When raising a teenager, it is natural to feel that there is little we can do to change his or her behavior. Furthermore, we often think that the child’s friends have much more influence over them than we do. However, clinical experience suggests that Mom and Dad are more important to their teenager than either realize. Parents can influence their teens. Why? Because teens truly care what their parents think. For example, studies show that kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs and alcohol from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use than those who do not.

On that note, here are some tips to help you discuss with your teen the dangers of drug and alcohol use:

· Use news reports or stories you’ve heard as conversation starters. If you see a news story about an alcohol-related car accident, discuss how the victims were affected. If the story is about drugs in your community, talk about the ways your community has changed as drug use has grown.

· Talk about the toxic environments and situations your child may be in that expose them to drug and alcohol use and abuse. He can educate you about what he is seeing, as you can educate him about the facts and risks involved.

· Be very definite about you feel about drug and alcohol use. Explain how it can have serious permanent consequences and put a person in risky, dangerous, and even deadly situations. Emphasize that can anybody can become a chronic user or addict. Let him know how deeply disappointed you would be if he started using drugs.

· Emphasize what drug use can do to someone’s life and future plans. Discuss how abstaining from drug use will increase his chances of creating a successful future.

· Challenge your child to be a leader among his friends and to direct his group to a productive, drug-free path.

· Compliment your teen for the all the things he does well and for the positive choices he makes. Let him know how you appreciate what a good role model he is for his younger siblings and other kids in the community.


Some of this information was adapted from this: Parenttoolkit.org