Contrary to what your child tells you, what you say (or don’t say) really does matter! Research shows that parents have the most influence on whether or not their child drinks alcohol or uses drugs. Parent Up encourages you to use the power of your influence to prevent youth substance use!
A Big Job with No Pay
Being a parent is hard work, probably the hardest job you’ll ever take on! New trends and substances emerge daily that threaten the safety and well-being of our children. Children face significant peer pressure to drink or experiment with vaping or other drugs. Kids and teens are also exposed to many persuasive marketing campaigns for alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs.
There is good news though – you can use your influence to affect positive change in your children’s lives! Harnessing the power of your influence can help kids and teens grow up happy, healthy, and drug-free.
Using Your Influence
By following these suggestions, you can help equip your child to make smarter, safer decisions. Underage drinking and other substance use exposes your child to many dangers, but your conversations can reduce the risk.
Starting at an early age, there are some basic steps you can take with your children to minimize your child’s risk of substance use:
- Communicate and stay involved. Use these age-appropriate Parent Up Talking Tips to help start and guide the conversation.
- Set clear expectations for behavior.
- Practice good supervision and consistent discipline.
- Minimize conflict in the family.
- Eat dinner as a family as often as possible—this is a good time to talk about the issues your children face in a non-threatening way.
Monitor and Limit Access
You can decrease your children’s risk of underage drinking or drug use by limiting their access to alcohol and any other substances you might have in the home. You can also decrease risk by setting a positive example yourself. Here are some ways you can monitor and limit alcohol and other drug access:
- Refuse to give alcohol or other drugs to your children. Underage drinking and drugs use can cause serious damage to a teenager’s developing brain.
- Check in with your teenager before and after they go out. You can use this helpful “Going Out” Checklist.
- Lock up your alcohol, prescription medications, and other substances, and make sure you monitor the quantity.
- Stay at home when your child hosts a party. Monitor the party and make sure that alcohol and other drugs in the home are secured and inaccessible to minors.
- Talk to other parents about not having alcohol (or any other drugs) at parties in their home when minors are present.
- Plan activities in your home that are free of alcohol or other drugs.
- Report underage drinking or drug use to local police. If you know of a party coming up, contact your local law enforcement agency with the name, address, and date of the party. You can also send the Parent Up Warning Letter to the adults at the residence.
- Get involved in local prevention efforts! The Northland Coalition has a local team in your area!