As parents, we worry about our children. It’s our job! We worry about their nutrition, about their friendships, about their grades and about their futures. As they go through transitions, whether from elementary to middle school, or high school to college we hope that they will make good decisions. How can we ensure that they will do the right thing when we are not present? The answer is to be present now!
In 2009, SAMHSA ‘s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report noted that families, peers, schools and communities all play an integral role in substance abuse prevention among youths. The survey indicated that youth who report that their parents are involved in their day-to-day activities are less likely than those who did not to use alcohol.
What does this mean? It means that YOU and YOUR QUALITY TIME are the keys to preventing your son or daughter from making the choice to try alcohol. Before your children celebrate prom and graduation this year, take time each day to spend with your son or daughter. I once read a study that said most parents spend an average of 19 minutes a day with their children. And those 19 minutes of conversation usually go something like this “Did you do your homework?”, “Clean your room”, “Stop hitting your sister”, “Do you ever listen to me?” Not exactly the quality time that makes an impact on our children’s choices. In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, oftentimes it is our children who get shortchanged when it comes to our precious time. The time you spend with them does not have to be lengthy, even finding a few moments throughout the day to have real conversations with your children can make a large impact.
As you lie awake at night mentally planning your next day, schedule in time to spend with your children, whether it’s going for a walk, playing a board game or even sitting down to dinner together. Remember that your time more than anything is the most precious gift you can give your child to ensure that they make safe and healthy choices.
Sunset Ridge Elementary School, Glendale, Arizona
2013 Counselor of the Year