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Together Time

Get involved in your child’s life

• Allow for together time daily
• Value your child’s accomplishments
• Motivate your child through positive feedback
• Use informal family meetings to share concerns, ideas, and opinions
• Watch for signs of stress

Why is it important for you to get involved in your child’s life?

Children who know that their parents are there for them, no matter what, will have more strength to get through the tough times.

Having involved caring adults in their life is an important factor in preventing children from turning to alcohol and drugs.

Parents who are active in their children’s lives are better able to see when the children are stressed out or unhappy, and therefore at risk of alcohol or drug abuse.

Children who have a strong and warm relationship with their parents take better care of themselves, are more independent and are more able to make decisions on their own.

Allow for together time daily

How you spend your time with your children is more important than how much time you spend with them. Children like having even 15 minutes a day where their parents share time with only them. This times does not have to involve big plans. It can be as simple as talking while preparing dinner, going to the library, taking a walk, working on a craft project, telling jokes, or getting an ice cream cone.

Value your child’s accomplishments

Watch your child at what he or she likes to do and join in if you can. Praise your child’s basketball skills or performance in a concert. Ask to try out your child’s new video game. Your participation and encouragement says that these activities are worthwhile and that you acknowledge what is important to your child.

Motivate your child through positive feed back

Recognize good behavior consistently and immediately. Praise tour child even for ordinary efforts such as getting up on time, helping to set the table, or finishing homework without being told. This positive feedback motivates your child to continue following the rules and perhaps even to exceed your expectations

Use informal family meetings to share concerns, ideas, and opinions

For some families, mealtime is the perfect opportunity to have discussions and to teach children the value of self expression through lively but polite conversation. Car trips and walks together are two other good opportunities for talking over family issues. It’s helpful to plan specific times for family meetings, but also be open to unscheduled discussions as needed even if they occur at busy or inconvenient times.

Watch for signs of stress

Here are some signs:

• Low self esteem
• Low energy, depression
• Crying easily
• Unresponsiveness
• Changes in eating habits
• Being irritable and short tempered
• Rejecting advice, authority, or assistance
• Falling grades
• Mood swings
• Changes in personality

If you see signs of stress, talk to your child, let your child know that you care, and work together to solve the problems that create stress. If the stress continues, seek outside help.

When your child is under stress…

Children under stress are more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs to find relief from stress. These suggestions can help your child’s stress from building to unsafe levels.

• Allow your child to express their feelings and concerns. Listen actively
• Step in and take action if your child becomes overwhelmed by schoolwork or too many activities
• Make sure they have healthy eating, sleeping, and exercise habits
• Tell your child that feelings like anxiety, fear, and anger are natural and everyone must learn to cope with them
• Look at your own coping skills and see if they are setting a good example
• Teach your child ways to relax
• Set goals based on your child’s ability not on your or someone else’s expectations
• Help your child express anger in positive ways, without violence
• Show confidence in your child’s ability to solve problems and tackle new challenges
• Suggest that your child take a break from stressful situations by listening to music, talking with a friend, drawing, or doing some other calming activity.
• Talk to your child about ways of relieving stress
• Help your child accept mistakes and learn from them