As we celebrate the recent Red Sox World Series Victory and warmly embrace what it teaches us about resilience, collaboration and belief the calendar has turned over to November. With that we begin the rapid track to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. YHC is marking our 20th Anniversary year with a focus on “Healthy Lifestyles: Focus on Family”.
I would like to call your attention to a very important topic of how families approach holiday celebrations and the return of college students home. South Shore FACTS, a YHC program, is dedicated to reducing the incidence of underage substance use.
We want you to consider the following: Younger teen initiation of alcohol use can lead to dependence in early adulthood, social host liability law is real and enforced by local law enforcement, alcohol use can lead to a variety of high risk behaviors for teens, teen alcohol use affects brain function.
With intentionality, discussion, and mindfulness families can redirect the culture of holiday celebrations. Holiday traditions and family fun time need not always center on alcohol. If you ask yourself what you fondly recall of holiday rituals when you were a child I am guessing the fondest memories are not of beer, wine, and eggnog. Ask your own children what matters to them and you may receive answers that include time with relatives, sitting at a table and sharing a meal, laughter generated by Yankee swaps, going to the local high school football game, etc.
With this in mind consider the following:
- Be crystal clear with returning college students what are your expectations for “folding” back in to family life
- Make a commitment to small changes that may reduce the stress level and increase the fun factor
- Maintain a mindful focus on “Healthy Lifestyle” in your family and role model it for your children
The reward will be smiles and happy memories!