Parents, remember that you are important in preventing alcohol and drug abuse.
Be a role model!
Adolescents are more likely to use if their parents do, or if they have voiced that it’s normal or okay.
Communication is Key!
Talk to your children.
Ask them how their day was and listen to what they are saying. Keep the lines of communication open.
Don’t underestimate the importance of family bonding.
Pay attention to transition years in your child’s life: elementary to middle school and middle school to high school.
These years open children up to new experiences, social interactions, and new surroundings. They often become vulnerable in these new situations, and often encounter drugs and alcohol for the first time. During this time, students become more susceptible to experimenting with alcohol and other substances.
Know what’s going on at school, even if it’s not them who tell you.
Know what they’re doing with their free time.
Know who their friends are and get to know them.
Know it’s okay to say “no” to your kids.
Let children know it’s okay to say “no” to others.
Talk about the risks/dangers/consequences of alcohol and substance abuse.
Teach children about peer pressure.
Offer your children alternatives to their decisions that will keep them out of trouble.
Get them involved!
If your child(ren) says they’re bored, get them involved! Boredom is a frequent cause for initial drug use. Encourage participation in organized activities, including volunteer, sports, and clubs.
Don’t ignore the signs!
If you suspect your child is using drugs and/or alcohol:
Confront your child calmly and with respect, and never when they’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Talk in a quiet, uninterrupted place about the consequences of what they’re doing.
MORE Tips for Preventing Youth Addiction
- Don’t Be Afraid to Say No: Sometimes, our fear of negative reaction from our friends, or others we don’t even know, keeps us from doing what we know is right. Real simple, it may seem like “everyone is doing it,” but they are not. Don’t let someone else make your decisions for you. If someone is pressuring you to do something that's not right for you, you have the right to say no, the right not to give a reason why, and the right to just walk away.
- Connect With Your Friends and Avoid Negative Peer Pressure: Pay attention to who you are hanging out with. If you are hanging out with a group in which the majority of kids are drinking alcohol or using drugs to get high, you may want to think about making some new friends. You may be headed toward an alcohol and drug problem if you continue to hang around others who routinely drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, abuse prescription drugs or use illegal drugs. You don't have to go along to get along.
- Make Connections With Your Parents or Other Adults: As you grow up, having people you can rely on, people you can talk to about life, life’s challenges and your decisions about alcohol and drugs is very important. The opportunity to benefit from someone else’s life experiences can help put things in perspective and can be invaluable.
- Enjoy Life and Do What You Love - Don’t Add Alcohol and Drugs: Learn how to enjoy life and the people in your life, without adding alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and drugs can change who you are, limit your potential and complicate your life. Too often, “I’m bored” is just an excuse. Get out and get active in school and community activities such as music, sports, arts or a part-time job. Giving back as a volunteer is a great way to gain perspective on life.
- Follow the Family Rules About Alcohol and Drugs: As you grow up and want to assume more control over your life, having the trust and respect of your parents is very important. Don’t let alcohol and drugs come between your and your parents. Talking with mom and dad about alcohol and drugs can be very helpful.
- Get Educated About Alcohol and Drugs: You cannot rely on the myths and misconceptions that are out there floating around among your friends and on the internet. Your ability to make the right decisions includes getting educated. Visit Learn About Alcohol and Learn About Drugs. And, as you learn, share what you are learning with your friends and your family.
- Be a Role Model and Set a Positive Example: Don’t forget, what you do is more important than what you say! You are setting the foundation and direction for your life; where are you headed?
- Plan Ahead: As you make plans for the party or going out with friends you need to plan ahead. You need to protect yourself and be smart. Don’t become a victim of someone else’s alcohol or drug use. Make sure that there is someone you can call, day or night, no matter what, if you need them. And, do the same for your friends.
- Speak Out/Speak Up/Take Control: Take responsibility for your life, your health and your safety. Speak up about what alcohol and drugs are doing to your friends, your community and encourage others to do the same.
- Get Help!: If you or someone you know is in trouble with alcohol or drugs, (What to Look For), get help. Don’t wait. You are not alone.