Saturday, May 27th, 2017

The hours of 3 to 5 p.m. dangerous for teens

Posted: Friday, August 19, 2016

By Kelly Sickafoose

The hours between 3 and 5 p.m. are some of the most dangerous hours for teens and pre-teens. These are the hours that teens of working parents are often left unsupervised, and can get into trouble by getting involved with alcohol or drugs. Many parents want their teens to get themselves home, grab a snack and start their homework. Parents come home around 5 p.m., in time to get dinner on the table, ask how their kids’ day was, help them finish up their homework and get them to bed.

What Teens Do After School
Teens may find the unsupervised time too tempting, and they may do things they know they can’t do when parents are around. This is especially true if kids congregate after school. If they are hanging out at one person’s house together, they probably aren’t going to sit and do homework. They may play video games, the boys might invite some girls over or they might experiment with dangerous substances. Kids may try drugs that someone brings along, sneak alcohol from their parents’ stash or they might try inhaling household substances, like paint or glue, to get high.

It Is a Big Deal
The prevalent use of alcohol among preteens and teens and young is alarming for a number of reasons: Kids are experimenting with alcohol at earlier ages. More than half of American youth ages 12 to 20 have tried alcohol. Girls are almost as likely as boys to experiment with drinking. Drinking at a young age greatly increases the risk of developing alcohol problems later in life. Some researchers say that teens are more vulnerable to addiction because the pleasure center of the brain matures before the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and executive decision making. In other words, teenagers’ capacity for pleasure reaches adult proportions well before their capacity for sound decision-making does.

Prevent Teen Drug Abuse
It can be scary to think of what our kids could get involved with, but there are things parents can do. Try to be home for your kids, even if it’s only once in a while. Let your kids know it is possible for you to drop in when they least expect it, or have a relative or neighbor keep an eye on the house or pay a visit occasionally. Parents should not let their teen go to a friend’s house if there is not an adult at home. Parents can have their child call them to check in, and make sure all prescription pills, alcohol and inhalants are kept locked up. It is helpful to get teens involved in extracurricular activities, such as sports, drama, other clubs or afterschool programs that provide a safe place and positive mentoring. It is also important to keep communication open, keep talking about the risks of drugs and alcohol and encourage them to come to you with any problems or questions.

For more information, please visit us on Facebook at Local Anti-Drug Coalition Efforts - LACE.