Marijuana Talk Kit: What you need to know to talk with your teen about marijuana

Between marijuana legalization, the normalization in pop culture and new ways of using (edibles, vaporizers, concentrates), it’s becoming more complicated for parents to talk to their teens.

So where do you start? And what should you say? The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is here to help

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has made its grant-supported Marijuana Talk Kit available as a free download. This kit is full of information on what marijuana is, how it effects youth brain development and why it's important to maintain an open and ongoing dialogue with your kids about it. While not a strict how-to with a script, the kit has helpful examples of honest answers to difficult questions kids might ask and tips for engaging in active listening with your kids. 

A sneak peek at some of the tools inside the Marijuana Talk Kit:
  • Keep an open mind
  • Put yourself in your teen's shoes
  • Be clear about your goals
  • Don't lecture
  • Try active listening
  • And so much more...

9 Strategies for Parents from Parent Further

From Parent Further

Strategy #1  Take Action! No two parents show love in quite the same way. Some shower their kids with lots of hugs, high-fives, and kind notes; others are more stoic or reserved. Tap into your own way of showing your kids you care.
Spend time together in ways that fit your lifestyle.
Try to make time for regular meals together, go for walks, talk in the car, or meet somewhere for coffee.
Don’t strive to live up to a stereotype or an ideal of parenting; just do what works for you. 

Strategy #2  Take Action! Communicate in ways that work well for you. Texting sometimes gets a bad rap, but so did the telephone years ago. Lots of kids today text—many of them, with their parents. If it works for your family, go for it. The medium you use matters less than how much you truly listen.
Do you understand what your kids are trying to tell you? Are you paying attention to body language or other cues that might indicate there’s more to a story?
When you share things, are you grounding yourself in love, respect, and clarity? Do you ever say one thing and mean another? Do you treat them the way you want to be treated?

Strategy #3  Take Action! Are you able to name at least three non-parent adults who are positive role models for your child? That strict but kind violin teacher who pushes 20 minutes of practice a day may be helping your daughter build confidence. Or maybe the neighbor who hires your son to walk her dogs helps him see himself as a responsible and reliable person. Adults outside our families can be hidden treasures when it comes to helping us parent. Research shows that all family members can benefit from kids having these kinds of supportive relationships. You can help nurture them by introducing your children to people you like and respect, and supporting positive relationships that develop naturally. 

Strategy #4  Take Action! Most schools and youth-serving programs go out of their way to reach parents through conferences, volunteer opportunities, and special events. If you’re too busy to attend, at the very least, connect with your children’s teachers via e-mail or phone. Then start taking advantage of opportunities to actually get into and spend time at the places your kids go.

If the idea of going to school makes you uncomfortable, chaperone a field trip out of the building.

If you aren’t finding good ways to get involved, start talking to or emailing your child’s teachers, principals, program leaders, other directors. Let them know what would work for you and why the current opportunities don’t work.

Strategy #5  Take Action! Kids may not realize it, but having responsibilities is good for them. All people need to know they are valued and valuable; it’s human nature. Parents can show kids that they are valued at home by giving them increasing levels of responsibility. We can then take it a step further by helping them get engaged in service in the community, whether this involvement is in the neighborhood, school, or somewhere else. 

Strategy #6  Take Action! Kids need emotional and physical safety in equal measures. The challenges parents face in providing it vary as much as kids and their environments.  A secret to keeping kids safe is to do the other eight things on this list. If you’re communicating, you’ll know what’s going on in your child’s life, where they might need some help, or if they might need someone to look out for them. If they have contributing roles and positive influences, they’re more likely to make safe choices, and if lots of people care about them, they can get help and support when needed.

A second key is to take physical safety measures (such as baby proofing when they’re young, or setting rules about driving when they’re teens) out of love for them and a desire for them to have positive experiences, rather than out of fear.

Strategy #7  Take Action! It’s no fun being the parent who says no when others are saying yes. But sometimes it’s in the best interest of your kids and your entire family. The key to reducing everyone’s stress and frustration about limits and expectations is to be clear, consistent, reasonable, and evolutionary. “Evolutionary” means being responsive to your child’s changing developmental needs and what they’ve demonstrated about their choices.
Reward the positive behavior and limit opportunities for negative behavior. For example, if you have a teenager who has a history of impulsive behavior, don’t let her go to an unsupervised party; have a gathering at your home instead. Or, if your son gets up five mornings a week in the summer to go to cross country practice, let him skip an evening lacrosse workout when he’s feeling ragged and worn out.

Strategy #8  Take Action! Be the dad who talks to your passengers during the carpool. Be the mom who asks a lot of questions about school, interests, and activities. You don’t have to be nosy to get to know your children’s friends, but you do have to be the one to set the tone of kind, friendly interaction. Your kids might think it’s a little weird at first, but in the long run they’ll appreciate it. 

Strategy #9  Take Action! This one is simple, but definitely not easy: Be the kind of person you want your child to be. Know your values and act on them, treat others the way you would like to be treated, follow your dreams, cut yourself some slack when appropriate, and feel good knowing you’re building the assets your kids need to succeed. 

Click here, for more information and to be directed to the Search Institute's website.

Parental Youth Recognition - It's Important and Easy To Do!

Parents: Catch Your Child Being Good!
  • Positive words from parents help kids stay positive.
  • Having responsibilities in the home helps young people to feel valued. Jobs like washing dishes, picking up their rooms, and helping to make dinner tell your children that you think they are capable and important.
  • Setting clear expectations and rules makes family life easier and kids need to hear when they are doing a good job of meeting your expectations.
  • When young people are rebelling against their parents, it is still important to tell them what they are doing well.
  • Even noticing a small improvement can make a big difference in your child's attitude and behavior.
  • Children need to know that adults notice their successes.
  • Young people who are encouraged are more likely to do more good things!

5 Sentences Kids Want to Hear:
  1. Great Job! 
  2. We’re so proud of you!
  3. You’re amazing! 
  4. That’s a great improvement!
  5. You make a difference in our town!

10 Easy Ways to Appreciate Young People
  1. Post things on the refrigerator (awards, good grades, art work, encouragement, anything positive!).
  2. Tell them “I love you” and “I'm proud of you”. You cannot say these too often!
  3. Ask how their day was.
  4. Listen.
  5. Brag about them to friends and family (when your child can hear it!)
  6. Turn off the TV and eat meals together as a family as often as possible.
  7. Ask teachers about your child's strengths at school. Then, tell your child what the teacher said and how proud it makes you feel.
  8. Be involved in activities with your child.
  9. Reward your child for being good. (Rewards don't have to cost money. Use your imagination!).
  10. Slip a note that says “I'm proud of you” or other message into their backpack.

Every Youth Wants to Be Appreciated!

Brought to you by the Community Coalition for Teens and the Communities That Care Coalition.The Communities That Care Coalition’s Youth Recognition Workgroup promotes recognition for positive youth involvement in families, schools and communities.

Parent Handbook For Talking With Teens About Alcohol

Being a parent is intensely rewarding, but also deeply challenging. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have issued a handbook for parents about talking with teens about alcohol. The teen brain focuses on what's happening right now. When a teen thinks ahead, it usually means he or she is wondering about what to do this weekend, not next year. That's why your son or daughter isn't terribly concerned about the future. This puts teens at a disadvantage when they face choices about risky behaviors that can have long-term consequences, such as drinking.

Helpful Tips:

1. Most teens say their parents are the leading influence on their decisions about drinking.
2. The changes teens go through affect how they think about alcohol.
3. By focusing on obedience, authoritarian parents lose their ability to influence their teen through reasoned discussion or to help them develop good thinking skills.
4. Parents Do Make a Difference. Despite how you may feel sometimes, research shows that parents are an important influence on whether or not teens chose to drink alcohol.
5. Positive parenting is generally the most effective parenting style.
6. Teens do care about their parent's opinions. They especially respond well to a positive parenting style.
7. Suspend your critical judgement while you listen attentively. This is probably the single most important aspect of good communication.
8. We have parents who teach basic family values, like honesty and responsibility, but never discuss alcohol directly with their kids.
9. Emphasize to teens how quickly drinking can lead to dangerous results. That's why you take underage drinking so seriously.
10. Speak with respect and appreciation and choose a good time. Don't do it when the other person is rushed or has a commitment elsewhere.

To read more from the pamphlet: MADD Pamphlet

6 Tips to Create a Safe Prom and High-School Graduation Season for Your Teen

Theres something about prom and graduation season that makes rational parents go bonkers. Here are6 tips for parents to help keep their teen safe and make this season one to remember for all the right reasons.

1. Set curfews  Teen car crashes and deaths increase exponentially late at night. If you decide to extend curfews, do not allow large blocks of time that are unaccounted for. Know where your teen is, how longhe will be there, whenhe will be leaving, who is there, and who is supervising the event. In 2008, half of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred between 3pm and midnight and 56% occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

2. Do not rent a hotel room  Is anyone really surprised when a tragedy happens after a parent rents a hotel room unsupervised? If a room is rented for teens, an appropriate adult(s) must be there to ensure safety and manage risk.

3. Be up when they come home  My mom told me that her anti-drug plan was coffee and lights. She was wide-awake, lights on, coffee in hand, when my siblings and I came through the door at night. A teens curfew should never exceed the parents ability to stay up. My dads favorite expression was nothing ever good happens after midnight. The older I get, the more true that statement feels to me.

4. Clearly communicate your expectations  Although you may feel youve talked many times to your child about your expectations for healthy choices and the consequences of breaking the rules, the prom and graduation season is an important time to repeat this message. Talk to your child about the dangers of drinking and driving and getting in the car with a drunk driver. Consider role-playing a few scenarios. Research shows that parents who discuss possible scenarios and seek their teens knowledge about what to do increases the chances of their teens safe decision-making.

5. Keep the party local  Dont be tempted to allow your children to celebrate at a far away location, such as a beach or cabin. Allowing your teen to take off to a remote spot with no supervision creates unnecessary risk.

6. Talk with your teen.
Ask: How are you feeling about the prom? What are you most excited about? What are you most nervous about?
Find out who is your teen is going to prom with. Do you know his/her date and/or group of friends? Does your teen knowthese kidswell? Do you?
If you dont know the parents of your teens date and prom group, be sure to get to know them before the big event.
Help your teen enjoy their prom and graduation without drinking or using drugs. Lay down rules that will help them create everlasting memories. The prom is a rite of passage that your teen should enjoy and remember for a lifetime. Help them make it a safe one.

Click here, for the full text.

6 Strategies to Increase School Connectedness from CDC

Strategies to Increase School Connectedness 

1. Create decision-making processes that facilitate student, family, and community 
engagement; academic achievement; and staff empowerment.
 2. Provide education and opportunities to enable families to be actively involved 
in their children’s academic and school life.
 3. Provide students with the academic, emotional, and social skills necessary 
to be actively engaged in school.
 4. Use effective classroom management and teaching methods to foster 
a positive learning environment.
 5. Provide professional development and support for teachers and other school 
staff to enable them to meet the diverse cognitive, emotional, and social needs 
of children and adolescents.
 6. Create trusting and caring relationships that promote open communication 
among administrators, teachers, staff, students, families, and communities.

For detailed steps toward these strategies and more information, click here.

Franklin County Youth Survey Reveals Positive Results for Youth Communities that Care Coalition recently found that drugs and alcohol use  among teens in Franklin County is down dramatically. 

We recognize that young people make choices in an environment shaped by their families, peers, schools and communities.

For more information visit click here, for the video of Franklin County youth responding to the new data.

New Underage Drinking Prevention Campaign Launches: "Talk. They Hear You."

Join SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., and other key leaders as they unveil the "Talk. They Hear You." underage drinking prevention campaign at the National Press Club.

SAMHSA's latest report on underage drinking shows that more than one-quarter of American youth engage in underage drinking. Although the extent of underage drinking has declined in recent years, particularly among teens age 17 and younger, the rates of underage drinking are still unacceptably high.

"Talk. They Hear You." equips parents and caregivers with the tools and information they need to start talking with children as young as 9 years old about the dangers of alcohol. The campaign's TV, radio, and print public service announcements (PSAs) in English and Spanish feature parents "seizing the moment" to talk with their children about alcohol while preparing dinner or doing chores together. By modeling behaviors in these PSAs, parents can discover the many "natural" opportunities for initiating the conversation about alcohol with their children.

Watch the trailer on an interactive video that allows to explore different option on how to talk to your child about drugs and alcohol. Click here

SAMHSA Addressing Substance Use Disorders in Men

The physical, psychological, social, and spiritual effects of substance use and abuse on men can be quite different from the effects on women. Those differences have implications for treatment in behavioral health settings.

TIP 56: Addressing the Specific Behavioral Health Needs of Men presents the specific treatment needs of adult men with substance use disorders. TIP 56 reviews gender-specific research and best practices, such as common patterns of initiation of substance use among men and specific treatment issues and strategies.

Guide to Helping Young Children and Families Cope with Trauma

When young children are exposed to a traumatic event, 
they depend on adults, especially their parents, to protect 
them and to make sense of the world for them. However, 
loss of trust in adults and new fears are common after 
traumatic events. Parents need to be able to listen to their 
children and hear their concerns. They also need to help 
them feel safe. If parents are traumatized, it is important for 
them to find support for themselves and to reach out to 
others for support for their children. 

Click here, for a guide on coping with trauma from SAMHSA.

Encouraging Developmental Relationships with Kids from Parent Further

This month, our conversation centers on the importance of developmental relationships. Healthy developmental relationships happen when youth and adults actively listen to each other; treat each other with respect, honesty, kindness, and empathy; have a shared understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the relationship; respectfully challenge and hold each other accountable; and enjoy their time together. Try these tips for encouraging caring relationships in your child's life.

At Home:

·         Be emotionally close: No two parents show love in quite the same way. Some shower their kids with lots of hugs, high fives, and kind notes; others are more stoic or reserved. Tap into your own way of showing your kids you care.

·         Communicate openly and directly: When you speak to your kids, are your messages grounded in love, respect, and clarity? Do you ever say one thing and mean another?

·         Set clear rules: The key to reducing everyone's stress and frustration about rules and expectations is to be clear, consistent, reasonable, and evolutionary.  "Evolutionary" means being responsive to your child's changing developmental needs and what they've demonstrated about their choices.

·         Give kids chances to help out and serve others: Show your kids that they are valued at home by giving them increasing levels of responsibility. Then take it a step further by helping them get engaged in service in the community, whether in the neighborhood, school, or somewhere else.

In the Community:

·         Do teachers, coaches, and youth leaders like, respect, and treat children fairly? Thank the adults who spend time with your kids. Notice those who make special efforts to be there for your children. These may include teachers, youth leaders, extended family members, neighbors, music instructors, tutors, bus drivers, and many other people in your children's lives.

Have you asked adults you respect to watch out for, mentor, or spend time with your child? Encourage the adults you know and trust to spend more time with your children. Offer specific invitations for connections based on mutual interests.