July 02, 2013 —

Let’s face it, parents these days have to get creative in order to have serious conversations with their busy teens. The good news is that with summer vacation underway, parents have the opportunity to connect with their teens and engage in a meaningful dialogue about important subjects such as drugs, medicine abuse, and engaging in risky behaviors.

In my experience, I have found that one way to open the door to these tricky conversations is to start a parent-teen summer book club.  By reading and discussing books on drug addiction and recovery, parents can get the conversation started with their teen early on about the risks of substance abuse.

Below are a few tips for how to start a summer book club and garner participation from parents, teens and other community members based on my own experiences forming the Northport Community Book Club:

  • Read books that primarily focus on drug and alcohol addiction, recovery, prevention and the impact of drugs and alcohol.
  • Encourage all community members to participate. Invite teachers, school nurses/counselors, law enforcement officers, healthcare providers and retailers in your community to raise community awareness and prevention.
  • Offer incentives for teens such as a free meal or raffle off items like gift certificates.
  • Invite guest speakers who can share their personal experiences of drug or medicine abuse.
  • Prepare and ask engaging questions at the end of each session.
  • Encourage the teens to help organize the book club and make it their own.

If you are not sure what books to read over the summer, visit the Northport Community Book Club’s website. A few books we have previously read include:

I encourage you to connect with the Northport Community Book Club on Facebook and Twitter. Through our social channels, we have been able to stay in touch with the community in between our book club discussions. Share your plans or tips for starting a community book club to discuss substance abuse in the comments below.