Maybe you have seen the Way Out West Coalition’s Get in the Way materials throughout the city and in this magazine. But what does Get in the Way actually mean? The teen brain focuses on risk and excitement. Our job as parents, grandparents, and caring adults is to Get in the Way or foil a teen’s attempt to be involved in high-risk behaviors such as underage drinking, teen marijuana use and prescription drug misuse. This is a call to action, to Get in the Way – To Say Something, Do Something. Here are a few examples of each:
- Talk early and talk often.
- Clearly Communicate Expectations: Be clear with your children that you disapprove of underage drinking and any drug use. Both are NOT acceptable.
- Set consequences for unacceptable behavior. (see #2 below)
- Reinforce Expectations. This is part of talking often. DO connect privileges and freedoms to being responsible. While it may be okay to loosen the reins a bit as your child gets older, it needs to be clear that drinking and drug use remain unacceptable.
- Know your child’s itinerary, including who they will be with and phone numbers of where they can be contacted. Establish call-in times and give them the option of calling you at any time for help or for advice, which includes picking them up, if needed.
- Know where your teen is going. Who will be there? Will alcohol or other drugs be present? Will adults be home? Do those adults tolerate drinking in their home? Yes, parents who care about their kids will always ask these questions!
- Help build resilience. Roleplay ways to say no to alcohol and drugs with your child.
Using the behaviors above will set a strong no use message. Kids and their friends will think twice before using and disappointing you. Most importantly, they will know you mean business, take you seriously, and thank you in the future.
- Encourage your children to become involved in sports, clubs or volunteer activities.
- You MUST follow-through on consequences for unacceptable behavior.
- Limit access (lock) alcohol and LOCK your prescription drugs using a Rx lock box.
- Be a parent. Monitoring and supervision in high school can reduce drinking in high school and college. Students whose parents allowed them to drink late in high school are more likely to have problems with alcohol in college.
- Dispose of unused prescription medications by using Rx Drop-off Boxes in the city.
- Make each moment count. Teens only get one junior/senior year. Let them know you don’t want them to miss out on things because of bad choices like drinking and drug use.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY, be a role model. Drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Never get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
- Get involved with the WOW Coalition
- At the very minimum, go to our website and get on our mailing list
- Share our blog and Facebook posts
- Intervene if needed. You don’t need hard evidence to begin. Your intuition telling you something is wrong is enough to take action. Find more steps on how to intervene on the wowcoalition.org/resources page on our website.