Be Awesome: Ways for families to stay connected, stay thankful

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Harriet Phelps
Harriet Phelps

By Harriet Phelps, PsyD

It is time to be thankful.  We all may be missing something from the impact of the COVID virus.  Its effects impacted all of us from health, social, work and families.  Unfortunately, we may have lost a loved one or friend who passed from the virus.  We extend our condolences to you at this time. Our upcoming holidays become significant from the many levels of loss.

In our community professionals are seeing the impact our youth are struggling to manage the consequences.  Reports reveal that our youth are increasing the use of alcohol and marijuana specifically. Teens are posting their substance abuse from home on social media.  Vaping use is rising with the use of flavored and marijuana oils.  Authorities are concerned by the increased concentration of a drug known as crude oil which is highly concentrated with THC. It is so strong that law enforcement considers it a narcotic.

The Arizona Youth Vape Prevention Campaign statistics show 51% of H.S. Students have tried vaping and teens that vape are 4 times more likely to smoke cigarettes. The use of these products on school campuses is illegal and results in consequences.  The limited legality of the products gives a false sense of safety without considering the consequences of these products.

Youth that have conversations with their parents about using these products are less likely to start using.  As difficult as this activity may seem it enhances your child’s feelings of being cared for and connected.

Ways to stay connected include:

  1. Eat together. Consider the meal sacred as a time to come together and discuss everyone’s day and the latest events including local and world.
  2. Cook together. Cooking is a survival skill for all to learn. It is a great connecting time.
  3. Work together. The hands may stay busy but the brain is open for connecting.
  4. Share a family interest. Share in a sport, hobby, athletics, interest in animals, camping, notice where you connect.
  5. Go shopping. Even if it is just looking include them in choosing an item for your home asking about what they like about the item, style, color, how they think about its use.
  6. Do some good. Volunteer in a community event; while they see you providing service in the community discuss the good they are doing to help.
  7. Say good night. Respecting your child’s privacy knock and tell them good night.  All of like to feel loved and tucked in for the night.

Using these products provide youth with connection to their peer group.  Provide connection within your family by talking to your teen about spending more time together.

Be awesome and thankful

Harriet  Phelps, PsyD, is a volunteer with Be Awesome Youth Coalition.