Supporting strong family connections has helped to bring down high risk (binge) drinking and marijuana use among youth in Vermont. Family programs promote healthy family relationships and strengthen parenting skills to help prevent alcohol or other drug abuse by Vermonters, now and in the future.
The use of alcohol or drugs early in life can have a negative impact on physical and/or emotional health. Substance use can prevent proper brain development during a critical age and impact daily brain functioning. Helping adolescents and young adults make healthy choices is critically important.
For more information on adolescent brain development, check out webinar by Kreig Pinkham, Washington County Youth Service Bureau Executive Director, "Risk, Reward and Resiliency – A Strength-based Approach to Understanding Youth and Substance Use."
All teens are at risk of substance abuse and other serious issues, but parents can be their #1 influence. Parent Up Vermont helps parents talk with their teens, no matter what their parenting style.
Project Rocking Horse
Project Rocking Horse is an educational support group that serves low-income pregnant and parenting women who are at risk for alcohol or drug abuse – or who are experiencing the effects of a partner’s substance abuse. The project is designed to provide knowledge, build skills, and offer a safe and caring climate for pregnant and parenting women to discuss their needs, problems and issues.
Women in Project Rocking Horse have reported positive changes following the 10-week course, including:
- Decreased binge drinking patterns
- Increased perception of ability to cope with stress
- Increased sense of social support
- Decrease in problem relationships
Parenting education programs give parents the skills and knowledge they need to help guide their children through adolescence. Parenting education programs are supported by the Health Department but are implemented regionally.
Family Matters, Nurturing Parent Program, Guiding Good Choices, Strengthening Families, Active Parenting, and Parenting Wisely are examples of parenting education programs that have the following goals:
- Better parental communication and disciplinary skills
- Prevent/treat child abuse and neglect
- Prevent alcohol, tobacco or other drug use