It’s a hard truth for parents like me to accept, but sometimes teens pay more attention to an adult who isn’t their own parent. As a mom and community advocate for teens, I make efforts to not only talk to my children about taking care of their bodies, making smart choices, and avoiding risky behaviors such as abusing alcohol or over-the-counter cough medicine, I also make it a priority to talk to their friends. And I would hope that other adults are watching out for my children too! It takes a whole community to raise healthy teens, and no one can do it alone. Here are some of my tips for healthy teens:
Create a healthy environment by keeping good-for-you snacks around the house when your child has friends over, and if you’re planning a family activity such as a hike or a walk, invite their friends along.
Meet the parents of your child’s friends and make an effort to get to know their families.
Remember that emotional health is just as important as physical health: Compliment your child’s friends in the very way that you compliment your own children. You never know when our youth need a kind word to build their spirits, and your very words could raise their self-esteem.
When your child’s friends are around, ask them about their day or how school is going. Show them that you care about what’s going on in their lives.
Monitor the medicines in your homes and keep an eye out for warning signs of medicine abuse or other substance abuse. And if you think your child’s friends are engaging in dangerous behaviors, say something!
As a parent, you want your child to choose friends with the same values you teach them, especially when it comes to healthy living. Talking to your children and making an effort to get to know their friends is a great start!
How do you encourage your children to choose good friends? Share your tips in the comments below!
I grew up in a home surrounded by very strong women. Everyone took care of each other’s kidsit was always “call your aunt for help” or “call your grandmother.” So it seems only natural for me to work with the Five Moms in educating others about the dangers of teen cough medicine abuse.