Parents Corner: August 2021

ODP wants to acknowledge, support, and celebrate parents, mentors, teachers, and coaches. You are the real change-makers. The work of a parent can feel endless, and 2020 drove home that point. Our fast-paced world exposes children to new hazards that are hard to track. Technological advances move fast and open our kids to unknown risks through television marketing, social media, and even in local convenience stores. Change is inevitable, so we all need to stay informed and help minimize danger to our children by helping them navigate hard decisions and make healthy choices.

Tall Cop Says Stop

Last month the ODP staff attended the Northwest Alcohol and Substance Abuse Conference (NWASA) and came back with information parents might find helpful. Some of the information was quite startling. Substances like Delta 8, kava, and kratom, located in convenience stores and online in the U.S., aren’t yet regulated and pose serious dangers. Officer J. Galloway, who coordinates conferences all over the United States for law enforcement and school districts, listed numerous examples of products sold in vape shops, truck stops, and convenience stores in his keynote presentation.

Most of us assume a substance is safe if you can buy it at the corner drug store. However, new substances can enter the U.S., bypass regulators, and head straight into our children’s hands and mouths. Find out more on Officer Galloway’s website:

Project Filter

Project Filter reminded us that young people desire accurate information, not scare tactics. Kids don’t want lectures. They don’t like lessons about how they will turn into a horned toad if they vape. They want to know the actual health implications. And, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that breathing in chemicals, many of which are found in car exhaust, isn’t healthy.

Project Filter is a prevention-based program available free to youths and adults who need help ending their addiction to vaping and smoking tobacco.

If you or your child needs help ending an addiction to vaping or smoking, Project Filter is entirely confidential, and they provide free cessation assistance. To Find out more, go to

Social Media

Last year, most kids spent more time buried in screens, making them vulnerable to even more marketing to people who make their money by the click.

Our children are receiving messaging so customized it goes straight to what motivates them. I was shocked to learn in a lecture by Boise County Sheriff’s Office Deputy David Gomez about the hazards of social media. If you want to educate yourself about what your children face online, I recommend following Officer Gomez’s Facebook page.

Just because your kids have not left their room does not mean they are safe.

Karen Wiliams says, “Breath”

Williams is an educator and social worker, gifted at explaining the neuroscience of our children’s growing brains in simple terms. She says that a young person’s brain continues to develop well into their twenties. So that doughy-eyed look they give you is not an act. Williams suggested teaching youths how to manage stress and offered helpful tools to deal with stress without using drugs or alcohol. Karen’s talk focused on the differences between the adolescent brain and how acknowledgment is critical when working with teens.

Unmitigated stress on our children impacts their ability to cope. We can help our youth navigate the obstacles of life with simple tools like deep breathing.

Breathing comes naturally to us, but we seldom think about the importance a deep belly breath can have on our mental health. Karen Williams spoke to the NWASA Conference about the need to teach our kids to breathe deep, take a breath and activate our parasympathetic nervous system.

Resources for families: