The holidays can provide happiness and excitement as friends and family come together for celebration. While this is true for parents, the stress around holiday parties, gift buying and time constraints can lead to poor decision-making that ultimately may impact the whole family.
“There is no denying this time of the year is stressful, but with youth home from school, it’s important for parents to remember the influence their actions have on kids, even when in their teen years,” said Leslie Bloom, CEO of DrugFreeAz.org.
Whether you are setting a budget for holiday shopping or planning and participating in a holiday gathering, it is important to remember that your kids are watching your every move and being a good role model is important.
So, where do you start?
“First, make it a priority to talk with your kids about making healthy decisions,” said Bloom.
With freedom from homework and school responsibilities, kids find themselves with nothing to do. Unfortunately, this is a time when drugs and alcohol may enter into the mix. Every year we hear the heart-wrenching stories of kids who are hurt or worse, killed, as a result of drugs and alcohol. In fact, car accidents are the number-one cause of death among minors, 60 percent of which involved drinking and driving.
“As a parent, you are your child’s first role model,” said Bloom. “While talking with your kids about healthy decisions around the holidays is of the utmost importance, your actions tend to speak louder than your words.”
- Just because the kids are on vacation doesn’t mean it’s time to relax on the rules. Store alcohol in a safe place, keep an eye out for signs of drug use and drinking and remind your children of the consequences.
- Talk with your kids about your expectations for them at holiday parties and family gatherings where alcohol might be present. Don’t forget to reinforce the idea that while adults might be drinking, alcohol is not a party favor for everyone.
Do not drink excessively at holiday parties. If you are hosting a party or family get together, make sure that your guests have arranged for a sober driver and that there are plenty of non-alcoholic refreshments available.
While guiding your kids to make healthy decisions around the holidays, it’s certainly not the only thing parents need to remember to do.
Being a good role model financially should be a priority for parents as well.
“It’s never too early for kids to learn about money, and the holidays provide a great opportunity to teach kids about financial concepts like budgeting and saving,” said Trevor Bush, vice president & manager, Arizona retail banking division at Washington Federal.
Whether shopping for gifts for friends and family or planning a holiday gathering, here are some things to consider when it comes to teaching your kids money management during the holidays.
- Help your children set goals for how they earn, spend and save their allowance during the holidays.
- Show your kids the importance of setting a budget and sticking to it. Remember they learn by watching you so make sure you stick to the budget you set for yourself.
- Take a hands-on approach when it comes to teaching kids about money. For example, after they set a budget, sit down with them and go through the newspaper ads and show them how to plan for the holiday gifts they want to purchase.
- Emphasize the importance of earning money and that you can only spend what you earn.
“Don’t be afraid to include your child in the budget process and make your lists for the holidays,” said Bush. “It will help teach responsibility and about the concept of earning, spending, saving and expenses.”
So challenge yourself this season to be a good role model financially and for your children’s and families’ health.
For more tips on being a good role model and about upcoming parenting workshops, visit www.DrugFreeAz.org.