CASAColumbia® Family Day 2014 Celebrations

October 16th, 2014

We hope you had a great Family Day this year! We’d like to thank all of our Sponsors, Partners, and Participants who helped us spread the word about the importance of parental engagement.

We’re delighted that Presenting Sponsor The Coca-Cola Company partnered with Chick-fil-A restaurants to host Family Day events at three restaurants within the Los Angeles area and that 26 State First Spouses served as Honorary Chairs of Family Day this year. First Lady of Maine Ann LePage, First Lady of Maryland Katie O’Malley, First Lady of Indiana Karen Pence and First Lady of Wisconsin Tonette Walker hosted Family Day events on September 22nd. To see photos of the First Lady of Wisconsin Tonette Walker’s visit to Journey House, click here. To read First Lady of Texas Anita Perry’s blog post about Family Day, click here. To view First Lady of West Virginia Joanne Jaeger Tomblin Public Service Announcement about Family Day, click here.

Many local community groups celebrated CASAColumbia Family Day including:

  • Burke County Health Department in Morganton, NC who hosted their 7th annual Family Day event at Catawba Meadows Park. Around 4,000 guests celebrated with activity booths, crafts, and a picnic dinner.
  • Putnam P.R.I.D.E. in Putnam, CT partnered with their local family resource center and recreation department to co-sponsor a Family Day event at their Rotary Park. Close to 1,000 attendees enjoyed activities for families and a free concert.
  • EMPOWER Porter County in Valparaiso, IN held Family Day events at three YMCAs in Porter County with around 800 attendees. The events included potluck dinners and various activities for kids and their families.
  • Family and Friends United in Orlando, FL celebrated once again at Orlo Vista Park with crafts for kids and awards for elected community officials. 50 volunteers, about 20 vendors, and over 700 parents and children attended.
  • Henderson Family Court in Henderson, KY hosted a Family Day event at Freedom Park with face painting, bouncy houses, story time, and food demonstrations. Their local farmer’s market was present, and over 300 people in the community attended.

How did your family celebrate CASAColumbia Family Day this year? Did you attend any of the events listed above? Let us know in the comments below!

Don’t forget that every day can be Family Day in your home! Try some of the items in our Activity Kit with your kids tonight! You can also take our Star Pledge, participate in our daily conversations on Twitter and Facebook and challenge your family with our 30 Day Family Fun Challenge!

To see photos from some of the events listed above as well as photos from other Family Day celebrations click here. Send your Family Day photos to familyday@casacolumbia.org.

We look forward to celebrating Family Day with you next year on Monday, September 28th, 2015. Please mark your calendars!

Comments:

  1. Ramon Montoya writes:

    Padres Adelante Family Services Inc. in Denver conducted a fun and successful Family Day Dinner this past September 22nd. Thanks to CASA and Denver RAP for helping sponsor the program.

  2. casafamilyday writes:

    Thanks, Ramon, for letting us know about Padres Adelante Family Services’ event in Denver! Please send us photos at familyday@casacolumbia.org.

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CASAColumbia® Family Day – Be Involved. Stay Involved.® is Almost Here!

September 18th, 2014

CASAColumbia Family Day is Monday, September 22nd. Families, communities, and organizations all over the country are getting ready to celebrate with a variety of fun-filled activities and events. We hope you’ll join the celebration! We’re delighted to share some news with you about Family Day this year:

 

  • The Coca-Cola Company is back as CASAColumbia Family Day’s Presenting Sponsor and is partnering with Chick-fil-A restaurants to host Family Day events at three restaurants within the Los Angeles area.
  • Family Day Partners include: The Harlem Globetrotters, The Y, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), National Center for Fathering, National Military Family Association, and Parents Without Partners
  • 26 State First Spouses are serving as Honorary Chairs of Family Day. First Lady of Maine Ann LePage will be hosting a story time at the Maine State Library for 2nd and 3rd graders and their parents from local schools. First Lady of Maryland Katie O’Malley will be hosting a dinner for wounded warriors and their families. First Lady of Wisconsin Tonette Walker will be visiting kids at Journey House and making dinner placemats with them. Click here for the full list of Honorary Chairs.
  • 7 Major League Baseball teams are helping to celebrate Family Day including the: Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and San Francisco Giants.
  • The Governors’ residences in Nevada and New Jersey will be lit in red and blue on September 22nd in honor of Family Day.
  • The new and updated edition of How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents hit the shelves, Kindle and NOOK on Tuesday, September 9th! In this revised and updated edition, Joseph A. Califano, Jr. (Chairman Emeritus and founder of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse and former US Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare) tackles some of the newest obstacles standing between our kids and a drug-free life—from social media sites and cell phone apps to the explosion in prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse and the increased dangers and addictive power of marijuana. He reveals what teens can’t or won’t tell their parents about their thoughts on drugs and alcohol, and combines the latest research with his discussions with thousands of parents and teens about the challenges that widespread access to drugs and alcohol present, and how parents can instill in their teens the will and skills to choose not to use. To purchase the book, please click here.

All of the activity surrounding CASAColumbia Family Day helps to remind parents that it is vital to keep the lines of communication open, especially during adolescence when kids are at risk of engaging in risky behavior including smoking, drinking or using other drugs. Make every day Family Day in your home!

Is anything going on in your community for CASAColumbia Family Day this year? Let us know! You can also check out our Family Day Activity Kit, Conversation Starters and our free Family Day posters. These tips and tools can be used at home or at a Family Day event!

Share your Family Day plans and photos with us on Facebook and Twitter or e-mail us at FamilyDay@casacolumbia.org.

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Just in Time for Back to School: New and Updated User-friendly Parent Guide

September 10th, 2014

Parents often ask me, “What’s the most important thing about raising drug-free kids?”

My answer to them is always the same: “YOU!”

Whether your child smokes, drinks, or uses drugs is more likely to be determined in your living room or over your kitchen table, than in any classroom or courtroom. I know that your job gets more challenging each year.

That’s why I’m excited to share with you that the new and updated edition of How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents hit the shelves, Kindle and NOOK to help you do the most important job in the world. Whether your child is 9 or 19, your role as parent never ends. The conversations you have with your child, your engagement in their day-to-day lives, the will and skills you give them, and the values you instill in them, will make the biggest difference in keeping them away from drugs and alcohol.

Did you know that teenagers who learn about the risks of drugs and alcohol from their parents are twice as likely never to try them? The new and updated edition of How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid gives parents the latest research as well as user-friendly tips and strategies for how to start this conversation with your children and how to continue having it throughout that dangerous decade of 10 to 21. With brand new and expanded chapters, this updated edition is geared to help you tackle some of the many daunting obstacles facing parents and teens today, including: new drugs such as more powerful and available pot, synthetic marijuana (Spice), Molly, and e-cigarettes; the over-the-counter and prescription drug epidemic; the explosion of social media that often glorifies teen drinking and drugging; the rampant use of alcohol and drugs across college campuses; and the new scientific knowledge about the damaging effects of drugs and alcohol on the teen brain.

Parenting is an art, not a science. Being engaged in your children’s lives doesn’t require being a supermom or superdad. It simply means using your strengths and taking advantage of opportunities to be a good parent. This new and updated edition will give you the tools to create a relationship that will enable you to raise your children to be healthy and substance free, poised to develop their talents to the fullest. The benefits of such a relationship reach well beyond substance abuse prevention. But without this foundation, your lessons to say no to drugs and alcohol will be like trees falling in an empty forest: your children will not hear them, much less be influenced by them.

So this fall, as you’re heading into back-to-school mode and buying all of the necessary school supplies for the year ahead, be sure to pick up some parenting supplies of your own. Purchase the new and revised edition of my book, How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents, now and empower your child to choose not to use.

 

Joseph A. Califano, Jr.
Founder and Chair Emeritus of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA)
Former US Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare

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10 Ways to Celebrate Family Day

August 18th, 2014

Family Day is almost here! What are your plans for Family Day this year? If you still need some ideas, we’re here to help! Below are 10 ways you can celebrate CASAColumbia® Family Day in your home or in your community:

  • Celebrate Family Day by pre-ordering the completely revised and updated edition of How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents! This book includes several brand new chapters covering issues of urgent concern to today’s parents and kids — such as legalized and synthetic marijuana, social media websites, cell phone apps, the prescription drug epidemic and abuse of ADHD medications, the partying culture of college life, and the latest facts on the critical connection between teen brain development and drinking and drug use.
  • Connect with us! Find us on Facebook and Twitter and share your thoughts, ideas, and parenting experiences. Keep reading our Family Day blog to learn more about the importance of parental engagement.
  • Take our STAR Pledge with parents across the country. This is your pledge to help keep your kids substance free!
  • Are you looking for family activities? Use some of the tips, tools, and games in our Family Activity Kit.
  • Take our 30 Day Monthly Family Fun Challenge! You can win a free Sprinkles gift card this month just by posting a photo on our Facebook wall of your family doing your favorite activity together from this summer!
  • Organize an event in your community! Host a Family Day event such as a potluck dinner, barbeque or other family friendly activity on or leading up to Family Day. For more ideas, click here.
  • Spend time with your kids! Every day activities like driving your kids to soccer practice, tucking little ones into bed or having frequent family dinners, have a lasting effect on your children. Each of these moments offers an opportunity to communicate with your kids and to really listen to what’s on their mind.

Remember to mark your calendar for Monday, September 22nd! We’d love to hear how you’ll be celebrating Family Day this September and all throughout the year.  Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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How can You Tell if Your Child is Showing Signs of Substance Use?

July 16th, 2014

Would you be able to tell if your child started experimenting with nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs? It may not always be obvious, especially if they are trying to hide it from you, rather than tell you and seek advice or help. The early signs of substance use are typically subtle. It’s important to detect the risk factors that precede use as early as possible. Risk factors include emotional, developmental, and behavioral problems, increased stress, having a family member who uses, and lacking self-esteem, just to name a few. Timely and consistent parental engagement is crucial. A lack of it will increase your child’s likelihood of drinking and using drugs.

Teens often experience the following behavioral changes: mood swings, erratic sleeping patterns, increased demand for privacy, and changes in hobbies, interests, and friends. How can you tell if this is normal behavior or if they are showing signs of use? A parent’s best early detection method is an ongoing dialogue with their teen about what’s going on in their life and what their concerns and thoughts are. When changes are sudden and drastic or when many changes begin to occur simultaneously you should be ready to investigate and find out what the root of the problem is.

Changes in behavior send an “alarm” that your teen could possibly be using nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs. These are called “siren signals”. The first siren signal you should look out for is your teen dropping old friends and getting new ones. By observing the changes and talking to your teen about why they have developed new friendships you can help distinguish between a typical teen shift in friends and a cause for concern. Teens that smoke, drink, or use other drugs tend to hang out together, and they abandon their friends that don’t. Make it a priority to get to know your teen’s friends, why he/she hangs out with them, and what they have in common. If you suspect they are using substances, talk with your teen and remind them about how you feel about them engaging in this type of behavior. If your teen confesses that their new friends are using drugs, tell them to consider forming friendships with those that don’t.

Borrowing or stealing money is another siren signal. Teens have limited resources. If a teen is using drugs, their part-time job or their weekly allowance will not provide them with enough money to satisfy their cravings. Be aware of your teen’s spending patterns. Do they run out of allowance before the end of the week? Do they constantly ask you for more money? Keep track of cash in your wallet or around your home so you’ll know if any goes missing.

A third siren signal is dropping activities such as sports. Teens often lose interest in old activities or become bored. If your child stops doing activities they used to love, find out why. Your child’s substance use may be causing a culture clash if the friends who engaged in the old activities disapprove of your child’s behavior. Also, teens often skip out on productive activities to get drunk or high. Talk to other people in your child’s life if you suspect something could be wrong. Also, talk about your concerns with your teen and create more opportunities to spend time together.

Some additional siren signals include:

  • Increased secrecy
  • Missing or skipping school
  • Declining grades
  • Constant discipline problems
  • Sudden, frequent mood swings
  • Aggressiveness
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Chronic restlessness
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Use of stimulants to study

Early intervention is a significant prevention tool. Follow your intuition if you suspect a problem and ask your child specific questions about their activities, habits, and friends if you notice one of the siren signals. As a parent, you have the power to take action and protect your teen so they can lead a healthy, drug-free life.

How often do you check in with your teen about how they are feeling or what is going on in their life? Are there specific times of the day when you talk or spend time together? Let us know in the comments below!

Comments:

  1. Michelle Sawyer writes:

    This seems like a good article, I would love to have a copy of it and have available in our office for parents.
    I can’t really understand your terms of use?

  2. casafamilyday writes:

    Thank you for your comment, Michelle! You may print the blog from our website and distribute to the parents in your office. We appreciate your support of CASAColumbia® Family Day – Be Involved. Involved Stay Involved.®

  3. DeDe Springer writes:

    Great article! Do you have it translated into Spanish? If so, may I have a copy?
    Thanks.

  4. casafamilyday writes:

    Hi DeDe. We currently do not translate any of our monthly Family Day blogs into Spanish. If you are interested, you can download and print our Family Day Spanish brochure here: http://casafamilyday.org/familyday/tools-you-can-use/family-day-materials/.

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5 Healthy Meals You and Your Kids can Make Together

June 9th, 2014

We’re delighted to have our Family Day Mom Blogger Amy Roskelley share some experiences that help her connect with her kids on a daily basis. Below she provides 5 healthy meals that you can make with your little ones.

When my daughter Erica was about 7, she decided she wanted to learn how to cook! I had been having the conversation with her that when she grows up and she’s a mom, she’s going to need to know how to cook! So, she pulled out an old spiral bound notebook, put page numbers throughout the ENTIRE thing, and asked me to spell each and every ingredient for our salad. Then she started an index. I thought it was so cute, I wanted to rush out and buy her her very own CUTE recipe binder where she can collect her favorite recipes until she leaves home. I resisted however, and decided to let her do it her own way.

Photo Courtesy of Super Healthy Kids

Kids need to learn cooking skills, and when we get in the kitchen to teach them, we are also creating memories and bonds that they will never forget. Studies show, if kids learn to cook, they are more likely to eat healthier, and when they leave home they will prepare healthier meals for their own families. And the cycle of  health continues.. I was reading in the paper a few years ago, our generation (today’s moms and dads) do not know the basic steps of cooking. That we complain we have no time to be in the kitchen to make food for our families, yet we spend an average of 4 hours in front of the TV a day. So, let’s get back into the kitchen with our kids! I promise, they will not only learn vital skills, but you’ll be preparing them for life when they aren’t under your roof anymore!  

These 5 meals are the ones that my kids typically help with.

Meal #1: Scrambled Eggs

The very first meal my kids made from beginning to end was eggs! Cracking an egg can be tough for little hands, but it’s a skill that needs to be learned eventually! The first step is to practice the cracking into a bowl (and fishing out any shells that got dropped). The second step is prepping the pan to be cooked. Whether you are going to use cooking spray or butter, coat the pan and turn it on. Then, let the kids pour the eggs into the skillet. As the eggs begin to set, show them how to move the eggs around with a spatula to get them all cooked.

We add spinach at the end of cooking. So, just before you think they are about set, add a handful of baby spinach. Once the eggs are no longer runny or wet and the spinach has wilted, they can remove the eggs and eat them!

Photo Courtesy of Super Healthy Kids

Meal #2: Sandwiches

The second meal my kids learned to make with me is their own sandwiches for lunch! Parents- kids can do this at a very young age! Don’t underestimate their skills. As young as 3 years old they can get their bread. They can get the spread, and spread some peanut butter on one side, and fruit on the other! Do it with them a few times, and then you’ll just have to supervise the rest.

Photo Courtesy of Super Healthy Kids

Meal #3: Homemade Pizza

From rolling out the dough to sprinkling a variety of toppings on, homemade pizza is so fun for kids to be involved with. Most of the time it’s because they can control what toppings are on the pizza! I know my kids have their favorites, and if I’m always the one making the pizza, they may not get their favorite.

Photo Courtesy of Super Healthy Kids

Meal #4: Pasta

Boiling water and adding some noodles takes a few times for kids to get right, but is probably the fastest thing they’ll learn to do in the kitchen. Teaching kids the proper amount of water for the noodles, and the proper cooking time is the most important thing. After they’ve mastered boiling the noodles, then you can expand to the myriad of add-ins you can make with veggies and sauces.

Photo Courtesy of Super Healthy Kids

Meal #5 Green Salads

Funny I would add this one, as most people don’t consider it a meal, but it can be! Using a green salad as your base, you can top it with beans, meat, cheeses, and of course and assortment of veggies. One of our favorite combinations is to put a roast in our slow cooker all day. Then, when it’s dinner time, the kids help prepare the rest of the salad. They shred the lettuce, rinse the beans, shred the cheese, chop the tomatoes, and mix the dressing.  (Full Recipe here)

Photo Courtesy of Super Healthy Kids

So, that’s our list! Don’t be scared to get your kids in the kitchen with you today! You can begin to create memories while teaching important skills with your kids.

Bio: Amy Roskelley blogs at Super Healthy Kids in order to provide tools and resources to help families live better and be healthier. Super Healthy Kids has recipes, meal plans, tips, ideas, and more!

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How can You set a Good Example for Your Children?

May 12th, 2014

One of the most important parts of parental engagement is your own conduct. You may not realize this, but your kids are actually more affected by what they see you do rather than what they hear you say. It’s important to practice what you preach, and be a model of healthy behavior for your kids. Remember, parents who smoke, drink, or use other drugs are likelier to have kids who do the same.

If your children witness you or your spouse drinking every night, it sends the message that it’s ok to drink every night, even when you make it clear through what you say that both of you don’t approve of them drinking. When your children go out into the world, it’s possible that they will develop the same habits. Sometimes, they may not even be aware.

No one is perfect, but you can still be a positive role model for your children. There’s a clear difference between rushing home to have a few drinks every night and occasionally enjoying some wine with dinner. Did you know it’s never too late to make changes to your lifestyle? For example, if you smoke regularly, but you make it a priority to quit when your children are very young, the less likely your kids are to try smoking. Your kids will appreciate it when you’re open and honest with them. Allowing them to witness your struggles enables them to become your biggest fans and supporters. Your ability to kick the habit will empower your kids to resist peer pressure to smoke.

Actions are more persuasive than words. This is something you should always keep in mind when setting a good example for your children. Sending the right messages about nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs will help your kids make healthy and responsible choices when you’re not around.

How do you set a good example for your children? Let us know in the comments below!

Comments:

  1. Sinea Pies writes:

    Having had a drinking problem as a teen, I can tell you that example is very very very important. Did I say VERY important? I emulated the people I saw around me –cocktail hour was big in our home. Also, television in those days showed happy lovely people drinking all the time. Bewitched? Darren and Samantha celebrated and de-stressed with a cocktail. The bad example was everywhere.

    When I stopped drinking, my healthy life began. I LOVE not drinking (smoking went too) I love waking up in the morning feeling great with no regrets. Parents, your lifestyle speaks much louder than your words. Give up vices that could kill your kids or ruin their lives.

    Blessings,
    Sinea

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Should I Be Concerned about Drugs in my Child’s School?

April 14th, 2014

Did you know that 8 out of 10 high school students and 4 out of 10 middle school students said that they’ve seen schoolmates possessing, using, or dealing drugs, or high or drunk at school? Kids spend about half of their waking hours in school surrounded by peers and teachers who influence the choices they make every day. Kids are more likely to use substances if their school environment is filled with students who view smoking, drinking, and using other drugs as “cool’ and as a rite of passage.

Teens may use substances to increase their popularity, or because of poor academic performance. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s only the “difficult” kids who possess and use substances. Teens oftentimes become victims of drug use because they don’t foresee the consequences of their actions or they have teachers and school administrators around them that treat the issue lightly or don’t think it is a big deal.

How can you help your child navigate the challenges of a drug-infected school?  First and foremost you can make it a priority to communicate with them on a daily basis. Listen closely to what they have to say, and let them know you’re available to talk when they are having an issue or facing a difficult situation. Let your kids know that you’re aware of the drug problems affecting schools, and ask them if they have witnessed a friend or classmate selling or using nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs. Brainstorm with your child and come up with effective responses they can use if they are offered drugs.

Additional tips that will help you ensure a drug-free school for your child:

  • Talk to other parents about coming together to bring the issue of student drug use to the attention of the school’s leadership.
  • Insist that your child’s school provide substance use prevention curriculum along with substance-free rules and policies. Also, make sure that the school will provide help to the students and families that need it.
  • Aim for a school that encourages parental engagement and helps to coordinate support service for all students and their families.

Concerned your child might be experimenting with nicotine, alcohol, marijuana or other drugs because of their school environment? Here are some signs and symptoms you should look out for: http://casafamilyday.org/familyday/tools-you-can-use/signs-symptoms-and-prevention/.

What is the policy in your child’s school regarding drug use? Are you satisfied with it?

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How Can I Make my Home a Safe Haven for my Teen?

March 17th, 2014

A healthy home environment is crucial for children of any age, but it can be even more important for teens who are experiencing high levels of stress and increased pressure to drink, smoke, or use other drugs. Teens look to their parents to set a good example. As their protectors and main support system they count on you to provide them with a safe haven, a place where they can freely talk about their concerns when it comes to substance use.

Here are some tips that can help you create a positive and substance free home life for your teen:

  • Set a good example for your child through your own behavior and attitudes. You are the number one influence on your child.
  • Create a family contract. A contract lets a teen know what is expected of them. It also outlines any consequences they might face if they break the rules.
  • Discuss your family’s history of addiction with your child. Genetic and environmental factors strongly affect the transmission of addiction from one generation to the next. Let your child know if they are at risk, and help them create a lifestyle that will keep them substance free.
  • Protect your child from environmental tobacco smoke. If you are a smoker who cannot quit, make sure you smoke outdoors away from your child. Also, avoid smoking in the car when driving with your child. Effects of secondhand smoke include lung cancer and coronary heart disease. Get help immediately from a doctor or local health center if you’re struggling to quit smoking, drinking, or taking other drugs.
  • Keep your liquor cabinet locked and any prescription drugs in a secure place so your teen is not tempted to experiment or share anything harmful with their friends. This also prevents any teen guests from gaining access to these substances.
  • If your teen is witnessing a sibling dealing with substance use problems, make sure you set aside time to give extra care and support to the sober child.
  • Encourage relatives to also set a good example when they are in your child’s presence.

How do you make your home a substance free place for your teen? Share with us in the comments below!

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Girls and Boys: Why their Reasons for Using Substances are Very Different

February 13th, 2014

Tweens and teens all over the United States frequently feel pressure to use nicotine, alcohol or other drugs. Keeping this in mind, why would a parent’s conversation with their son about substance use be different from the one they have with their daughter? The people and situations that present opportunities to experiment with substances vary for both boys and girls. The consequences are also very different.

How are girls affected?

Due to biological make up, girls become addicted faster and suffer more severely than boys when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Countless young girls suffer from low self-esteem, depression, lack of confidence, and anxiety. Many times they don’t know how to effectively deal with these feelings. Drugs and alcohol help them self-medicate and avoid facing their problems, while also making them more vulnerable.

How are boys affected?

Boys typically enjoy sensation seeking and they like to “show off” and “be cool”. Substance use may cause boys to engage in risky behaviors, like drag racing, or they may become prone to acting violently. This can lead to serious injuries being inflicted onto them or those around them.

How can you steer boys and girls away from substance use?

Sports, outdoor activities, learning how to play an instrument, getting involved in a religious or political cause, or joining a club/team at school are all ways boys can fulfill the need for adventure and excitement and girls can build confidence and feel accepted. These activities make it possible for young people to develop skills that will help them in the future as well.

Parents, it is also important to remember that YOU make a difference! Your children rely on you for encouragement and positive reinforcement. Research shows that children with hands-on parents are far less likely to smoke, drink or use other drugs.

Do you need some help talking to your kids about substance use? Check out some tips by clicking here.

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