Monday, September 25th, marks the 17th anniversary of Family Day: A Day to Eat Dinner with your Children. Research by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University consistently finds that the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink, or use other drugs. Conversations during mealtime are a way for parents to stay connected and involved with their children. Televisions, cell phones, and other mobile devices should be turned off during dinner so each person can share the day’s events without distractions. This includes involving family members in prep and clean-up. Trips in the vehicle can also be used as teachable, quality bonding time, as parents have a “captive” audience.
Teens are at greater risk of substance abuse as they move from middle school to high school, so, parents need to be especially attentive during this transition period.
If parents are unsure of how to start an age-appropriate conversation, they can access tips in the newly revised Parent Toolkit on the CASA Family Day website. Other valuable information can also be found in the toolkit, such as “connecting” with kids, preventing substance use, background facts on substance use, family activities and worksheets, and tips for talking to kids about substance use.
Join parents nationwide and pledge to commit to:
Spend time with your kids.
Talk to them about their friends, interests, and the dangers of using substances.
Answer their questions and listen to what they say.
Recognize that parents have the power to keep their kids substance-free! Parental engagement makes a difference.
Remember prevention works!