Summit Encourages Parents to Speak Frankly with Children about Substance Abuse

My Choice Matters Parenting SummitHYANNIS – Convincing parents of the need to speak frankly and openly with their children about substance abuse was the primary focus Sunday of the first My Choice Matters: Parenting to Prevent Substance Use Sunday in Hyannis.

Representatives from the Barnstable County Regional Substance Use Council and the Department of Human Services were present, as well as many other related services and nonprofits.

Human Services Director Elizabeth Albert said that the department’s research with focus groups indicated that children may be more receptive to hearing facts from their parents, rather than having them say “just don’t do it.”

“Parents are the most important influence in their children’s’ decision making,” she said. “Kids can put parents off, so this is really about empowering parents and that they need to take the time to sit and communicate with kids.”

Albert says she recommends parents bring up any familial history of addiction, or share their own personal history with drugs or alcohol if applicable.

The summit also brought in Dr. Ruth Potee to discuss how alcohol and drugs affect the developing youth brain.

My Choice Matters Parenting Summit

A panel of health experts focused on specific age ranges and their unique challenges. Executive Director of Cape Cod Children’s Place Cindy Horgan spoke to parents of children ages 0 to 7 regarding the construction of stronger families.

Protection and prevention was the theme of a talk given to parents of children in the 8 to 14 year old range.

Combating teen stress was also addressed for parents with older children.

The Parent Summit is part of a larger initiative called My Choice Matters, which focuses on the importance of making wise decisions.

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