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Prevent Your Teen from Taking Drugs

Things Parents Can Do to Prevent Drug Use

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When it comes to teen drug use, an ounce of prevention is worth so much more than a pound of cure. Follow these tips on preventing teen drug use and you will enjoy a drug-free family.

1. Be there for your teen when he needs to get out of a bad situation.

Peer pressure is hard to deal with for every teen. You can help your teen deal with saying no to drugs to their peers by being the scapegoat: "I can't do that, my parents would kill me!" Or be the parent who will pick up your teen without repercussions if he finds the party he's gone too has drugs available or her date has been drinking.

2. Get to know your teen's friends and their parents on a first name basis.

Want to know what your teen is up to? Ask their friends. They may not share everything, or much of anything, but you will get a general idea if there are any risk-taking behaviors going on just by how the other teen acts. This is especially true when you get to know your teen's friends. You will also have stronger support for keeping your teen from taking drugs if you know your teens friend's parents well enough to use their first name. Building a relationship with them, casual is fine, will give you a leg up if you ever find your teen is doing drugs.

3. Keep connected in the after school hours.

If you can't be home with your teen, call and leave notes. Have another adult supervise your teen or sign him up for an after school program. If these things aren't possible, establish a routine for your teenager and keep him busy during this time. After-school hours is the single most important time to know where your teens are and what they are doing as statistics show 3 p.m. through 5 p.m. is a choice time for teens to use drugs. You can prevent your teen from doing drugs at this time through supervision.

4. Talk to your teen often about drugs.

Use ice breakers from television shows or the radio in the car. Remember these are conversations, not lectures. And don't be afraid to bring up the topic of drugs. Kids as young as preschool are taught about drug use in school in positives ways. Your teen knows all about them by the time they get to middle school or high school. When you open the topic of drugs up in conversation, you are letting your teen know that you are available if they need to talk, which is an excellent way to prevent your teen from taking drugs.

5. Get your teen involved in extra-curricular activities.

Schools offer sports or clubs and community organizations offer classes and youth groups. These will help him mold his identity in a positive way and give him less time doing nothing and becoming bored. Studies have shown teens that have less time to just hang out and spend more time in organized activities are less likely to do drugs.

6. Ask questions when your teen makes plans to go out.

Who will he be with, where is he going, what will he be doing, etc. Then check up on him. Call other parents and do this together. Teens who think they will get caught will be less likely to do drugs.

7. Be a role model.

If you drink, drink responsibly - and don't ever use illegal drugs. You may think that your kids don't know that you are using, but they do or they will find out eventually. If you do take drugs, seek help and show your teen that you are taking responsibility for your actions.

8. Unite your family against drugs using strong family beliefs.

Establish that your family doesn't use drugs. Not that you will shun your child should he make a mistake, but that your family believes there are other healthier ways to enjoy life and fix problems rather than escaping into a drug haze.

9. Connect with your teen and build strong family ties.

Do activities together as a family. Make this a routine outing and have your teen help plan it. It doesn't have to be the same activity all of the time, just as long as you spend time together. Take this opportunity to get to know your teen, their likes and dislikes and what they think about their future. Eat family meals together at least four times a week. Studies have shown that kids who enjoy dinner together with their parents on a normal basis are less likely to become involved with drugs. Being involved in activities with your teen is a great way to develop a relationship with them and build strong family ties, both of which help prevent teen drug use.

10. Drop any baggage you may be carrying.

Don't allow the mistakes you made as a teenager or young adult to influence your teen in a negative way. Tap into the mature adult you've become and let the past go.

Quick Links: How to Raise a Drug-Free Teen | Quiz: Is Your Teenager Using Drugs?

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