you would like more tips on communication and parenting, visit
a Web site designed to help parents help kids stay safe and
drug-free. The site offers specific information about marijuana
and other drugs and a brochure called "Keeping Your Kids
Drug-Free: A How-to Guide for Parents and Caregivers,"
which may also be ordered by phone at 1-800-788-2800. Or call
Majken Whitaker (730-2503) or Kierstin Montaño (365-8043), Hanover
County Intervention Counselors.
Moments in the Car
Teachable Moments in the Car
From the work of Katherine Shaver, Washington Post Staff Writer
Getting stuck in traffic can mean family bonding time. "It's kind of
enforced intimacy," "Kids are pushed in so many different
directions it's hard to get them to focus on the family. In the car,
there's not much to focus on besides you."
Some busy parents say driving through traffic has become the best way to
keep in touch with their children. Gone are the times of discussing
their days over the dinner table. If they want to catch up with their
children, they usually do it behind the wheel.
"You're in a confined space. No one can jump up and into the other
room to answer the phone or watch TV. It's a time when the parents and
children are physically together."
Billboards and DJ banter on the car radio create ways to bring up
uncomfortable topics, such as drugs or sex, in a casual way. Some
parents say that driving the carpool for preteens and teenagers gives
them a rare chance to be within earshot of their children's world.
Psychologists and parenting experts say their instincts tell them that
the car isn't the ideal place for bonding. The inability to maintain eye
contact can make conversations less intimate, they say, and parents may
end up using it as a substitute for interacting more at home. But family
therapists, while agreeing that bonding in the car isn't ideal, say busy
families should take advantage of whatever time they find together, even
if it's a few minutes on the drive to school.
Driving time can be one of those "teachable moments" between
parents and children. A television ad for an anti-drug campaign shows a
mother and son riding along in silence for about 20 seconds before the
announcer says, "Another missed opportunity to talk with your child
about marijuana." Take
advantage of these teachable moments to talk with your kids.
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