It is normal and healthy for adolescents to seek increased independence as they grow and develop. It is also normal for parents to have a hard time letting go. Naturally, we worry about our children’s health and safety and quite frankly, their ability to make good decisions. However, in order for our children to become mature, responsible, self-disciplined young people, we must loosen the reigns and allow them to make some decisions on their own, mistakes and all.
Summer break is upon us, and for tweens and teens this means no homework, plenty of free time and less supervision. While a majority of youth will find healthy ways to keep busy, some, unfortunately, will use their unsupervised freedom to experiment with drugs and alcohol. How do you know that they won't get involved with drugs? It's time to Start Talking!
State officials including Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio legislative leaders recently sent letters to all school superintendents in Ohio to share tools and information with teachers, counselors and parents in an effort to fight the deadly opioid epidemic.
Kids who hear about the dangers of drugs from trusted adults are up to 50 percent less likely to use. Mentors at summer camps, or band and sport camps, can support Ohio’s youth in making healthy choices. Camp leaders can lead a Start Talking! discussion and share the facts about the dangers of alcohol, illegal drugs and the misuse of prescription medications.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with teens experiencing a little boredom, too much time on their hands with “nothing to do” can lead to trouble, like experimenting with alcohol and drugs or engaging in other risky behaviors.