This Parent newsletter has been created by the NK Prevention Coalition.  Parenting IS Prevention.
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Make This a Happy and Healthy Year with Your Family

1. Hold family meetings.

Give everyone in the family—including the kids—an opportunity to be heard. Provide the space for feuding family members to voice their feelings in a setting that models respectful communication and conflict resolution. Brainstorm beefs. Strategize solutions to stumbling blocks. You’ll get greater cooperation when decisions are made mutually.

2. Say "No" to sarcasm.

Scorn is just anger thinly disguised with a sneer. So, cut the contempt. If you’re mad, be mad. Communicating your feelings honestly and openly makes room for problem solving. Sarcasm complicates true communication and squeezes out solutions.

3. Laugh. A lot.

Laughter fills up the family’s good-will tank, making your family more resilient in tough times. It also paves the way for positive parenting. What was it Mary Poppins said? “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Well, corrections are more easily digested when coated in honey. 

4. Focus on quality, not quantity.

If I told you to spend more time together as a family, you’d probably retort that with, “There’s just no time.” I get it. Life is busy. But, building those vital bonds of belonging—whether with your kids or your spouse—is accomplished in moments, not hours. However, you’ve got to make those moments count. Be mindful. Put away your smart phone, and be fully present and engaged for a short while.

5. Practice self-care.

You can’t be a good parent, or a good partner, if your tank is empty. We don’t fully appreciate how depleted we can get—and how drastically that can affect our interactions with others in our family. We start to sweat the small stuff, harbor resentment, become bitter when we’ve denied our own needs. There’s nothing that a good yoga class or night out with friends can’t fix. So, re-fuel frequently, and you’ll get more mileage as a parent.

You, Yourself, As Much As Anybody In The Entire Universe Deserve Your Love And Affection. - Buddha

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 is the 4th in our five part series.)  This newsletter will focus on:

Question 4: Setting Limits

Setting limits helps parents teach self-control and responsibility, show caring, and provide safe boundaries. It also provides youth with guidelines and teaches them that following rules is important for their success in life.

Defiance/Disrespect and Setting Limits

  • Negative example: Mom argues
  • Positive example: Mom stays in control

Teenage Drug Use and Setting Limits

  • Negative example: Mom overreacts
  • Positive example: Mom stays reasonable

A Two-Step Process

Step 1: Setting Rules

  • Make clear, simple, and specific rules.
  • Make sure your child understands your rules.
  • Have a list of consequences.
  • Be ready to follow through.

Step 2: Following Up

  • Research shows that parents are most effective in setting limits when they follow up right away, giving consequences when rules are broken and offering encouragement when rules are followed. Youth are more likely to follow rules if they know parents are checking up on them and will enforce the consequences consistently.

Extra Tips

  • State the limit and the consequence clearly.
  • Catch the problem early.
  • Avoid arguments and threats.
  • Remember to use a firm and calm tone of voice.
  • Follow through each time a limit is stretched or a rule is broken.
  • Offer encouragement each time a rule is followed.

Testing Limits

Testing limits is a natural part of growing up, but it presents a special challenge for parents. Often our first reactions may come from fear for our child’s safety, or anger at being disobeyed. The SANE guidelines can help parents establish appropriate consequences when youth break rules.

  • Small consequences are better
  • Avoid consequences that punish you
  • Nonabusive responses
  • Effective consequences

Youth may get angry, act out, or become isolated when parents enforce consequences. Your child is testing you and your limits. Don’t react. Be consistent with your rules.

Practice Skills

Video: Clear Rules

When stating rules:

  • Be calm.
  • Be specific.
  • State only one rule at a time.
  • Remember to stay involved and notice when your child follows the rule.

Video: Privilege Removal

When giving consequences, remember:

  • Label the problem behavior in terms of your rule.
  • State the consequence clearly.
  • Avoid arguing.
  • Ignore trivia.
  • Remember it is normal for kids and teens to react negatively when they receive a consequence.

Click back to our previous editions

A New Year and New Devices

For the holidays, many youth (and adults!) receive an array of electronic devices. From TV to smartphones to social media, our lives are dominated by 24/7 media exposure. Despite this, many children and teens have few rules around their media use.

What We Know:

  • Almost 75% of teens own a smartphone. They can access the Internet, watch TV and videos. Mobile apps allow photo-sharing, gaming, and video-chatting.

  • 25% of teens describe themselves as "constantly connected" to the Internet.

  • 76% of teens use at least one social media site. More than 70% of teens visit multiple social media sites, such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.

  • 4 of 5 households own a device used to play video games.

Why Set Limits?

  • Sleep problems 
    Media use can interfere with sleep. Children and teens who spend more time with social media or who sleep with mobile devices in their rooms are at greater risk for sleep problems. Exposure to light (particularly blue light) and stimulating content from screens can delay or disrupt sleep, and have a negative effect on school.

  • Problematic internet use.
    Heavy video gamers are at risk for Internet gaming disorder. They spend most of their free time online, and show less interest in offline or "real-life" relationships. There may be increased risks for depression at both the high and low ends of Internet use.

  • Negative effect on school performance
    Children and teens often use entertainment media at the same time that they're doing other things, such as homework. Such multi-tasking can have a negative effect on school.

  • Risky behaviors
    Teens' displays on social media often show risky behaviors, such as substance use, sexual behaviors, self-injury, or eating disorders. Exposure of teens through media to alcohol, tobacco use, or sexual behaviors is associated with earlier initiation of these behaviors.

As a parent, it is important to set rules and guidelines for screen time in your home.  Here are some great resources from Dr. Delaney Ruston to help get you started.  You can also subscribe to her weekly Tech Talk Tuesday blog for ongoing tips and support. 

Make a Family Media Plan!

Dive Deeper here

Source:  Digital Media and Your Children and Teens: TV, Computers, Smartphones, and Other Screens (Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics)
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