Family, Youth and Community Sciences News

Research-based information, resources, and tips for families, consumers, and educators; provided by the faculty of the University of Florida/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences.

Keeping Teens Out of Summer Trouble!

Family Album RadioListen to the podcast: Keeping Teens Out of Summer Trouble!

Written by: Rosemary V. Barnett ,Ph.D. and Donna Davis, M.S.

Summer is a time when teenagers are especially a challenge to manage. School’s out; parents are at work, school-based clubs and organizations don’t meet, and there are fewer opportunities to find jobs due to age or transportation restrictions. For many teens, this adds up to a long, hot summer with nothing to do except spend time with their friends and possibly get into trouble.

A recent study conducted in palm beach county examined crimes committed by juveniles processed through youth court (Barnett, Mulkerrin & Jackson, 2004). By comparing arrests by month across a three-year span (2000-2003), it was found that first arrest rates in june for the most recent year were about one and a half times what they were the year prior.

It’s important for parents and youth workers to think about what these arrest trends tell us and how to best deal with potential problems. During summer months, parents can help steer their teens in a positive direction -- encouraging involvement in hobbies, sports or volunteer activities that they may not have the time to explore during their school year.

teens on stairsIt’s also a good idea to open a discussion with your teen so they know you understand that they may sometimes have difficulty making the right decision. It is important to make them aware, however, that a poor decision may have long-term serious effects. By heightening their awareness, when a decision arises about a potentially risky behavior, it may make them think twice before acting on it.

Listening, learning and living together, it’s the science of life. “Family Album” is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences and of WUFT-FM. If you’d like to learn more, please visit our website at


Barnett, R.V., Mulkerrin, K.H. & Jackson, T.L. (2004). A Research Based Evaluation of Palm Beach County Youth Court. Gainesville, FL: Dept. of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, IFAS, University of Florida.

Daniel F. Perkins and Kate Fogarty, "Active Listening: A Communication Tool" Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida., Revised: June 2005.