Summer Challenge Two
I am so glad summer is here! We all crave its more laid back pace, temperatures, and the air of freedom. It can be a marked departure from the longer to-do lists and pressure of other parts of the year. Yet for all its pleasure and glory, it can be a particularly dangerous time of year as well. The immediate things I think of are swimming danger; the risks of sun exposure; and Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus.
Then there are the specific risks teens can face during summer. With their developmental need for autonomy; the restlessness many teens feel; desire for excitement and stimulation; and less or zero supervision, problematic teen behavior rises. According to an article on the website At-Risk.org titled ‘Safety Summer Tips For Teens‘, the rate of accidents that involve teens increases by 40%. Alcohol drinking and substance abuse increases by 70%. The number of car accidents by these young inexperienced drivers increases too. A recent article in “The Washington Post” titled ‘Summer Takes Toll On Teen Drivers‘ stated that the rate of automobile accidents doubles during summer time. The first website mentioned here also provides a good link to parents for typical summer safety items. But what about summer safety for teens, in terms of driving? There are some great driving tips for adults and teens alike at ‘Summer Tips‘
Parents must be adamant and vigilant about driving rules and consequences for not following them. They must also be a good example about not being a distracted driver, by not talking on the phone or texting; not flipping the radio dial; and not doing other things that take their mind and eyes off the road, like eating or putting on makeup. There is little to be learned from do as I say and not as I do. Parents must keep on communicating about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Teens need to feel safe and able to talk to their parents about these issues. They must know they can always call and get a safe ride from their parents, if they happen to make bad choices about drinking and substance use. Consequences can follow later!
It is important for teens to have oversight for all that unsupervised and free time. There are summer jobs to be had and other organized activities, geared towards teens, that can help lessen too much free time. Checking in and consistent communication helps. Perhaps there are ways to adjust your schedule so you can be more available and home during the summer months? Is flex time or working from home part of the day an option?
There’s so much to enjoy about summer, but there is also a lot not to take lightly. With forethought, preparation, and oversight, summer can maintain its glorious reputation and shed its deadly one….