By the HELP Committee and Havre Public Schools
Summer is ending and it's time for your kids to head back to school. While new classmates, teachers and school supplies can be exciting for some kids, many find the transition back to school stressful.
The middle school years are a particularly uncertain time for kids and some see trying drugs as a way to fit in with their new peers.
According to the 2003 Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 15.9 percent of Havre Middle School students have tried marijuana and 33.3 percent have consumed alcohol on one or more of the previous 30 days. While these statistics are frightening, parents can take steps to help ensure that their child doesn't fall prey to this danger, especially this time of the year:
Talk to your child about the dangers of drugs. Once won't do; talk often and talk soon.
Help your child deal with peer pressure by role-playing.
Spend time with your child. There is no better way to let her know that you care.
Motivate your student or child to maintain high hopes for the future.
Having high hopes helps young people do better in school, say researchers. A six-year study, conducted by the Parent Institute, focused on how students met goals and how they handled problems and peer pressure. The more hopeful students earned B's and above. Students with lower expectations averaged C's and fewer of these students graduated. Students with high expectations were also healthier. They coped better. Plus they had more athletic achievements.
To instill high hopes in kids, parents can:
Help kids envision the future. Ask, "What do you see yourself doing when you grow up?" and "What brings you happiness?"
Help your child set and achieve short-term goals.
Help your child develop special talents - singing, piano, athletics, art, science.
Avoid stepping on your child's dreams. Focus on what he or she can do, not on what he or she can't.
Expose children to successful people in your community and through biographies. Talk about successful people, and what attitudes, qualities and skills made them successful.
Foster a "can do" attitude. Stress that success depends more on effort than ability or intelligence. Hard work and persistence do pay off.
Turn setbacks into learning experiences. Ask, "What can you do to succeed next time?"
For more information on talking to your kids about drugs, contact the HELP Committee and Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line at 265-6206.