Most teens have been exposed to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs in some form, and they've already started to form their own opinions about using these substances. In your conversations with your teen, keep their knowledge in mind. Be firm in enforcing the family policy about drug use, but continue to have open, nonjudgmental conversations, and encourage your child to ask questions.
Tips for Parents
Continue to spend private time with your child.
Ask about what's going on in his life and what he thinks about his future. Really listen to what he tells you. Ask details about what your kid is doing. Although teens long for
independence, they need the solid grounding of their families. Keep him involved in
family activities, such as dinner and vacations.
Chances are your teen knows people who use alcohol and drugs. Talk about the specific dangers of alcohol. For example, the adverse health effects, the risk of violence, and how easily someone can lose control and become an addict. Use news reports of alcohol- and drug-related incidents to spur your conversations. Ask kids what they think about the situation and how it could have been avoided.
Discuss how alcohol and drug use can affect your teen's future.
For example, using alcohol or drugs can
ruin her chances of getting into college, being accepted by
the military, or being hired for certain jobs. Driving while under the influence can lead to losing her license, paying a fine, and being arrested, not to mention the serious risk of injury and death to herself and others.
Limit idle time.
When kids are unsupervised and bored, they are more likely to get involved with drugs and alcohol than if they are busy with activities or school work. Encourage your teenager to join a sports club, drama
club, arts and crafts center, or dance studio, or to volunteer
with a church group or community organization. Volunteer with your teenager,
if you have time.
Expose kids to the effects of alcohol and drugs.
Encourage your teen to volunteer somewhere they can see the impact of drug use on people and communities. Teenagers tend to be idealistic and want to help make the world a better place. Some options include homeless shelters, hospitals, phone hotlines, drug prevention programs, or victim services centers.
Get involved in the community.
Plan alcohol- and drug-free activities with other families
and with the community. For example, outings during school vacations, parties, dances, and midnight basketball.
Show your love.
Compliment and encourage your teen for the all the things he does well and for the positive choices he makes. Let him know that he is seen and appreciated. And let him know how you appreciate what a good role model he is for his younger brother or sister, or for other kids in the community. Teens still care what their parents think. Let him know how deeply disappointed you would be if he started using drugs.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a