Parents Worst Nightmare by Clint Thomas
A parent’s worst nightmare is upon us! “SUMMER VACATION.” The fear of inactivity, lack of supervision and a realistic concern that tweens and teens will remain in vegetative, media-induced hypnotism all summer is just beginning to haunt their minds — not to mention the potential of high risk behavior.
THE STATISTICS SHOW
As educators, counselors and principals, the concern for our students’ well-being, retention of values, knowledge and interactions are priority. Unfortunately, statistics speak, and the data shows that millions of young people across our nation of all races and social classes engage in vandalism, bicycle theft, car burglaries and random crimes of opportunity at an accelerated rate during these summer months! (1)
A last “last day of school” message may encourage your students to invest in summer as an opportunity. Encourage your students to:
- BE SMART AND MAKE WISE CHOICES
- CONNECT TO OPPORTUNITY
Reassure students to listen to their inner voice when asked to join others or participate in planned and unplanned activity. If the voice says “Don’t”, “Leave” , or “Not Good”, then BE SMART and take action. One poor, “following the crowd,” decision can permanently change their life.
Encourage students to build on their strengths, expand their capacity and find opportunity.
Opportunities can often be found in summer jobs and as a community volunteer. Research indicates that summer jobs, especially for high risk students, have reduced juvenile arrests by as much as 43% in some of our larger cities. (2)
Here is a list of great ways that students can work or volunteer this summer: assisting at Day Camp, counseling at YMCA camp, guarding, pool maintenance, park assistance, helping at a VBS church program, babysitting and child care, dog walking, lawn and garden tending, cooking for elderly or even working with parents to schedule paid chores like taking care of family laundry, washing of vehicles, etc. Teens who drive may look to “errand running” for elderly or busy moms.
Ask counselors to brainstorm productively with students to create positive, self-reliant activity.
Some other ways to encourage students to have a great summer is to suggest that the social media mogul, create summer blogs and share with friends, teachers, etc. Encourage the Xbox devotee to create his/her own Apotheon or Chronicle Survivor and forward the accomplishments to the media teachers. Encourage digital photo collages of summer life be forwarded to the art department. Encourage music, rap and lyric writing.
Ask supervisors and counselors who work during the summer to randomly text and Instagram students regarding their summer investments. Providing a little attention may be the simple encouragement that your students’ need to avoid destructive behavior this summer.
Have a great summer break!!
For more ideas on surviving Summer Vacation by thriving, contact us at www.allingen.com.
- Juvenile Justice Information Exchange; “OP-ED: The Myth of Juvenile Crime in the Summer”; Marc Schindler and Amanda Petteruti ; August 20, 2014.
- Sciencemagazine.org “Summer Jobs Lower Violent Crime Rate for Urban Teens”; Jeffrey Merris; December 4, 2014.