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 drinking
- Begin talking with your child about not drinking alcohol/using drugs early in life and keep talking regularly.
Help kids choose friends wisely
- 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.
Know your child's activities
- Always know where your children are, who they are with, and what they are doing.
- Ensure that your kids have regular 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 anytime.
- Be sure to explain that you do trust your children, but that you love them and want to be certain they’re safe.