ParentIN wants you to focus on:
You are an incredibly important influence on your child's decision making
- Create opportunities for discussion about drug and alcohol use
- Discuss real situations where your child might be encouraged to use. Brainstorm and practice ways to say no or get out of the situation.
Create a positive, loving environment at home and in your community
- Schedule times to do fun activities together on a regular basis.
- Notice and compliment the good things you see your child do/say. Try to maintain at least a 4-to-1 ratio of positive comments to negative ones.
- In correcting behavior or giving consequences, make sure your child knows that he or she is still loved.
- Encourage healthy relationships for your child with other adult role models.
Enjoy daily interaction with your preteen. Teens who feel close to their parents are less likely to use substances.
- Make time daily to talk with your children about their interests and activities. Ask about their lives, hopes, fears and concerns.
- Stay actively involved in helping your child succeed in school.
- Eat dinner together together as a family regularly. Research shows teens who regularly eat as a family (at least five times per week) are 33 percent less likely to use alcohol.
Establish clear rules and consequences
- Set clear rules about not drinking alcohol while underage or using other substances and establish firm consequences for drinking/using
Teach the risks of underage substance use
- Begin talking with your child about not drinking alcohol/using drugs early in life and keep talking regularly.
Help kids choose friends wisely and know their activities
- Always know where your children are, who they are with, and what they are doing. If your child’s friends drink, your child is much more likely to drink, too. Peers who drink are the single greatest risk factor for underage alcohol use.
- Get to know your kid's friends and their friend's parents. Discuss your no-alcohol policy with your kid's friends and their parents. Enlist their support to help keep your kids in an alcohol-free environment.
- Children need fun and to take risks. Help provide safe, enjoyable, substance-free fun, and healthy risk-taking for your kids and their friends.
- Always know where your children are, who they are with, and what they are doing.
- Ensure that your kids have regularly planned activities (not too much time alone) and appropriate adult supervision.
Ensure a substance-free environment
- If your child goes to a friend’s house, call to make sure parents will be home and there will be no alcohol/substance use.
- Always keep your alcohol or other substances at home locked up and away from your kids and their friends
- Find ways to check on your kids when you are not around, either with phone calls, text messaging, or through a neighbor dropping by.
- Drop-in occasionally, unannounced. Though they may roll their eyes and seem embarrassed at your presence, the occasional surprise visit lets your children know you could stop by at any time.
- Be sure to explain that you do trust your children, but that you love them and want to be certain they’re safe.
"Search Institute has identified 40 positive supports and strengths that young people need to succeed. Half of the assets focus on the relationships and opportunities they need in their families, schools, and communities (external assets). The remaining assets focus on the social-emotional strengths, values, and commitments that are nurtured within young people (internal assets)."
- Support your child in developing positive relationships with at least three adults outside their home environment
- Encourage your child to become an active member in their community through volunteering or other service roles
- Ensure time is spent, outside of school hours, enriching your child's interests through clubs, youth programming, or home activities
- Be sure to celebrate your child's self-esteem to ensure they hold a positive identity about themselves
- Find ways for your child to commit to their learning in and out of school
- Support your child in developing core values that enrich healthy choices
- Be sure to introduce your child to other cultures to enrich their interpersonal skillset