Every day in every way parents try to find the best ways to raise their children so that they can live happy healthy and productive lives.  One of the main things parents worry about is if their children will start or are already using drugs such as tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and others including prescription drugs.  The national Institute on Drug Abuse has done a study and they are showing the important role that parents play in preventing their children from starting to use drugs.  There are five questions you can ask yourself.  These were developed by the Child and Family Center at the University of Oregon.  These talk about skills that are important in preventing the initiation and progression of drug use among youth.  Here are the questions:

Are you able to communicate calmly and clearly with your teenager regarding relationship problems?

Do you encourage positive behaviors in your teenager on a daily basis?

Are you able to negotiate emotional conflicts with your teenager and work toward a solution?

Are you able to calmly set limits when your teenager is defiant or disrespectful?  Are you able to set limits on more serious problem behavior such as drug use, if or when it occurs?

Do you monitor your teenager to assure that s/he does not spend too much unsupervised time with peers?

When you develop good communication between you and your teenager it creates strong family relationships and then you can catch problems early, support positive behavior and stay aware of what is happening in your teenager’s life. Waiting to address these issues may result in catching the problem to late, and outside help like drug rehab might be needed.

Encouragement is key to building confidence and a strong sense of self.  You want your child to feel good about themselves so that they can try new activities, develop new friendships and explore their creativity.

You can teach your child how to focus on solutions rather than problems.  They can learn possible outcomes of behavior and maybe even learn communication skills.  All this can come from parents negotiating solutions to solve problems.

You as a parent can learn to set limits that will teach self control and responsibility.  Parents need to provide their children with guidelines and teach them that following rules is important for their success in life.

Parents need to know their children’s friends and peers so that you can know how to reduce conflict with them and teach responsibility.  Their friends mean a lot to them and they may be subject to peer pressure.  So knowing these friends will help you help them if something arises.

All of these things really do matter.  It may be presented to you in an intellectual way but if you read carefully what it all means is to love and listen to your teenagers.  They do need your help even though they act like that is the last thing they want or need.

If your child may have a drug abuse problem, visit our website.