Herald Journal Columns
Feb. 27, 2006, Herald Journal

What you say matters to your children

By JENNI SEBORA

Although our kids look to other kids for information about what’s popular in our culture, they look to us as parents and caregivers for information about life decisions including why not to use drugs.

So, it is important to make our position clear when it comes to dangerous substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, and we shouldn’t assume that our children know where we stand, the website www.theantidrug.com notes. The website further recommends these tips:

• Our children want us to talk to them about drugs, so we should state our position clearly; if we are ambiguous, children may be tempted to become involved with tobacco products, alcohol, or other drugs.

• We should tell our children that we forbid them to use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs because we love them. Make it clear that this rule holds true even at other people’s houses. The website offers these examples of rules:

“I love you and I want the best for you, so I don’t want you using alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs.”

“I don’t want you riding in a car with a driver who’s been using drugs or who’s been drinking.”

Will our children listen? Most likely. According to research, when a child decides whether or not to use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, a crucial consideration is, “what will my parents think?”

Part of communicating with our children and maintaining a bond with them involves listening to them and devoting full attention to what they have to say. When they ask to talk with us as parents and caregivers, it is important to find the time to do that. Maintaining an open line of communication is important.

Teens who learn anti-drug messages at home are 42 percent less likely to use drugs.

Source: The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign

Some good winter ‘reads’

The staff at Wild Rumpus book store recommends the book “13 Little Blue Envelopes” by Maureen Johnson, HarperCollins, for advanced children’s reading (teens). The story takes Ginny, 17, on an adventure to England, financed by her eccentric late aunt Peg, with instructions for her journey in several envelopes.

The book “Mercy Watson to the Rescue,” by Katie DiCamillo, Candlewick Press, is recommended for the beginning reader. It is written by the same author as “Because of Winn-Dixie.” The story is about Mercy Watson, a five-year-old character, who is funny, always hungry, lovable, and on-the-go. The staff at Wild Rumpus noted that the book is well-written, with a simple story structure, repetition, and lots of action!

A fun place to go

If you are looking for a place to take your children to run off some “steam,” get some exercise, and have some fun during these winter days, and if you don’t mind traveling to the metro area, the Edinborough Park in Edina is a sure hit.

The Edinborough Park Playpark is almost one acre of a lot of indoor fun, highlighted by Adventure Peak, which, apparently, is one of the largest indoor play structures in the country. Our family took to the park with our eight-year-old, five-year-old, and toddler, and there was definite fun for everyone.

And it was relatively inexpensive, too. The cost was $5 per child, and adults are free with a paid admission. Children 12 months and under are free.

There is also a pool and track area, which costs more to use, but there was definitely enough to do in the play park.

The Peak provides climbing, crawling, slip-sliding adventures through the northwoods. There’s a climbing wall and a look-out area, as well as an area for toddlers that includes climbing, crawling, sliding, and bouncing in an inflatable air bounce that is geared just for them.

The PlayPark also has the Great Hall, a large multipurpose space for kids to play with balls and other gym activities, such as scooters, basketball hoops, and, when we were there, a large inflatable air bounce. Birthday parties can also take place in the park. (And it was clean!)

We had great family fun, climbing, sliding, bouncing, running, swinging, pushing each other on the scooters, playing basketball, and laughing.

Quote

“Everyday parenting actions, such as establishing clear rules and consequences, praising and rewarding desirable behavior, and staying involved in kids’ daily lives, help prevent drug use,” according to Amelie Ramirez, Dr. P.H., a drug abuse prevention specialist and mother.