Keeping our Teens Drug and Alcohol Free

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Parenting a Smooth Reentry

Easing the Transition Back to School and Social Pressures

High school student holding books wears a mask while returning to schoolAs kids head back to class, reunite with friends and adjust to a new routine, they will likely also experience an uptick in social pressures. For many, the safe haven of home shielded them from these pressures over the last year and a half.

The shift from summer to school is always a big change, but even more now with the transition back to in-person learning and mask mandates. This is especially true for the many students entering a new school building this fall.

Transition Tips from Local Parents:

  • Gently reassure your child through lots of dropped hints that you are always available and ready to listen when they need you. Say something simple like, “I’ll be in my office if you want to talk.”
  • If you aren’t available or your teen would rather talk to a “cool” family member, help facilitate that discussion by providing a phone number or email or reaching out to arrange a get together.
  • Give your child some space. Try to identify signs that your child is physically or emotionally stressed. Open the lines of communication by saying, “You seem a little stressed. If you want to talk to me, I’m here.”
  • It may take time for your student to adjust to a new level of homework. Offer support by saying, “I’m sure you’re on top of your homework, but if you need help, let me know. I have the time.”
  • For grade school kids, you can say: “I know going back to school is a big change from being home. I understand why you might feel a little scared — and sad to be leaving home. You’ll see, it will be the same fun place you remember it to be.”

As your teen spends more time with friends at their homes or at school events, hold a family refresher on your expectations and consequences around alcohol, marijuana, curfews, driving and parties.

Refresher for Parents (We’re all a little out of practice):

  • Ask your teen where they’re going, what they’re doing and who they’ll be with
  • Check in with host parents
  • Confirm your teen is there
  • Ensure end time is within curfew
  • Establish a code word if your teen ever feels uncomfortable
  • Be awake or have your teen wake you when they get home
  • Read CTAD’s Teen Parties Fact Sheet for info on curfews, hosting parties and what to do when you’re away