This Holiday Season, Help Your Teens Make Their World a Better Place

With winter vacation from school, your teens may be in their “own world” – busy with their friends, parties, and social events. But the holiday season provides the perfect time to remind them it is just as important to look outside of their own lives and at the world around them. Making a difference in the world doesn’t take a tremendous effort – sometimes you can have a HUGE impact simply by going out of your way to say a kind word or help out someone you normally would not. Your teen should know that they have the power to be a positive force in the world, and you can help them learn how.

It is easy to buckle under peer pressure – to go along with whatever the “crowd” is doing, whether it’s bullying another teen, drinking, or taking risks by abusing over-the-counter cough medicine. And those behaviors are a slippery slope – they can start small, just for fun, or when no one else is looking – and quickly spiral out of control before a parent is aware.
Don’t let this happen to your children. There is no better time to talk to your teens than over the holidays, during family activities such as wrapping presents or decorating the house. Here are my 3 tips keeping your family safe this holiday season:

  1. Encourage your teens to talk about what they’re experiencing: whether it’s to you, a school counselor, a teacher or another trusted adult. They should never be ashamed to admit that they are being bullied or that they feel pressured to experiment with drugs, alcohol, or abuse medicines.
  2. Encourage your teens to express themselves through the arts, such as, singing, dancing, writing, poetry or sports.
  3. Encourage your teens to be responsible on social networks such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, text messaging and cell phones.  These tools are being used to cause serious verbal violence and teens are taking their lives every day because of it.

Every day, children are hurt by drug abuse, cough medicine abuse, bullying and verbal violence.  Don’t waste another minute – talk to your children about these risky behaviors and teach them to stand up for themselves and each other in order to make the world a better place.