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5 Tips for Helping Your Teen Make the Most of High School

5 Tips for Helping Your Teen Make the Most of High School

Chances are if you’re a parent, you understand how truly short life is. Taking your son home from the hospital feels like it was yesterday. You can still remember how delicate and fragile he felt in your arms as a newborn. Now he’s taller and stronger than you! How did that happen so quickly?

October 23 – 31 is Red Ribbon Week. The 2018 theme is “Life Is Your Journey. Travel Drug Free.”

On the journey of life, your teen will be given many choices. Help your teen make the most of high school and beyond. Take advantage of this week.

Today we want to share with you about Red Ribbon Week, the history of the red ribbon, and close with some tips you can use to help your teen make the most of their high school journey.

About Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week is one of the oldest drug and alcohol prevention campaigns in the country.

For me, this campaign was a staple on our school calendar. During Red Ribbon Week, our teachers would talk to us about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. At the end of the week, we were given the opportunity to wear a red ribbon throughout the day. This was one way to show our commitment to living healthy, drug-free lives.

As a little girl who liked to show off, the red ribbon was my favorite part. I thought the second it was pinned to my chest I was something special. In reality, I was just an ordinary girl standing for something I believed in. I had no idea about the significance of this little red ribbon.

The story behind the red ribbon

The red ribbon was first worn in remembrance of Enrique (Kiki) S. Camarena. Kiki worked for the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)  as an undercover agent. He devoted most of his adult life to his passion for fighting drug use. While working undercover in Mexico, Kiki’s life was taken far too soon. On February 7, 1985, while on his way to lunch with his wife, Kiki was kidnapped. His body was found almost a month later.

Kiki was well known throughout the DEA. In honor of his life’s work, members of his community began to wear a red ribbon. They wanted to show their dedication to continue the prevention efforts he had started.

During the same time, the National Family Partnership (NFP) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) started actively working to address these issues. These agencies honored Kiki’s life, and others like him. NFP and MADD adopted the mission that one person could make a big impact.

The first official National Red Ribbon celebration took place in 1988. Since that time, the annual campaign has reached millions of people. For one week, students across the United States wear ribbons to remember the fact that one person can make a difference.

Help your Teen Make the Most of High School 

Your teen’s school may be observing Red Ribbon Week this year. Even if they aren’t, there are still activities you can do at home with them to participate.

As a parent, you have the ability to help your teen make the most of life. Here is a list of 5 tips and talking points you can use this week to help your teen:

  • Host a fun, alcohol-free party for your teen and their friends. One of the best ways your teen can make the most of high school is to encourage healthy and positive friendships. Host a party with a red theme to celebrate Red Ribbon Week. Involve your teen in the planning, and encourage them to think of fun games or activities they can do with their friends at your home.
  • Take time to talk to your teen about what’s going on at his or her school. It can be easy to get too busy to sit down and find out what’s new at your teen’s school. Find out what new activities they are in, or what new friends they may have. This could open up a great conversation, as you share about what made your high school experience so meaningful.
  • Watch Safe and Sober’s drug prevention video at home with your child. To view the video click here. The resource is completely free. This video features the powerful story of a real Missouri family. Write a list of a few discussion questions you can use after the video ends.
  • Use Red Ribbon Week as an opportunity to talk to your kids about the dangers of drugs and underage drinking. Take your teen out for ice cream or coffee. Ask them some open-ended questions about drugs and alcohol use. Listen to their opinions, and don’t interrupt as they share with you.
  • Spend meaningful time with your teen this week. Sometimes it can be great to slow down and spend quality time together. Take them somewhere fun that they enjoy. Maybe you could go on a hike or go shopping. Spending time together will show that you care, and will also remind your teen to make the most of their daily life.


Whitney Mann