Wednesday, June 24, 2009 author and Parenting Expert, Denise Witmer always provides excellent information on parenting, especially with teens. Yesterday she posted a great article that most parents will benefit from. As a Parent Advocate and author of “Wit’s End” (where some parents end up with their teenagers), I know that summer can be a time of experimentation with many kids – whether they are trying to “fit in” (peer pressure) or simply curious. Be an educated parent – don’t be a parent in denial.

While summer is in full swing the National Youth Anti-Drug Campaign wants to remind parents to keep their teens safe and off drugs. They feel, and I agree, that summer can be a risky time for teens. More teens try marijuana for the first time in the summer months than any other time of the year. Each day in June, July and August, approximately 6,100 young people try marijuana for the first time; that’s 38 percent more per day than during the rest of the year.

Here is a S-U-M-M-E-R drug-free checklist:

Set rules

Have you set clear rules and let your teen know that marijuana use is unacceptable? Two-thirds of kids say that upsetting their parents or losing the respect of family and friends is one of the main reasons they don’t smoke marijuana or use other drugs. Set limits with clear consequences for breaking them; praise and reward good behavior.

Understand and communicate

Have you talked to your teen recently about the harmful physical, mental, and social effects of marijuana and other illicit drugs on young users? Young people who learn about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to try drugs than their peers who learn nothing from their parents. Look for teachable moments in everyday life to keep the conversation ongoing.

Monitor your teen’s activities and behaviors

Have you checked to see where your teen is, who he is with, and what he is doing? Teens who are not regularly monitored by their parents are four times more likely to use drugs. Check up on your teen to make sure they are where they say they are.

Make sure you stay involved in your teen’s life

Have you talked to your teen’s coach, employer, and friends lately? Stay in touch with the adult supervisors of your child (camp counselors, coaches, employers) and have them inform you of any changes in your teen.

Engage your teen in summer activities

Have you helped plan activities to keep your teen busy? Research shows that teens who are involved in constructive and adult-supervised activities are less likely to use drugs.
Reserve time for family

Have you planned a family activity with your teen in the coming weeks, such as going to the movies, taking a walk, or sharing a meal? Teens who spend time, talk and have a close relationship with their parents are much less likely to drink, take drugs or have sex.
Press Release from The site also offers a free brochure called, “Keeping your Kids Drug-Free: A How-To Guide for Parents and Caregivers.” The brochure can also be ordered by calling 1–800–788–2800.