This Parent newsletter has been created by the North Kingstown Prevention Coalition.  Please feel free to share!  Parenting IS Prevention.
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Family Check Up:  Could Your Kids Be at Risk for Substance Use?

Families strive to find the best ways to raise their children to live happy, healthy, and productive lives.  Parents are often concerned about whether their children will start or are already using drugs such as tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and others, including the misuse of prescription drugs.  Research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has shown the important role that parents play in preventing their children from starting to use drugs.

This newsletter will focus on five questions that highlight parenting skills that are important in preventing the initiation and progression of drug use among youth.  For each question, a video clip shows positive and negative examples of the skill, and additional videos and information are provided to help you practice positive parenting skills.

Question 1: Communication  Are you able to communicate calmly and clearly with your teenager regarding relationship problems, such as jealousy or need for attention?

Good communication between parents and children is the foundation of strong family relationships. It helps parents catch problems early, support positive behavior, and stay aware of what is happening in their children’s lives.

Relationship Problems and Clear Communication:  Check Out this Video

  • Negative example: Mom gets defensive
  • Positive example: Mom is understanding

Before you begin:

  • Be sure it’s a good time to talk and you can focus one hundred percent on communicating with your child.
  • Have a plan.
  • Gather your thoughts before you approach your child.
  • Be calm and patient.
  • Limit distractions.

Key communication skills include:


The kind of information you receive depends a lot on how you ask the question.

  • Show interest/concern. Don't blame/accuse. For example, instead of, "How do you get yourself into these situations?" say, "That sounds like a difficult situation. Were you confused?"
  • Encourage problem-solving/thinking. For example: Instead of, "What did you think was going to happen when you don't think?" say, "So, what do you think would have been a better way to handle that?"

Listening and observing

  • Youth feel more comfortable bringing issues and situations to their parents when they know they will be listened to and not be accused.
Check out our Dec Newsletter for the next Question!

Lawnmower Parent - Who Me?

Have you heard about parents who keep an overly watchful eye on their child’s every move and then swoop in to save the day at the first sign of trouble. But have you heard of Lawnmower Parenting? 

While the helicopter parent hovers and worries, the lawnmower parent
takes it even further, stepping in to clear their child’s path of potential
obstacles and challenges. This prevents their child from having to
experience any feelings of pain, sadness, discomfort or disappointment.
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you might be a Lawnmower
• You panic when you realize your child forgot his math
homework, so you run it right over to the school in time for class.
• Your daughter misses a day of school from illness, but instead of
having your child follow up with her teachers, you reach out to
the school to collect her makeup work.
• Your son has a dentist appointment that conflicts with
next week’s baseball practice, but instead of having him
communicate it to his coach, you reach out to the coach to
• Your child is feeling really anxious about having to make a
presentation in class, so you contact the teacher and push for an
alternate arrangement.
While it’s normal and natural for us to want to protect our children, this type of parenting can have long-lasting, harmful effects.
• It sends the message that, “my parents – not me – are the only
ones equipped to make decisions and handle challenges in my

• It creates youth who increasingly feel “entitled” and expect
things to always go their way with minimal effort on their part.

• Most dangerously, this type of parenting shelters children from
experiencing and dealing with any type of adversity. It’s only a
matter of time before something goes wrong and it’s out of our
control. –When that happens, our children need to have positive
coping skills to deal with their situation.
Lawnmower parenting doesn’t let them develop coping skills. Instead,
our children may act out aggressively, negatively internalize what they’re feeling, or possibly turn to substances in an attempt to get a handle on their emotions.

This manner of parenting is  a disservice to your child. If we want our sons and daughters to become happy and healthy adults, we must teach, encourage, and guide them to begin to think, speak, and make decisions for themselves.

We need to let them learn from their mistakes and help them process and handle adversity appropriately and positively. If it comes time that they have done their part advocating for themselves and a situation remains unresolved, then we can step in to assist.

Read more..

Kindly shared with permission for Prevention Action Alliance

What Is Gratitude?

Gratitude is one of many positive emotions. It's about focusing on what's good in our lives and being thankful for the things we have.

Gratitude is pausing to notice and appreciate the things that we often take for granted, like having a place to live, food, clean water, friends, family, even computer access. It's taking a moment to reflect on how fortunate we are when something good happens — whether it's a small thing or a big thing.

We can use lots of words to describe feelings of gratitude: We might say we feel thankful, lucky, fortunate, humbled, or blessed.

Why Gratitude Matters

Gratitude doesn't just feel good. Making a habit of gratitude can also be good for us. Like other positive emotions, feeling grateful on a regular basis can have a big effect on our lives. Brain research shows that positive emotions are good for our bodies, minds, and brains.  That is an important part of substance prevention.

  • Positive emotions open us up to more possibilities. They boost our ability to learn and make good decisions.
  • Positive emotions balance out negative emotions. People who often feel grateful and appreciative are happier, less stressed, and less depressed. Gratitude is like a U-turn on complaining or thinking about what we don't have.
  • One positive emotion often leads to another. When we feel grateful, we might also feel happy, calm, joyful, or loving.
  • Gratitude can lead to positive actions. When we feel grateful for someone's kindness toward us, we may be more likely to do a kindness in return. Your gratitude also can have a positive effect on someone else's actions. Thanking people can make it more likely they'll do a kindness again.
  • Gratitude helps us build better relationships. When we feel and express heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to people in our lives, it creates loving bonds, builds trust, and helps you feel closer.

When we make it a habit to feel grateful, it makes us more aware of good things as they happen.

Dig deeper and learn how...

Did You Know?  Tweens and Social media!
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