How Can Parents Keep Kids Off Drugs and Alcohol

The decision to drink or use a drug ultimately lies with the child, but what can you as a parent or guardian do to prevent them from saying yes when offered alcohol or drugs?

dialog with your kids about drugs and alcohol

Explain to your child the consequences of drugs and alcohol

Here are five ways to discourage drug and alcohol abuse:

1. Be a good role model: Kids emulate their parents from the time they are babies until long into adulthood. If a teen grows up in a household that glorifies drinking and drug use, they will be more susceptible to drinking and doing drugs. Don’t vilify these substances instead make it known you are against drugs and underage drinking.

2. Pay attention to your child’s friends and attitudes: Friends can be both a positive and negative influence on children. Pay attention to those they are hanging out with. Note consistent problems, troublesome peers, or mood swings, all of which may increase their desire to try drugs or alcohol. Dialogue with your kids: Talking with your child is vital to understanding them as a person. Encourage the positive; discourage the negative by asking your child about their day. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation about drinking and drugs. Avoid controlling the conversation, lecturing or accusing. Instead let them direct the conversation. This topic is difficult for many parents so here are a few tips on talking with your child about drugs:

3. Be Honest: If your child asks about your experiences with drugs and alcohol, be truthful and upfront with them. Explain why you did what you did, how it made you feel, and why you stopped. Relate drugs to their lives: Explain to your child the consequences of drugs and alcohol and apply these to their daily life. How would being high affect extra-curricular activities or academic performance? Will drug and alcohol use stop the pursuit of personal goals?

Don’t propagandize drugs: Don’t create false horror stories and scary side effects of drugs. Children can recognize when information is too far-fetched to be believed, and it turns drugs into forbidden fruit. Give them honest facts about drugs and their side effects and explain how drugs affect young people differently than they affect adults.

be a good role model

Create an emergency plan

4. Create an emergency plan: Peer pressure is a powerful thing, and children don’t want to be embarrassed in front of their friends. You can help by creating a plan for tough situations.

Create excuses such as claiming they are drug tested at home or at work, they are using medication and/or are allergic to a drug’s ingredients. Give them a code word to text you so you can call and “force them home.” By shifting the blame to you, they can save face with their friends while still making good decisions.

5. Be the party house: If your kids want to party with friends, why not bring the friends to your place? By hosting the party, you control who comes over and what they bring into your home. Don’t hover over the party. Give them space to be themselves, but you’ll know that no matter what they do,drugs and alcohol won’t be involved.

Children are under enormous pressure from parents, teachers, friends and the media about drugs and alcohol. Peers will claim drugs are good, glorifying them as “fun” and regal the tales living life with a “buzz.” Others will proclaim drug and alcohol as bad, disparaging them and creating a daily dilemma of right and wrong choices at every turn. Role model, pay attention, dialog, have a plan and be a host. Doing so might prepare your children for situations involving drugs and alcohol and help them to make the right decision.

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