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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.
4. Be a positive role model.
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.
7. Be involved in your children's lives & help them find ways to have fun without alcohol.
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.
2. Kaynak Ö, Winters KC, Cacciola J, Kirby KC, Arria AM. Providing Alcohol for Underage Youth: What Messages Should We Be Sending Parents? Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2014;75(4):590-605.
3. https://www.centeronaddiction.org/addiction-research/reports/importance-of-family-dinners-2012 4. https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/parents-lenient-attitudes-towards-drinking-linked-to-greater-alcohol-use-among-children