A column by First Lady Linda Daugaard:
On Monday, Sept. 26, Dennis and I will celebrate Family Day. Family Day is a national initiative created by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse to promote family engagement as a way to help prevent substance abuse.
It’s no secret that even in South Dakota we live in a time when our kids and grandkids are pressured to participate in unhealthy activities. Smoking, drinking and using other drugs often begin in adolescence and can lead to addiction. According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, nine out of 10 Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction started smoking, drinking or using drugs before age 18.
It is crucial for the health and safety of our children that we do whatever we can to prevent substance use for as long as possible. I hope you will consider joining parents across the country in signing the Family Day STAR pledge. Commit to spending time with your family. Talk to your children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Most importantly, recognize the power you have to positively impact your kids.
On Sept. 26, do something to remind your family how much you love and support them. Find time to play with your kids, eat together as a family or just help your children with their homework. You can show your own Family Day activity by taking a selfie with your family and using the hashtag #myfamilyselfie on social media.
Parents and grandparents need to know what is on kids’ minds. It’s the little things – the everyday activities – that have a lasting impact on children, and these kinds of activities provide an opportunity for you to listen to your kids. One conversation could end up making all the difference.