Dear Parents (of Teens headed to Middle School and High School),
It is important to continuously communicate with your children. Let them know you are always available if they have important concerns or they just want to talk.
Today there is constant pressure on all of us to succeed and demands to keep busy. When we as parents feel overwhelming pressure, some of the stress falls on our children. Colleges and societal influences pressure our youth to be perfect, while media, peers, and other outside influences pressure our youth with drugs and alcohol, to gain wealth, to gain fame (or infamy), to accumulate material possessions, engage in pre-marital sexual relations, to smoke, and to look a certain way. To combat these negative influences, we need to surround our children with the Church, family, mentors, and substance free activities. One of the most valuable aspects of raising healthy children is the respect they see with and between their mother and father. Another important piece in youth development is the example we set by our own Christ-like lifestyle through participation in the life of the Church, stewardship, humanitarian efforts, respectable careers, time for family activities, nutrition, exercise and healthy living. In addition, we need to provide mentors to our children to help them recognize and develop their talents.
Raise a Generation of Leaders - Raising a child with confidence and leadership skills gives a child a lifetime of support:
- Keep or start open communication between parent and teen (We can do this by making a positive comment while on a car ride and then just listening; or while cutting our child’s hair; or choosing a time with our child just to talk about a topic of their choice).
- Find new venues for open communication.
- Build self-esteem by using teachers and mentors to assist.
- Encourage participation in team sports, church youth groups, and music ensembles to meet new people, build strong bonds and gain new proficiencies.
- Support and encourage teen to find part-time work.
- Volunteer in the community and encourage teens to volunteer using their own talents.
Alert Your Teen to Peer Pressure Risk Factor Traits – You are more likely to be negatively pressured if you fear a bully, have low self-esteem, lack close friends, fear losing a friend, feel lonely, experience academic failure, or you are going through family trauma or instability.
Know Where Your Teen Is – Keep your home a happy, fun place to be so that neighborhood friends congregate there. Recognize when teens are choosing a house that does not have a parent home after school and make changes immediately. Just as in Middle School, keep track of who has carpool duty to and from sports events and other after-school activities.
Give Your Teen a “Text WORD” – Choose a WORD with a special meaning to help remove yourself from an uncomfortable or dangerous situation. Parent and teen can choose two favorite words or Biblical phrases to mean “Call me now” or “Pick me up ASAP.”
Websites to offer your middle school and high school students:
In Christ's Service,
Khouriyee Kathleen Purpura
OCCHY Executive Director
Dear Parents (of Young Adults Headed to College),
The most important and effective support you can give your teen who attends college is by planning some talks and offering specific strategies. Take time to choose simple, abbreviated literature about the problems you envision for the college-town he/she is enrolled. Make a list of healthy living websites which include church affiliation, OCF chapters, health and nutrition sites, local or school-related sporting events, respectable “sports-bar type” restaurants (meaning grilled foods and sports TV’s not stripper-poles and lap-dancing), upcoming substance-free events, etc.
Tell your child to:
- Think Twice - When other students decide to do something, you will have the reminder to Think Once about what “everyone else” is doing and then Think Again!
- Resist Being Bullied by Peer Pressure – Make your own choices not someone elses.
- Be a Leader - By showing confidence in your opinion or decision, others will follow the good example.
- Imagine Yourself in 5 Years - what would you think of the person, situation or decision you are confronting?
- Make Good Decisions in Your Freshman Year – The choices you make in your Freshman Year of college can impact your academic and personal success throughout your college years and beyond.
- Network with Positive People – Get to know motivated, mature classmates, successful professors, and campus chaplains.
Give your child survival tactics. If your child feels overwhelmed by peer pressure to drink, remind your child there are options:
- Remove yourself from harmful situations. This may include the dangers of underage drinking or the criminal consequences of being associated with others involved in criminal behavior.
- Know that it is a valuable trait (one of maturity and leadership) to be strong enough to say no to peer pressure.
- Be aware that some college students drink every day of the week and many students binge drink. You can have candid talks with your friends who may pass out from drinking in the middle of the week. If you are strong enough to steer another student in the right direction you are already a leader.
Remind your child of the consequences of substance use and abuse:
- Alcohol is linked to premarital sex, sexual assaults, and date rape.
- Alcohol and other drugs are linked with addiction/dependence.
- Alcohol and other drugs are linked with traffic crashes and deaths.
- Alcohol and other drugs are linked with violence by teens and domestic violence.
- Alcohol is a gateway drug to other drugs, criminal behavior, and dishonorable behavior.
- Alcohol and other drugs are associated with school failure.
When it comes to dating, tell your teen:
- Before you leave for a date, think about your future family life in ten years and if you would be proud of your behavior on this date night.
- Look for someone that has a strong faith in God, is motivated to succeed, serves the less-fortunate and is respectful to others.
Websites to offer your college student:
Read Literature -
Marijuana: Facts for Teens - http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens;
Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know - http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-parents-need-to-know;
College Drinking Prevention - http://collegedrinkingprevention.gov/
In Christ's Service,
Khouriyee Kathleen Purpura
Help your children learn to care for their skin:
Do you know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19
Warning about complications of new tattoo inks:
Check out the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Healthfinder.
Did You Know the TEEN BRAIN is Still DEVELOPING?
Is Your Child at Risk?
...Of Underage Drinking? Read the College Stumble...
...Of Smoking the Waterpipe, Hookah, Argileh? Let's All "Quit Smoking.."
...Of Binge Drinking? Check out the CDC's report...
...Of Drinking in College, Being Sexually Abused or Assaulted, Being Unintentionally injured or killed from an Alcohol-related Car Crash? Read the NIAAA report on "What Parents Need to Know About College Drinking"
...Of Heroin Use? The National Institute on Drugs reports the Long-Term effects of Heroin?
Read Ryan's Story...
...Of Inhalant Use? Check out the MAYO Clinic report...
...Of Being Bullied or of Being a Bully?