Educating and Empowering Your Children Before Spring Break
Many of us are afraid to approach sensitive topics with our children like drugs, sex, and alcohol. However, if they don’t get positive messages from their parents, adolescents and teenagers are left to find their own answers which often come from television, the internet, and their peers. Without positive education on these topics, children, teenagers, and even young adults are left to navigate these waters on their own, and the conclusions they draw may or may not be healthy or safe.
Rather than letting your child draw their own unhealthy conclusions, take the time now to have some important conversations with them. It may feel awkward at first, but let them know you are a person they can always talk to when they have questions about confusing issues like these.
As spring break approaches, help you kids make wise decisions by sharing your experiences with them and making them aware of the dangers ahead of them. No matter their age, let them know you are a support system for them.
A few tips for helping the conversation along:
- No matter the age of the child, you cannot expect them to immediately open up to you about topics like this if they are not accustomed to discussing them with you already. Don’t get frustrated if the conversation does not go as you imagined.
- Start off by sharing some of your own experiences (age appropriately). Children, teens and young adults will build more trust with you and be more open to share their experiences if they know you are coming from a non-judgmental place, and are genuinely concerned about them.
- Don’t be afraid to let them know you don’t have all the answers. As a parent, it is tempting to want our children to believe we know everything. The truth is, everyone’s experiences are limited, and it is always better for you to help your children find some trusted resources that can answer their questions.
Some conversation topics you should approach before your kids leave your home:
- Alcohol: Help your kids identify some reasons that underage drinking occurs. Let them know that underage drinking is extremely dangerous and can be a huge impediment on their future. If you have a child who is of legal age (whether 18 in a foreign country or 21 here), you can still make them aware of the risks of binge drinking, and show them some statistics on drunk driving accidents, assaults, STD’s and unwanted pregnancies that occur as a result of the abuse of alcohol.
- Drugs: We hope the environment in your home has always been one to let your children know that drugs are never safe. As they are old enough to understand drug usage, educate them on the dangers of illegal substances, as well as the dangers of prescription medication and controlled substances. More people are dying today as a result of prescription drug abuse than from abuse of illegal drugs. Help them to identify environments where drugs might be a risk, and help them to develop a support network to come to should they ever be offered or tempted by drugs.
- Sex and STD’s: This conversation will vary, depending on your personal beliefs. Whether you recommend abstinence or safe sex, help educate your children, and give them the tools to succeed in a world that is constantly bombarded by sex. Even at a young age, your children will encounter “mature”, suggestive, and/or sexually explicit content in multiple media formats that are likely raising questions in their brains. As they age, they will hopefully have some sex-education in school, but most kids are receiving the majority of their sex education from their friends and media. While schools work hard to incorporate sex-ed into the classrooms, it is important for parents to step up and help fill in the education gaps so our teens and young adults aren’t left with questions.
Remember it helps to never judge your children for things they have been involved in or questions they may have. Helping them make good choices, stay healthy and safe, and letting them know you want a trusting relationship with them is more important than any decision already made. Give your kids the tools to succeed in a tough generation, and help them stay safe this spring break!
If your child has already suffered an injury from a spring break accident, we are here to help you. Call Wagner Reese at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a free personal injury accident consultation.