Stay Connected: Helping Your Teen Navigate Tough Choices

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1 Stay Connected: Helping Your Teen Navigate Tough Choices My teen is asking if I ever tried drugs I don t want to lie to him, but I m embarrassed. Is it ok to let my senior drink at home if I m there to monitor? How can I stop my kid from experimenting? I m scared because we have family history of addiction. Freedom Institute s Independent School Program provides quality, comprehensive skill building workshops in schools to help students avoid drug and alcohol abuse, as well as other high-risk behaviors. Through student, parent, and faculty programming, Freedom Institute works with school communities to ensure students are socially and emotionally prepared to make educated decisions. Freedom Institute s Stay Connected: Helping Your Teen Navigate Tough Choices provides parents and caregivers with information and tools to keep your teen safe from alcohol and drug use. Freedom Institute combines first-hand conversations in the classrooms with best practices from the field of Prevention Science in order to support parents in understanding risk factors while a promoting social and emotional health for their teens. A key challenge that many parents bring up to us is how to effectively talk about substance use with teens. In particular, how do parents and caregivers express concern for their teens safety while keeping the doors of communication open? This workshop will discuss setting limits while staying connected to your teen throughout their development. As parents often struggle with finding the right words when speaking about drugs and alcohol, we will also share some talking points and common scenarios. For more information about Freedom Institute s services, please contact: Rachel Henes Director, Independent School Program

2 Stay Connected: Understanding and Preventing Teen Drug and Alcohol Use Rachel Henes Director, School Program October 26, 2015

3 Goals 1. To better understand teen substance use and abuse 2. To provide strategies for parents on how to prevent substance use (and other high-risk behaviors) 3. To discuss concerns and questions

4 Understanding Teen Drug and Alcohol Use Goal 1: To better understand teen substance use and abuse

5 Addiction is an adolescent onset illness 9 out of 10 people with addiction involving nicotine, alcohol or other drugs began using these substances before they were 18 Every year that substance use is delayed during brain development, the risk of addiction decreases Alcohol and other drugs affect the adolescent brain differently than the adult brain: Prefrontal cortex does not fully mature until age 25 Adolescent brain can become addicted more easily Damage to adolescent brain can be more severe Teens tend to underestimate risk and minimize warning signs

6 National Trends and Stats 2013 Columbia University Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse Survey Three-quarters of high school students have used addictive substances, including cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana or cocaine Alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are the primary concerns of your kids. 1/3 of students knew a peer who abused prescription or over-thecounter drugs to get high The majority of adolescents in treatment cite a dependence on marijuana as their primary diagnosis.

7 Trends and Stats 2013 Columbia University Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse Survey Stress Students who reported experiencing high stress cited academic pressure as their main source. Teens who experience high stress are more likely to use substances. Media Almost half of the teens who use social networking sites have seen pictures of kids drunk, passed out, or using drugs on these sites. These kids were four times more likely to have smoked pot, three times more likely to have used alcohol and three times more likely to smoke cigarettes

8 Why Kids Use Substances 2013 Columbia University Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse Survey To have fun (41%) To fit in (29%) To relieve stress (22%) Because they feel depressed, sad or lonely (22%)

9 HOWEVER We don t know enough about the specific risks to NYC independent school teens! What we do know is that similar populations in suburban settings have higher rates of substance use than the national average, as well as higher rates of depression and anxiety. Why do these kids have such high rates of these issues? Pressure for high-octane achievement "We work hard and we play hard!" Impossibly high expectations Focus on external success

10 Preventing Teen Drug and Alcohol Use Goal 2: To provide strategies for parents on how to prevent substance use (and other high-risk behaviors)

11 Effective Drug & Alcohol Prevention The latest research challenges many traditional approaches to youth substance abuse prevention: Emphasizing drug facts and dangers of drug use Motivational/Cautionary speakers What the evidence shows is effective: Building protective values, like coping skills and healthy decision making Targeted programming in schools Engaged parenting

12 Prevention = Engagement Teens of parents who regularly spend time with them and communicate with them are far less likely to use drugs or alcohol. Teens who have warm, supportive relationships with their parents are less likely to use drugs and alcohol. Parents who are hands on with their teens are more likely to notice warning signs of drug and alcohol use.

13 TALK Prevention = Communication Find out what is on your child s mind so you can help them navigate challenges in healthy ways. Show interest in their daily ups and downs. Be proactive - talk early and often about substance use and other high-risk behavior. Use teachable moments and carve out designated time. Don t focus on scary stories or cautionary tales; instead get in touch with their anxieties (making new friends, pressure to drink or hook up, etc) and tell them why you want them to make healthy decisions.

14 LISTEN Prevention = Communication Ask questions about your child s life. Show curiosity. Make time to hear your child and let him/her speak openly. Your child may be relieved to be able to talk about this subject. Emphasize conversations are two-ways and you are available to listen to his/her concerns or questions. Find out about the tough social scenarios your child is facing (or anticipates facing) and role play how they could deal with it. Talk about what healthy relationships and healthy friendships look like.

15 Prevention = Setting Boundaries & Expectations DELAY USE Studies have shown: A connection between early sips of alcohol and high school drinking/binge drinking. Permissiveness around alcohol use associated with higher binge drinking rates in college and increased likelihood of addiction in adulthood. Why? Messages about drinking perceived permissivemess

16 Prevention = Setting Boundaries & Expectations Kids who are not regularly monitored by their parents are four times more likely to use alcohol or drugs. Clearly communicate your expectations regarding use. Set reasonable expectations and rules. State your expectations early and often. If you are in a two parent home, be sure to be on the same page as your parenting partner. Think about your role modeling. Send clear, consistent messages.

17 Develop a Safety Plan for Emergencies Children are often afraid to call an adult when they are in trouble, for fear they will get into more trouble. Let your child know you will be there even when things get scary. Give your child a way out of a situation s/he doesn t want to be in. Discuss an amnesty policy. Make yourself available to prevent a situation from getting worse. Encourage your child to learn CPR.

18 Talking Points You ll have a lot of decisions to make about what you want to do in high school and I want you to know that you can talk to me about anything. Even if you feel like you handled something poorly or are in tough situation I want you to know I m here to help you and support you Just because I talk about this subject doesn't mean that I expect you to experiment...or that I think you're using drugs or alcohol. It's just the opposite. I want you to have the best information to make healthy choices for now and your future. Please don t think that because we let you have champagne at your aunt's wedding, that means we condone you drinking at parties or with your friends. They are very different situations. When you're not at home, we want to make sure you are making healthy decisions.

19 Talking Points "Whether I smoked pot or not really won't help you. My choices have little to do with whatever you are facing. I wonder how I could help support you in making healthy choices NOW. Please don't think that because I have a drink once in awhile and seem totally fine, that your body can handle it too. You drinking is a totally different situation because you are a teenager so your body and brain are still growing. It is really important that you take care of yourself and your body"

20 Remember The most important things you can do to help prevent use are: Pay attention to what is going on with your teen Set and enforce boundaries Be and stay engaged Communicate!

21 Questions?

22 Thank you Your attention this morning is a gift to your child. Use your tools, and remember that you are the most important influence in her life. For more information, please visit our website

23 RESOURCES SAMHSA Underage Drinking Prevention CASAColumbia Partnership For Drug-Free Kids

24

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