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Back to School Tips for Parents and Caregivers

Abbie Zulock

Just like adults, students of all ages can experience a range of emotions when the school year begins.  

Going back to school can be a time of excitement as students look forward to being with their friends and all the activities and opportunities that school brings. It can be a time of sadness, knowing that the freedom of summer has come to an end. And it can be a time of anxiety, wondering, “Will I fit in? Will I make new friends? Will I like my teachers? Will I be successful?”

Kids face a lot of pressure, whether it comes from their peers, their parents, or their own expectations of themselves. That’s why it is so important to continue to talk with your kids about alcohol, marijuana and other drug use.

Here are tips for keeping your kids happy and healthy this school year:

  1. Check out the facts on Washington’s teens and alcohol and marijuana.
  2. Get tips on how to talk to your kids about alcohol or marijuana.
  3. Know how to be a good listener.
  4. Understand how your teen's brain works.
  5. Understand the facts about alcohol and marijuana and share them with your teen.
  6. Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Washington for adults age 21 and older, you may be unsure about what to say to your kids. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids offers a free marijuana talk kit.
  7. Are your teens starting college?  Get some great advice on how to have a conversation with them during this transition.

Young people have told us that their parents are the biggest influence on their decision not to use alcohol or other drugs. According to the 2014 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey, only 15% of kids drink alcohol if their parents think it’s wrong. In comparison, 57% drink if their parents don’t think it’s wrong.  The same pattern holds true for marijuana.

By taking advantage of these resources, you can help your kids understand the risks, make healthy choices, and enjoy a safe and successful school year!

Abbie Zulock is a student at The Evergreen State College.