It appears Spring has finally arrived and with it the realization of parents that school will soon be let out for the summer and a chorus of, “I’m bored!” will resound throughout the land. Boredom. It’s a harmless malady, right? Wrong!
According to a survey conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, often bored teens are 50% likelier than teens not often bored to smoke, drink, get drunk, and use illegal drugs. Other high risk factors include too much spending money and excessive stress. To reduce the risk of abuse by teens, former chairman and president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University Joseph Califano suggests:
- Understand when and why children are bored and help relieve their boredom.
- Limit the amount of money children have to spend and keep an eye on how what they do have is spent.
- Be sensitive to their stress and on hand to offer coping skills.
- Be a part of your children’s lives – talk, volunteer, play, and support them. Know their friends.
In short, be the parent you would someday like them to be.