Prevention Ideas for Parents

The key to reducing the risk of substance abuse is Preventive Parenting. Sit down together and discuss your expectations. Explain that these behaviors are not allowed, why they are not allowed, and follow through with consequences. Your child/adolescent needs this external control from you at a time when his/her own internal controls are not developed. Studies also show that the likelihood of teens using drugs decreases when they know usage would upset their parents.


Characteristics of Preventative Parenting include:

  • Don't control, contribute. Give your teen positive alternatives for having a good time without alcohol or other drugs.
  • Do things with your child, but not all the time. They need their space too.
  • Talk to other parents and find out their rules. It is helpful to have support when making decisions but make sure your teens know your rules.
  • Get to know people and organizations in your community who can be used as resources for your family.
  • Take an interest in your teens' friends. The biggest indicator of whether adolescents will drink is their group of friends.
  • Be interested in social events your teen attends, as well as their academic and athletic events. It is helpful to know where your child is and who is with them.
  • Maintain communication with your children; it is the key. Concentrate more on discussion and less on establishing rules (but make sure the rules are established and known).
  • Do not deny that your teen could be using alcohol or other drugs. If you suspect he or she is a user, get help fast.
  • Model appropriate behavior. Remember, what parents do counts; parents are a child's most important influence.

Other Prevention Tips

Below are more suggestions on ways to discuss drug prevention with your teen.

  • Understanding - "I realize you are under a lot of pressure from friends to use drugs."
  • Firmness - "As your parent, I cannot allow you to engage in harmful activities."
  • Support -" I'll help you find a way to say 'no' to drugs."
  • Self-examination - "Are my own alcohol and drug consumption habits exerting a bad influence on my child?"

Prevention Does Not Begin With:

  • Sarcasm - "Do you think I don't know what you're doing?"
  • Accusations - "You're lying!!"
  • Stigmatizing - "You're a terrible person."

The Five Basic A's of Prevention

  • Be Alert to their environments.
  • Be Aware of their attitudes.
  • Be Around their activities.
  • Be Assertive in your parenting.
  • Be Awake when they come home.