Keeping your teen safe and healthy during the summer months
RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES
Text-A-Tip and Safe2Tell are still operating during the summer months and we encourage our youth to seek help or report concerns in an anonymous fashion all summer long. Staying connected to a caring adult for any aged child during the summer is key. Below are some resources for parents and children to remain healthy through challenges that may arise:
During the school year, counselors, teachers, administrative staff, coaches, nurses, and others are available in Douglas County School District buildings to support students when things get tough. DCSD’s Prevention and School Culture personnel— also known as Team U.P. (Universal Prevention)— partnered with schools this past year to build students’ resiliency skills by helping them identify their trusted adults that they can rely on as a safety net for times when minor or major issues arise, either for a friend or themselves.
During the summer months, with school out of session, it’s important for our youth to remember the self-advocacy skills they have been developing, and that they still have trusted adults close by in you— their parents— and perhaps grandparents or other relatives. Additionally, coaches, neighbors, youth leaders, summer-job bosses, and camp counselors may also serve as trusted adults for our youth.
However, it may be difficult as parents to recognize when our kids need to talk but aren’t reaching out.
“Often our teens are so savvy. They can present as being completely self-sufficient young adults, but we have to remember what we know about research. Their frontal lobes are developing and there are maturational issues. They are still kids and they need us,” explains Staci McCormack, DCSD Prevention and School Culture Coordinator.
Adults' role in our community during the summer months for our youth is vitally important, since their typical sources of support they may have relied upon on each day in school have been temporarily shifted for them in the summer. When youth are not engaged in meaningful volunteer opportunities, work or healthy activities, the likelihood for unsafe behaviors and/or thoughts including feelings of isolation or even suicide ideation for some can rise.
As parents and role models, we can invite youth to partake in an activity, a walk or even a dinner conversation and can connect to them as a trusted adult. That might not necessarily mean physically being with them all day – because, of course, parents have to work and have other obligations; but we can proactively connect each evening and ask, What did you do today? Who did you hang out with? Where are you spending your time?
McCormack explains, “adults can communicate a message that says, ‘I am here for you, I may not have all the answers, but connect with me. Together, we will get you in the right place by simply being present in the teen’s life.”
Trusted adults or mentors can help students navigate the daily challenges life presents and can help youth focus on strengths that can help them to stay resilient, safe and psychologically healthy.
We asked students: Who is your trusted adult?
"When times are tricky I usually go to my mother. My mother is always there for me and always knows what to say when I am going through a tough time. She doesn’t overreact when I talk to her, she doesn’t yell at me. My mom takes time out of her day to figure out what is going on. She knows when she needs to assess the situation and she figures out what needs to get done to figure out the situation. I feel comfortable coming to her. This may sound silly but teenagers are like cats, if you leave them alone but care for them, don’t scream at them, teach them to go the right way, they will come to you for everything and love you and hug you. But if you scream at them and yell and punish them, the cat won’t like you. Just like a teenager."
-Chaparral High School Freshman
"When times get tricky this summer, I know I can connect with my Mom and Dad for Hope, Help, Strength. My parents are there for me for everything and I trust them more than anyone."
-Legend High School Junior
"I would have to say the people in my life who I can talk to about anything. Who give me my hope and support are my mother and my Grandfather. They are the two people I feel like I can talk to about anything to. I trust them with all my heart and I feel as if I could say anything to them and they would understand and try to help me out with everything and anything I needed."
-Castle View High School Sophomore