Sober Summer: 5 Ways to Keep Your Teen on Track

May 30, 2019
Sober Summer: 5 Ways to Keep Your Teen on Track

The end of the school year is upon us, and with it comes dread and anxiety for many parents. Beyond the added headache of having the kids hanging around the house all day, the boredom of empty summer days can lead teens into dangerous predicaments with serious consequences. Left unsupervised and with nothing to do, teens may find themselves in legal trouble or taking life-threatening risks. This is especially true for teens who already have a history of troubling behavior including substance abuse.

While staying busy during the school year can help teens in recovery stay committed to sobriety, boredom is a huge trigger. Left without direction or something to do, it’s easy to fall back on old habits to fill the time. Keeping your child occupied throughout the summer can help safeguard your teen against the dangers of relapse. Here’s 5 ways to keep your teen on track for a sober summer.

Teen Summer Jobs

Getting a summer job is a great way for teens to learn responsibility and gain a little bit of independence. By earning their own money, your teen can learn how to budget and save for the things they really need or want. Grocery stores, retail, and food service are great first jobs for teens to work over the summer, and often these businesses are looking for extra hands. Additionally, having prior work experience can make it easier to find employment after graduation.

Volunteer Work

Volunteering may not earn your teen any income, but it looks great on college or university applications. Volunteer opportunities at animal shelters, hospitals, libraries, and homeless shelters also help to expand your teen’s world view and teaching valuable life lessons. Encourage your teen to look for volunteer opportunities that align with their personal interests!


Seeing the world is another great way for your teen to spend the summer! Getting away from the people and places that can trigger urges for substance use helps to promote continued sobriety. Experiencing new cultures and trying new things also broadens your teen’s worldview, even if it’s just a trip to another city to see distant family members. Travel for Teens is a great resource for planning a safe, structured, and educational trip for you and your child this summer.

College Prep

There’s no such thing as too early to start preparing for college! Even if your teen is just entering high school, a summer college prep program is great for helping them plan the course of their high school career and higher education. For teens in recovery, having the guidance and support toward building their future is vital to long-term success. Summer college prep programs include SAT and ACT test preparation, assistance applying for scholarships, or applying to the chosen school.

Family Fun

The easiest way to make sure you know what your teen is up to this summer is to make your own family fun plans! Even if you can’t afford a lavish vacation, take some time to visit your local attractions like parks, zoos, or amusement parks. Lots of attractions offer discounts over the summer you can take advantage of for affordable fun.

Jenna Nolan

Jenna Nolan is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Jenna enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.