Every summer, thousands of teenagers across America try drugs and alcohol for the first time. Summer adventures into substance experimentation can be the hallmark of a youthful summer, and the beginning of addiction for many teens. Without the daily routine of school, homework, and extracurricular activities, teens are left with too much time on their hands for which parents cannot be responsible. Though as parents we cannot control every hour of our kids’ lives, we can try to provide as much structure as possible by being involved in their lives. There is a difference between being involved and trying to be in control! Here are some of our favorite tips at Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center for keeping your teens busy and out of harm’s way this summer.
- Plan family time that’s non-negotiable: Every day or a few times a week, plan family time that is non-negotiable for your teen. Of course, there is always a chance your teen just won’t show up. When the whole family is involved, however, your teen might be more inspired to show up. Rather than schedule the regular family dinner, make it something worthwhile to the teen like family outings, cooking together, movie nights, or doing a fun activity.
- Enroll kids in summer activities: Summer camps need counselors and counselors in training when adolescents and teens get too old to be campers. There is a summer camp for just about every kind of activity a kid would want to spend all summer doing. Camps can be rambunctious and full of mischief, but there is healthy structure and responsibility in addition to making lifetime memories.
- Encourage them to get jobs: States have different laws about the youngest ages to start working. If your adolescent or teen is old enough to start working, encourage them to get a job. Making their own money and filling their time with employment is better than being bored. They’ll develop a work ethic, gain life skills, and have a schedule.
- If they can’t get a job, encourage an entrepreneurial spirit: If they can’t find a job, encourage them to create a job instead. Take the “lemonade” stand approach and ask them to come up with ideas for what they want to contribute to their community. They might be able to make some money in the process.
- Rack up volunteering hours: Contributing to the community can be through selfless acts which don’t have to do with making money. Kids can benefit from volunteer work in many ways, including collecting community service hours for school. Volunteering helps teens get out of themselves and give to others, places them with mentors and like-minded peers, and helps them learn more about the world.
If you believe your adolescent boy might be struggling with substance abuse this summer, one of the best ways to help them is to send them to treatment. Our unique treatment programs help adolescent boys build a positive foundation in recovery. For information on our residential programs, call us today: 662-598-4214.