Do you worry that your child hangs around with the wrong crowd? Monitor social activities and supervise parties. Middle school students are not mature enough yet to take full responsibility for themselves throughout the day. By keeping tabs on your child, you can help him or her avoid dangerous, high-risk situations. Before a child’s social event, ask your child for the hosting parents’ phone number. Then contact the host’s parents to make sure that there will be adult supervision and the event won’t involve alcohol or other dangerous behaviors. Making this a regular habit will send a clear message about the importance of safe and health environments. Don’t ban a friend. If your child has a friend you disapprove of, possibly the worst thing to do is forbid them from seeing each other. Kids value their friendships highly and defend friends strongly. If you directly attack a friend, your son or daughter will feel compelled to defend the friend and explain all of the “good” features of the friendship. A better strategy is to include the friend you disapprove of in some family activities. Then you get a chance to know the friend and share your family values. Encourage more friends. Encourage your son or daughter to participate in after- school programs, religious functions, or community centers where they can meet other youth with appropriate values Making more friends helps prevent undue influence by a single “bad” friend.

Help your child avoid high-risk group situations. The most dangerous situations are unsupervised group activities and parties. Kids find it especially tough to stand up against peers pushing them to do something illegal, like drink alcohol. That’s why it’s so important to monitor your child’s activities and make sure he or she avoids these high-risk settings. Also, discuss ways your son or daughter can resist peer pressure, to prepare for dangerous situations that might arise.

Kids find it hard to resist peer pressure, especially in a group. They’re too young to jump in a car and drive away from risky situations that include alcohol, so prepare them with an emergency code- word. Choose and practice a code word that your child can text you or phone you to get a ride home, no questions asked. Use a Code Word for Safety TIP


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