Programs Encourage Good Decisions

February 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Teenagers/Tweens

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It happens all too often. Whether it’s a quick trip to meet friends for breakfast or a late night out at a party, what teenagers may picture as a harmless good time can become a parent’s nightmare.

Regardless of the cause, two teens lost their lives, something every parent dreads.

Experts say there are some actions that parents can take to keep their kids safe as they encounter peer pressure and parties involving alcohol and drugs.

“The first thing parents need to let their child know is that they can call them any time, from anywhere, no questions asked,” said Dr. Vicki Panaccione, a Melbourne child psychologist and founder of the Better Parenting Institute. “They need to know that their safety comes first.”

Panaccione suggested setting up ‘secret codes’ ahead of time, for when a child feels uncomfortable asking for help around friends at a party.

“You can say, ‘How’s Uncle Bob doing,” and that will mean, ‘Come and pick me up.’”

Even with plans like this, it’s often hard to drill into teenage minds that some things are unsafe. So, Panaccione suggests starting to teach them about parties and peer pressure at a young age.

“Teenagers never think it can happen to them,” Panaccione said. “That’s why it’s important to communicate with them early on and begin building up their trust in you.”

As published in Florida Today.

© MMVI Vicki Panaccione, Ph.D.

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