When parents are away or at work during these months, teens can get into a lot of trouble. I remember those teen summers a little over a decade ago. My sister and I would have many unauthorized friends (mostly boys) visit our home during the 9am-5pm hours. This wasn’t because of some heinous agenda to utterly upset our parents, but it was clearly on the fact that we were bored. Sure we knew we weren’t supposed to have anyone over, but we didn’t care. Like my sister and I were, there are many other teens who are bored and lack supervision this summer.
Meet Timmy. Timmy is a 14-year-old boy who has two parents who work full-time. This is Timmy’s first summer staying home by himself while his parents are at work. Timmy has never gotten into trouble at school. Brings home decent grades and has a plethora of friends. But guess what? Timmy has a secret. Timmy recently started using drugs. And his drug dealer lives right inside his home and provides him with all the drugs he needs. That’s right! Timmy’s parents provide him with all the drugs he needs because they have failed to keep their personal medication in a secure place. And since summer is in and he has absolutely nothing else to do, he recently started experimenting.
Some parents may say, “No, not my little Timmy. He’s not like that.” Even the most responsible teen can give into temptation, but precautions can be made before they even have a chance to become irresponsible.
Precaution #1 – Increase the Chore List
It’s a little more difficult to get into trouble when your parents have given you a chore list that entails things that are obviously impossible to complete within an 8-hour period. For example, have them plant a garden in the back yard. Tell them it needs to be 5 by 5…meaning 5 columns and 5 rows. With all that technology, surely Siri can help them figure out what they need to get started. Have them dust the house from top to bottom literally. Have them organize all the clothes by color in each closet. LOL!! It may sound crazy, but just assign them something that helps them fill the time.
Precaution #2 – Assign Some Homework
If you haven’t started this already, now would be a good time to make sure your teen is utilizing some summer bridge workbooks that can help them prepare for the upcoming school year. Two months without school, can easily cause a teen to forget everything they learned the previous year. Let them know their work needs to be done before you get home.
Precaution #3 – Volunteer Work
Have them within the community, by helping an elderly neighbor or by helping you at work.
Whatever you decide to do with them, just make sure it’s something that can help them fill that time. Additionally, don’t be afraid to call them more than one time throughout the day. It only takes one time for a teen to overdose on drugs and it only takes one time for a teen to get pregnant.
Be an active parent and stay in their business. No Summer Secrets!
How do you plan to keep your teen out of trouble this summer? Tell us in the comments section below.