First posted: January 2002
YOUNGSTERS’ summer problems can be avoided if parents learn how to assess their children, an innovative psychologist has said.
Robert R Butterworth PhD has developed a “summer trouble index” to help parents assess children’s reactions to issues such as summer school, parental supervision and summer jobs.
The index can help parents allocate their offspring to particular behavioral groups, based on factors such as grade achievements, academic motivation, home and school behavior, and any problems with drugs or alcohol.
“Once parents are able to identify where their youngster fits in the three summer trouble index categories, it becomes easier for parents to determine the correct emphasis of study, play and work during the summer vacation,” said Dr Butterworth.
While perhaps seeming most innocuous, play can have its own risks. Summer backyard drownings have become an increasing problem in the US.
Each year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control, more than 400 children under the age of 14 drown in backyard swimming pools, and another 1,500 children suffer permanent brain damage in near-drowning incidents.
Todd Appleman, president of company supplying pool alarms, said: “In fact, drowning is the second most common cause of death for children under 14.”
How many adolescent drownings were linked to drug or alcohol use was not stated.
Simply “saying no” to drugs or alcohol may encourage teenage rebelliousness, so parents may be better advised to encourage good sense and responsibility among teens left to fend for themselves during the hot summer months.