are a child’s No. 1 influence. That means it is up to us to address tough topics with our kids like substance use and mental wellness. ParentUp is here to help and provide guidance about how to do this as supportively and effectively as possible.

Talking to Teens Ep 115: Beating Substance Abuse and Addiction
Podcast from Talking To Teens: Richard Capriola, author of The Addicted Child and a seasoned addiction counselor, gives us the details on vaping, marijuana use, and drug abuse in teens. Go in depth on what to do if you suspect substance abuse and how to start a successful recovery.