Parent Info

Parent Strategies For Prevention of Adolescent Drug Abuse

Parents! Check out this great website for more info: Parents: The Anti-Drug
  • Be aware that nearly all children must make decisions about drug use and form attitudes about drugs in their formative years.
  • Become educated and informed about drugs and their effects. Be a credible source of information to your child. Do not exaggerate the effects of a given drug. It only widens the credibility gap. If you tell your child that he will go crazy if he uses marijuana and then he tries it and he doesn’t go crazy, he will not heed any of your drug information in the future or information provided by others.
  • The biggest mistake parents make is believing that their children will never use drugs. They ignore all the warning signs and then are shocked when they receive a phone call from the school, police or another parent.
  • Become aware of the “do drug” messages and enter communications with your children about those messages. Discuss what your feelings are — not what you think. Ask the child what he feels about things — not what he thinks.
  • Take a firm anti-drug stand with young people and adults. Let all segments know that your children are not allowed to use drugs, including the narcotic drug “alcohol”.
  • Back up the “no drug” rule with a clear and consistent set of behavioral rules and be willing to enforce them — do not back down.
  • Take positive steps to strengthen family unity and communication. Parents only communicate with children to tell them to make the bed, feed the dog and carry out the trash. Two minutes per day is used to build a capable young person. Plan a family activity once a week with no one other than immediate family. Each person takes turns planning, not put-downs, no evaluations, etc. Your attitude must be one of “gratitude”. The activity will become exciting, sharing and trusting when you “cop the attitude of gratitude”. Accept your child as he or she is so they may grow. Don’t tell then what they should think or how they should feel.
  • Take your child for an ice-cream cone or lunch once a month. Ask then what were the five most important things that happened to them last month and LISTEN. Don’t evaluate or judge — JUST LISTEN. Then share back about your five most important things and don’t make them all positive. Don’t be the perfect macho person who never feels bad and who has everything under control.
  • Don’t tell your children little white lies. The truth will always set you free.
  • Don’t adopt an attitude of “so what’s wrong with a few drugs? I raised a little cane when I was young.” This attitude is naive and dangerous. Such an attitude allows a child to go through adolescence without learning social skills and coping skills. If and when the young person stops using drugs, they will be ill-equipped to deal with adult problems. In addition, the damage that occurs from drugs is tremendous and very dangerous.
  • Another mistake made by parents is they tend to go to one of two extremes when drug use is determined. They either kick the child out of the house or allow him/her to continue using because they don’t know how to stop it. Parents must set realistic, clear and consistent limits on behavior.
  • Set as few rules as possible – then stick to them. Avoid getting into battles over trivial issues. Each nagging word weakens your position until you reach a point where what you say is meaningless to your child and he just tunes you out. So save your disapproval and discipline for something important.
  • Expect your rules to be tested. Every child tests the boundaries of acceptable behavior as a part of growing up. So bear in mind that this period of testing is a positive one, even though it may be upsetting for you.
  • Don’t moralize. As they test standards of behavior, teenagers may say things that astound you. But nothing turns them off faster than hearing you preach to them, particularly when you repeat the same message over and over.
  • Always listen attentively but respect their privacy. It hurts a child’s feeling if you’re too busy to listen to him. Teenagers need responsive feedback from their parents, and the best way to give it is listen when they talk.
  • Maintain the generation gap. Teenagers resent parents who try to be a part of their world just as much as they are offended by indifference or rejection. Take a stand on your own ideas and values even when they do differ from your son’s or daughter’s.
  • Try not to make promises that you can’t keep. If you must break a promise, try to have an excuse that is valid in your teenagers eyes, then plan to make it up to him some time.
  • Let your teenagers work out their own life-styles. Learn to accept their individuality just as you accept the individuality of adults. So don’t hold up the son or daughter of a friend or relative as an example of a satisfactory child.
  • Enlist the help of your older children in understanding younger ones. If you have two, children in or approaching adolescence, ask you older child for advice or insight regarding the younger one. Brothers and sisters know things about each other you don’t.
  • Don’t be afraid to admit that you can make mistakes too. Showing a teenager that you are not inflexible or dictatorial will allow them to rely on you more, not less.
  • Let your children know that they mean everything to you. If your teenager accomplishes something that you are proud of, praise him for it. All young people need love and respect, so give it to them freely. Your teenage needs to know that you love him or her no matter what happens.
  • Read This Memo From Your Child