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June 17, 2009
Sunny - and Safe - Summer Days
As teens revel in the long lazy days of summer, parents have a different agenda in mind - how their teens will use all that free time. Research shows that young people with unsupervised time are three times more likely to use marijuana or other drugs. And unsupervised teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as underage drinking, sexual activity, and cigarette smoking than other teens.
Although the statistics are troubling, you can make a difference by setting clear rules about drug use and other risky behaviors. Parents are the first line of defense when it comes to their teen's safety. Be sure to remain in-the-know with your teens by monitoring their activities (using technology and other trusted sources around you, like neighbors, friends, and family) to help keep your teens safe when you cannot be with them.
Whether it's game night, a trip to the park, or time spent together cooking dinner, establishing a regular weekly routine with your teen is essential - and enjoyable! The more involved parents are in their teens' lives, the more valued teens feel, and the more likely they are to involve parents in their world.
Read up on more ways to stay connected with your teen. And use these summer calendars to make family time a regular part of your summer routine. _____________________________  YMCA of the USA, After School for Americas Teens Survey, 2001
Follow these steps to help monitor your teens when they are away from home:
1. Have your kids check in. Emphasize the importance of calling or texting throughout the day to know their whereabouts.
2. Address peer pressure. Have regular conversations on how to overcome peer pressure and reinforce what's acceptable and what's not.
3. Be firm. Enforce rules and consequences pertaining to curfew and drug and alcohol abuse. Read expert advice on setting limitswith your teens.
Teens more likely to start using drugs in summer
Statistics show that youthful experimentation with drugs, tobacco, and alcohol is most likely to occur during unsupervised times and during summer vacation.