Family Day, Sept. 26: Celebrate being a parent, connect with your kids – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Family Day, Sept. 26: Celebrate being a parent, connect with your kids

Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, has been designated as Family Day by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Family Day is a movement to celebrate parental engagement as an effective tool to help keep America’s kids substance free. Family Day reflects how important it is to connect with your kids at various times throughout the day, including while driving your kids to soccer practice, tucking little ones into bed, or having frequent family dinners. These everyday activities have a lasting effect on your children. Each of these moments offers an opportunity to communicate with your kids and to really listen to what’s on their mind.

America’s drug problem is not going to be solved in courtrooms or legislative hearing rooms by judges and politicians. It will be solved in living rooms and dining rooms and across kitchen tables – by parents and families.” – Joseph A. Califano, Jr., The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse Founder and Chairman Emeritus

As children age, it is vital to keep those lines of communication open, especially during adolescence when they are at risk of engaging in risky behavior including smoking, drinking or using other drugs.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse tells us:

  • Adolescence is the critical period for the initiation of risky substance use and its consequences.
  • Nine out of 10 Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction started smoking, drinking or using other drugs before age 18.
  • Addiction is a disease that in most cases begins in adolescence so preventing or delaying teens from using nicotine, alcohol or other drugs for as long as possible is crucial to their health and safety.

While there are no silver bullets – addiction can strike any family regardless of ethnicity, affluence, age or gender – parental engagement can be a simple, effective tool to help you prevent substance use in your kids.

Research has shown that parents have the greatest influence on whether their teens will choose not to use drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Surveys have also consistently found a relationship between children having frequent dinners with their parents and a decreased risk of their using drugs, drinking or smoking. Parental engagement fostered around the dinner table is one of the most potent tools to help parents raise healthy, drug-free children. Simply put: frequent family dinners make a big difference.
The magic that happens at family dinners isn’t the food on the table, but the conversations and family engagement around the table. Teens that have frequent family dinners are more likely to say their parents know a lot about what’s really going on in their lives, and such parental knowledge is associated with decreased incidence of teen use of marijuana, alcohol and tobacco. Family dinners are the perfect opportunity when teens can talk to their parents and parents can listen and learn.

Family dinner is also an ideal time to strengthen the quality of family relationships. Teens having frequent family dinners are more likely to have excellent relationships with their parents.

This year Family Day is celebrated on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. However, you can make every day a Family Day. For more information, see

Information thanks to Drug Free Osage County.

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