Simple things you can do to support your kids well-being.
As a parent in this day and age, there is a lot to navigate in terms of supporting our kids and their well-being. We want them to reach their potential, to be happy, kind, successful and safe. In my prevention work as the Communities That Care Coordinator for the Alliance, I see first-hand how the collective forces in our society often work against the well-being of our kids. Children today are exposed to pressures, information and toxins via the internet, the environment, media and society at large and as a parent, it is often challenging to know how to best support them, provide connection and safety as well as opportunities for a well-adjusted life.
According to the 2017 SHARP survey, Summit County youth report:
- 17% have contemplated suicide in the last 12 months
- 40% of students report using alcohol by the time they are in 12th grade
- 70% of students who report using alcohol say the place they choose to drink is at home with their parent’s permission.
Parents and families provide the greatest opportunity for protecting our kids from the risks they encounter in society. We have an opportunity to strengthen our bonds as a family and as a community to support and nurture the future generation. We also may unknowingly contribute to their mental health and substance use challenges. Here are some simple, and effective tips for parents and caregivers.
- Be OPEN to new and challenging information regarding parenting. As parents, we take our role seriously and personally, which can lead to defensiveness and denial. Notice these feelings, be curious about their origin, and lean into the learning process.
- Spend time BEING together as a family. Turn off the screens and fully engage in the present moment. Do fun things together often.
- ENGAGE in positive activities such as having dinner together as a family 3+ days a week. No screens allowed – parents, this means you. Studies show that kids who eat dinner together with their family have significantly lower levels of substance use and mental health issues. The more frequently you do it, the greater the protection.
- LISTEN to your kids – without reaction or judgement. Simply respond with, “tell me more about that”. Allow them a voice in the family decision making process.
- Do your own PERSONAL WORK – explore your family of origin and heal the traumas and wounds of your past so as not to unknowingly pass them along to your kids.
- MODEL good behavior. Do not provide alcohol or other illegal substances to minors. Do not ask your child to get you a drink. Show them how to socialize without substances.
- PROTECT your kids from the influence of social media. Monitor their apps, phone calls, emails, Youtube videos, etc.
- CONNECT with the parents of your child’s friends. Call them, check in regarding plans your kids have. Ask questions about supervision at parties. We often do this with younger kids, and not with our high school aged student.
- ENGAGE in events for parents in the community. Show up and become informed and continue to develop and expand your capacity to effectively guide your child. Here is a short list of upcoming events:
- Dr. Brad Reedy
- September 17th 6-8pm at the Blair Education Center. The topic is “Raising Resilient Children Amidst Today’s Societal Challenges”
- The Front Line and the Blue Line Working Together
- Park City High School Eccles Center: September 10
- North Summit High School: December 3
- South Summit High School: February 11
- Opportunities Night and Tailgate Party
- Dr. Brad Reedy
October 15th 4:30pm at South Summit High School