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"You can't use up creativity.  The more you use,
the more you have
."      Maya Angelou
When thinking of how parents can help their teens avoid substance use, we don't often think about creativity.  But, nurturing creativity can, among many other positive outcomes, help teens reduce stress and anxiety - risk factors for substance use.  In this newsletter we explore how you, as parents can nurture creativity - another tool to prevent and reduce youth substance use.  You matter!
Click here to learn more about the importance of creativity in teens.....

Boost Your Teen’s Creativity

1. Lead By Example

The best way to encourage your teen’s creativity is to lead by example. Perhaps you once had a passion for writing, or enjoyed dabbling in painting, which sadly got buried beneath the commitments of family life. We all have a flair for creativity, so whether you bake up a storm, have a flair for home furnishings, do it with gusto, and let your teen see.

2. It’s Not Just About Arts & Crafts

Creativity isn’t limited to painting or writing. It’s also about inspired thinking, and being able to use imagination in everyday life. For example, if your teen is struggling with an aspect of school work, use alternative methods to get their creative juices flowing, such as brainstorming to come up with solutions to their problems, inspiring them to think outside the box.  Encourage your teens to collaborate with friends or peers on a task.

3. Encourage Questioning

Urge your teens to query anything they aren’t sure of, and look for answers to their questions. Allow them to explore their own opinions and let them see that not everyone thinks the same way they do, and that’s okay. Show them that just because they have a viewpoint not shared by others, doesn’t mean it is wrong.

4. Don’t Stifle Their Creativity

Encourage your teens to try something new, perhaps an activity they haven’t previously considered, such as learning a musical instrument. Let them decide what they’d like to eat for dinner, urging them to choose a dish they have never tasted. If you find yourself dismissive of more outlandish suggestions your teen comes up with then back off! A hovering, nervous parent is hardly conducive to creativity.

5. Let Them See It Is Okay to Take Risks

The willingness to take risks is often stunted as kids become teens. They are much more acutely aware of the sometimes harsh world that goes on around them, and trying something new can be a scary thought. It’s important to foster the belief that it is okay to fall at the first hurdle; that creativity can bring with it failure, but that’s okay. If you don’t try, you can never succeed.

6. Discover Life

There is nothing more inspiring than nature. Take your teens to the beach or for walks in the forest. Encourage your kids to really look at what’s around them. Breathe in fresh air, and simply revel in the beauty that surrounds you.  In RI, we are fortunate that we have beautiful hikes and beaches within a short drive

Immerse them in history, culture and art by visiting museums and galleries. Take them to the ballet, a music concert, or out to dinner in a fine-dining restaurant. There’s a whole world waiting to be discovered: a culturally aware teen, one that has been given the opportunity to experience diversity, is much more open to being inspired creatively.

Preparing Teens for the 21st Century Work Place: Creativity

Your kids will be growing to adulthood when the complexity of technology and the pace of change is unlike anything humans have ever experienced.  

With the astounding possibilities presented by technology, the days of just reproducing the same product, idea, priorities, or business practices are quickly disappearing.  Your teen’s ability to use creativity to generate fresh approaches to established ideas will make them an important resource for 21st century companies.

So, how do you make your teen be creative?  You can’t; make them, that is.  Creativity and imagination have to be drawn out and nurtured.  This particular skill is remarkably fragile.  The slightest criticism or correction can snuff it out.  Here are some ideas for nurturing that creative spark.  Read more...

From  There's a Stranger in My House by Dr James Wellborn

 Spark Imaginative Thinking in Teenagers
Get outside and be active. Just being outside lends itself to imagination. Go for a nature walk, jump in a puddle and take in your surroundings.

Try team building activities. Encourage your teen to participate in problem-solving activities with their peers. This helps develop deductive reasoning, as well as creative thinking. Tucker suggests this activity of drawing an object just from a verbal description. Have two teens sit back-to-back -- one with a photograph, one with a sketch pad. While the first teen describes the photo, the other draws a picture based on the description. Once it's completed, both kids can compare their pictures and discuss the importance of learning from people who think differently.

Make a "self" collage. Provide your teen with poster paper, glue and magazines, then ask them to make a collage that represents their likes, dislikes, personality and goals. Praise and encourage the good things about your teen, and discuss any negatives that can be used creatively to accomplish a goal or make a positive change.

More cool ideas....
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