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Tips for Parents/Guardians

8 Prevention Tips for Parents/Guardians

8 Prevention Tips for Parents/Guardians

Parents are the number 1 influence on their child’s decision to use alcohol and other drugs. Learn how to keep your kids safe from the harms of alcohol and support them in making healthy decisions.

1. Talk with your child, early and often.



The sooner and more frequently we talk with our children about alcohol and other drugs, the greater chance we have of influencing their decisions.

Here are some tips for talking with your kids:

  • Know the Facts: Be a source of credible information and advice for your kids. Help them understand the short- and long-term consequences of substance use.
  • Listen, avoid criticism, and encourage an open dialogue: Kids are more likely to listen when they feel heard & know you are on their side. Remember that your goal is to have a conversation, not deliver a lecture.
  • Talk with your child in advance about situations that may arise around alcohol: Discuss together ways to avoid uncomfortable situations and peer pressure.
  • Choose the right time to talk: Daily activities, like dinner time or driving in the car, are perfect opportunities to talk about alcohol and other drugs.

Find more tips & sample conversation starters at https://www.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking

2. Set clear expectations and consequences about alcohol and drug use.

Research show that youth who believe their parents strongly disapprove of them using drugs are less likely to use them.1,4  Don’t forget to reward good decisions too.

3. Offer your child a safe ride home if they call.
Be sure your child knows that they can contact you, regardless of the situation they find themselves in.
4. Be a positive role model.
Do not normalize or glamorize alcohol or drug use. Do not allow your children or their friends to drink alcohol in your home. Research shows that parental provision of alcohol is linked to increased adolescent alcohol use and binge drinking.2 
5. Monitor your alcohol & other drugs.

This may include locking up any alcohol, prescriptions, tobacco products, and marijuana in your home.

6. Get to know your child's friends and their parents.
Share with them your rules about not allowing alcohol and other drugs.
7. Be involved in your children's lives & help them find ways to have fun without alcohol.
Plan activities as a family or encourage your child to get involved in after-school activities, sports, clubs, or community service. Something as simple as family dinners can be a huge factor in preventing alcohol and drug use.
8. Take the Parent Pledge.

Become part of a large community of  parents who want a safe, alcohol-free environment for their children. Take the pledge here. 

Learn More About Prevention Efforts in your Community

What is a Substance Use Prevention Coalition?