You do what you can to keep your kids safe and healthy. However, the data suggests that your child is almost always in danger. Today, more kids are at risk of things like obesity and drug addiction than ever, and Dads Raising Daughters wants to help yours stay healthy and happy.

Here are a few alarming situations modern tweens and teens face every day, and how you can lessen their chances of becoming a statistic.

One-third of children between 12 and 17 drink energy drinks.

While a single cup of coffee might not be enough to cause long-term harm to your eighth grader, energy drinks – which are readily available at the grocery store and gas station – can be fatal. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports that kids between 12 and 17 often drink these highly caffeinated beverages. Even more alarming, many teenagers and young adults mix energy drinks with alcohol, a combination that can have a devastating effect. Encourage your children from an early age to choose water as their drink of choice. Water, unlike caffeine, won’t put a strain on the heart.

Half of all teens will misuse drugs.

It is easy to believe that your children will never become addicted to drugs. After all, you’ve been a role model, and you certainly don’t allow underage drinking. Yet, your teenager is not with you 100 percent of the time. Almost all middle and high school students are exposed to an opportunity to use drugs at some point, and about half of these students will.

The best way to keep your children clean and sober is to guide them gently but honestly when they are faced with the situation. Pay attention to their habits and don’t be afraid to step in as the gatekeeper if you notice your children drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, which are often the first step toward drug use and abuse. Get to know their friends, and make sure they are aware of the physical, financial, and emotional baggage that goes along with drug use.

Childhood obesity is at an all-time high.

Nearly 40 percent of adults are obese, so pay attention to your children’s eating and exercise habits. Not only does excess body fat make you feel uncomfortable, but a high BMI may also bring on other health conditions that can shorten your child’s lifespan. Unfortunately, childhood obesity is widespread, and the number of obese teenagers has tripled in the last few decades.

Help your child make healthy decisions by providing a variety of dining options, including fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and nonfat milk. Do not keep chips, sodas, and sweets in the house. Exercise together, even if it is just walking around the neighborhood or playing ball in the backyard. As Verywell Family explains, when these habits are modeled at home, kids are more likely to maintain them as they grow into adults.

Many (all?) parents set aside certain priorities for parenthood.

Often little ones take precedence over our own childhood dreams – especially if we have children right in the middle of pursuing them. But over time, what often accompanies getting a better grasp (ha!) on our role as a parent is [A LITTLE] more flexibility and – dare I say – time.

If you’re finding yourself with some extra capacity, it may be time to dust off some of those old priorities and focus on healthier eating, drink water throughout the day, plug into a hobby that was shelved years ago, or pursue an online degree, such as nursing, through a flexible institution to take your career goals to the next level. Think about your own lifestyle choices and the seeds you are sowing, and take a moment every day for refreshing your own behavior. You and your kids will all benefit!

There are dangers around every corner. It is your responsibility to take the lead and shine a light on the things that could hurt your children. Teaching them how to be safe and well now may prevent them from becoming a research statistic later. For more tips and information that will help your family live full, healthy lives, connect with Dads Raising Daughters.


Guest post by Amanda Henderson. Visit safechildren.info or email her at amanda@safechildren.info.