Pack a Parent's Backpack
Here are the "Nine in ‘09" items you should include in your parents' back-to-school backpack:
1. Partnership “message in a bottle” – The prescription pill bottle reminds you of the biggest challenge our teens are facing.
2. Cell phone – Use your phone to get in touch with the new lingo for text messages, and create a secret phrase your teens can use if they need to call you for help but don’t want to say anything in the presence of friends.
3. Phone numbers – Along with your phone, make a list of important phone numbers – your teen’s friends and their parents, as well as coaches, school nurses, mentors, etc. Create a network of responsible adults.
4. Watch or clock – To remind you to spend at least 15 minutes a day talking or playing with your teen and also to set curfews.
5. Plastic bag/cat litter – To correctly dispose of prescription drugs, the pills must be smashed and mixed in with something undesirable to eat. Do not flush the drugs down the toilet – they contaminate the water source!
6. Food – Eating meals together can provide an opportunity to stay connected and talk with your teens about important topics or just about the day’s events.
7. Pillow – A reminder for parents that once kids become teenagers, large-scale sleepovers are no longer appropriate. A group will get into trouble much easier than one or two teens together.
8. Partnership literature – This will help you keep your kids safe or help you determine whether or not your teen is using.
9. Something fun – Let’s not forget that spending time with your children and teens should be fun. Go to a movie, play a board game, go for a walk – spending time with your teens will help strengthen your bond. Your children will respect you as a parent and role model, but they will appreciate and cherish your friendship as well.
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, NJ's Affiliate’s web site has a wide variety of other valuable information to help parents when it comes to drug use. On the Web site at www.drugfreenj.org parents will find the tools they need to better prepare themselves for a conversation with their children about drugs.
The information for the Nine in '09 items were courtesy of Partnership for a Drug-free America.