By: Bethany Winkel
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Spending Time as a Family Can Prevent Substance Abuse
Parents who interact with their children in a positive way can help keep their adolescent from using drugs and alcohol. Several New Jersey communities are finding ways to encourage parents to spend time every day with their children, and to use their influence to help their teens stay away from substance abuse.
According to a New Jersey study, kids who communicate regularly with their parents about their daily activities are 67 percent less likely to be involved in substance abuse than children who have little or no communication (2000 PDFNJ Middle School Study on Substance Use). Eating dinner together is a great way to interact as a family, but there are many other ways that are also effective. Parents should look for ways to spend time together as a family that focus on building healthy relationships. This might include going to special events through school or the recreation department, doing some volunteer work, or just taking an evening walk around the neighborhood.
15-Minute Child Break
The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has created a “15-Minute Child Break” program that is being used throughout the state. The program consists of an interactive, one-hour presentation for parents and other adults who want to learn about the dangers of substance abuse. Topics in the presentation include:
- Talking to Your Kids about Drugs and Alcohol
- Influence of Media and Pop Culture
- Effects of Specific Drugs
- Keeping Your Kids Drug-Free
- Strengthening Parenting Skills
- Utilizing Teachable Moments
Through this program, parents are “empowered and supported with the assurance that, even in today’s society, they are still the strongest influence in their children’s lives.” If you are a parent, don’t be afraid to talk to your child about the dangers of drugs or alcohol. Take every opportunity you can to be that positive influence on your child’s life.
The Partnership’s 15-Minute Child Break is being presented at several libraries, schools, and community centers throughout New Jersey. Visit the website for more information.