Not to burst your summer bubble, but if your backyard BBQ and a buzz go hand in hand, you should know your children are paying attention, said Susie Vanderlip, founder of Legacy of Hope.
"Just keep in mind who's watching! Are you modeling moderation or excess?" Vanderlip said.
A federal study recently found that adolescents whose fathers abuse or are dependent on alcohol are almost twice as likely to use alcohol or illicit drugs as those whose fathers don't have an alcohol problem.
Another summer issue is prescription drug abuse. "Are your medications in an inaccessible place for teen partying? Throw out old medications you haven't used.
"Most importantly, start the summer by having 'the talk' (about drugsand alcohol) with your tweens and teens. Grade five is NOT too young," Vanderlip said.
She offers these suggestions:
Make it clear to kids what you expect of them over the summer if and when their friends bring out the booze, the pills, the drugs.
Role play how to say, "No, I don't choose to drink or do those drugs. I'd be in BIG trouble with my parents."
Spell out family values and consequences. And say it with LOVE. "Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don't say it mean!"
A final word of advice: Do whatever you can not to leave kids unattended and bored during the summer months. Team up with other families, find a day camp, sign them up for activities. Get them exercising and into hobbies. Go to the library and check out books or join a reading club.
Susie Vanderlip is a nationally known speaker on prevention, stress, and youth and family issues. She is the author of the iParenting Award-winning book "52 Ways to Protect Your Teen - Guiding Teens to Good Choices and Success."Her program, Legacy of Hope, has reached more than 1 million people in nearly every state and across Canada. For information, visit www.legacyofhope.com.