Take Time To Talk
Being a parent is intensely rewarding, but also challenging. Parents work to keep their kids safe and healthy while helping them grow into independent, well-adjusted young adults. The Union County Drug Free Youth Coalition wants to remind parents that nationally 74% of youth indicate that their parents are the biggest influence on their child’s decision about using substances. Take the time to talk to your child and engage them in conversations about your expectations and their understanding of substance use. Here are some key ideas:
Respect teens’ urge for independence while setting limits. It is important to set clear rules and expectations around substance use. Discuss your family’s rules and agree on the consequences for breaking the rules.
Resist the temptation to tell your teen how to react. Listen to what they tell you about what other teens are doing. It is a good indication of the choices teens face. Hear their concerns and offer clear-headed guidance.
Encourage teens to make their own choices, even relatively minor ones, as often as you can. This gives the message that you are allowing your teen to make choices and helps them practice making good choices.
Know where your teen is and let them know you are asking out of love not lack of trust. Check in often. Know their friends personally.
More Resources to Help You Start Talking
The Know! drug prevention and awareness program from Drug Free Action Alliance targets parents and caregivers of middle school students and empowers them to raise their children substance-free with a twice monthly electronic newsletter about current drug trends and other hot topics.