Thoughtful Parenting: Stop teen boredom

Colleen O’Gorman/For the Steamboat Today

According to a study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 52 percent of teens are at risk for substance abuse if they have any one of three risk factors: stress, frequent boredom or too much spending money.

This article will describe some helpful tips to keep your teen active in the Yampa Valley. When you talk to a teen about what’s going on in his or her life, you might hear the same answers a lot: “Nothing;” “School is boring;” “Life is boring;” and so on.

The boring word is used excessively with teens. The dictionary states that to bore means “to weary by dullness, tedious repetition, and unwelcome attention.”

The best tip is to talk to your teen and understand his or her interests. Young people need help and guidance finding constructive things to do, and they may need help discovering their interests.

Find one thing that sparks an interest and then let them know how they can develop that interest. Some teens do not like to be told to do anything by their parents, so we recommend you make constructive things to do more accessible for your teen by showing them what is available. This will help your teen take charge and feel like he or she is in control.

Maybe their interests are snow sports, indoor sports, art, volunteering, school clubs, reading or wanting some responsibility with a job. The key is to support your teen in his or her positive interest before it is too late and his or her interest turns negative with the use of drugs and/or alcohol and depression. Parents are the greatest tool in resisting substance use.

The study by CASA also found that when comparing teens who were given $15 per week to $50 per week spending money, trying cigarettes went from 13 percent to 34 percent, trying alcohol went from 26 percent to 61 percent, and trying marijuana went from 9 percent to 33 percent. Increase spending money may lead to more than double the chances of possible problems. It is important that teens learn financial money matters, but it is equally as important that they are engaged in meaningful, positive activities allowing their interests and self-esteem to flourish.

Luckily we live in a place that is plentiful with fun, positive and safe activities for middle school and high school kids to do all year long. Here is a list of some teen activities happening in the next couple of months and where to find more information:

• Starting Jan. 30, the last afterschool Friday of each month from 4 to 7 p.m., a Boys & Girls Club middle school member can bring a friend to the club. These other dates include Feb. 27, March 27, April 17 and May 29.

• Support your local teens in the 2015 Dance Showcase, which is Jan. 22, 23 and 24

• On Jan. 30, all high school students can join the broomball tournament after the Sailors hockey game at 9 p.m.

• From Feb. 4 to 8, it’s the Steamboat Springs 102nd annual Winter Carnival. For more information and events, go to

• Support your Sailors hockey and basketball teams all season long. Get more information at

• Look out for high school-age events at Look out for middle school-aged events and programs at

Colleen O’Gorman is the unit director of the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs. She is a member of the local HRC and ISST groups and vice president of the Routt County Youth Services Coalition whose website can be found at

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