Preventing Teen Alcohol/Drug Use When You're Not Around

Reviewed Aug 31, 2017

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Summary

  • Schedule time with your teen.
  • Develop parent-teen rituals.
  • Eat dinner together.

Keeping teens from alcohol and drugs is no small task. For working parents, the summer months can present an even tougher challenge.

“The National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health” reported that parental involvement was by far the best protection from drugs and alcohol for teens in grades seven through 12. Adolescents who were least likely to use marijuana, alcohol, or nicotine reported that they felt “close” to their parents and shared a greater number of activities with them. Other protective factors included prayer, religious involvement, and high self-esteem.

Talking with your teen about drugs is only the beginning. Knowing where he is—and who he is with is critical. And no matter how busy you are, spending time with your teen is the best prevention.

Here are four strategies for keeping in touch with your teen over the summer months.

1. Schedule time with your teen.

One way to make sure you know what's going on in your kids' lives—and in their minds—is to schedule time with them. It may seem a little odd at at first, but it's a great way to check in with your teens and show them how important they are to you—that they are truly your top priority. Here are a few ideas:

  • Meet your teen for lunch during the week.
  • Take your teen out for a movie and dessert. If she wants to bring a friend, that’s OK—you can learn a great deal by watching your child socialize with her friends.
  • Spend an extra few minutes at bedtime to check in on his life and let him know that you are available to talk.
  • Plan an overnight or weekend trip to a place where you can “play” and reconnect with your teen.

2. Hold regular family meetings.

Try to set and commit to a time that works for everybody—and that you can stick to every week. Use weekly meetings to discuss:

  • Family goals and values
  • House rules—for example, who can come over when parents are away
  • Curfew and boundaries
  • Chores
  • Family activities
  • New friends
  • Review past week's high and low points
  • What's coming up over the next week
  • Vacation or weekend plans

Encourage your teen to share her concerns and ideas, and don’t be afraid to discuss the stress and challenges in your life.

3. Develop parent-teen rituals.

Look for things you and your teen can do together that you'll both recognize as "your time." Examples include:

  • Go out for breakfast on Saturdays.
  • Find a recreational activity your teen enjoys such as aerobics, weight training, swimming, biking, tennis, etc.
  • Play cards or a board game.
  • Play a computer game together—keep a running score.
  • Have a movie or video night.
  • Take short “day trips” to take in local attractions such as museums, parks, etc.

4. Eat dinner together.

Research from Columbia University found families that eat dinner together six to seven times per week are least likely to have teens that use drugs. You can start by planning just one additional dinner per week and go from there—and be sure to turn off the TV.

If you suspect your child may be using drugs or alcohol

Even in the best of circumstances some teens will experiment with drugs or alcohol. Short of directly observing drug use in your teen there is no way to know for sure. But here are a few common signs:

  • Changing friends toward kids you don’t know or don’t trust
  • Increasing violations of curfew and other family rules with implausible explanations
  • Finding lighters, pipes, or cigarette papers
  • Change in sleep patterns, eating, and personal hygiene
  • Borrowing money or missing money or valuables from the home
  • Isolation from family, for example, hiding in his room

Get help

If you suspect your teen is using drugs or alcohol, you may want to seek professional help. The toll-free telephone number on this site is a good place to start.

By Drew W. Edwards, MS
Source: “The National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health”; Journal of the American Medical Association Sept.10, 1997.

Summary

  • Schedule time with your teen.
  • Develop parent-teen rituals.
  • Eat dinner together.

Keeping teens from alcohol and drugs is no small task. For working parents, the summer months can present an even tougher challenge.

“The National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health” reported that parental involvement was by far the best protection from drugs and alcohol for teens in grades seven through 12. Adolescents who were least likely to use marijuana, alcohol, or nicotine reported that they felt “close” to their parents and shared a greater number of activities with them. Other protective factors included prayer, religious involvement, and high self-esteem.

Talking with your teen about drugs is only the beginning. Knowing where he is—and who he is with is critical. And no matter how busy you are, spending time with your teen is the best prevention.

Here are four strategies for keeping in touch with your teen over the summer months.

1. Schedule time with your teen.

One way to make sure you know what's going on in your kids' lives—and in their minds—is to schedule time with them. It may seem a little odd at at first, but it's a great way to check in with your teens and show them how important they are to you—that they are truly your top priority. Here are a few ideas:

  • Meet your teen for lunch during the week.
  • Take your teen out for a movie and dessert. If she wants to bring a friend, that’s OK—you can learn a great deal by watching your child socialize with her friends.
  • Spend an extra few minutes at bedtime to check in on his life and let him know that you are available to talk.
  • Plan an overnight or weekend trip to a place where you can “play” and reconnect with your teen.

2. Hold regular family meetings.

Try to set and commit to a time that works for everybody—and that you can stick to every week. Use weekly meetings to discuss:

  • Family goals and values
  • House rules—for example, who can come over when parents are away
  • Curfew and boundaries
  • Chores
  • Family activities
  • New friends
  • Review past week's high and low points
  • What's coming up over the next week
  • Vacation or weekend plans

Encourage your teen to share her concerns and ideas, and don’t be afraid to discuss the stress and challenges in your life.

3. Develop parent-teen rituals.

Look for things you and your teen can do together that you'll both recognize as "your time." Examples include:

  • Go out for breakfast on Saturdays.
  • Find a recreational activity your teen enjoys such as aerobics, weight training, swimming, biking, tennis, etc.
  • Play cards or a board game.
  • Play a computer game together—keep a running score.
  • Have a movie or video night.
  • Take short “day trips” to take in local attractions such as museums, parks, etc.

4. Eat dinner together.

Research from Columbia University found families that eat dinner together six to seven times per week are least likely to have teens that use drugs. You can start by planning just one additional dinner per week and go from there—and be sure to turn off the TV.

If you suspect your child may be using drugs or alcohol

Even in the best of circumstances some teens will experiment with drugs or alcohol. Short of directly observing drug use in your teen there is no way to know for sure. But here are a few common signs:

  • Changing friends toward kids you don’t know or don’t trust
  • Increasing violations of curfew and other family rules with implausible explanations
  • Finding lighters, pipes, or cigarette papers
  • Change in sleep patterns, eating, and personal hygiene
  • Borrowing money or missing money or valuables from the home
  • Isolation from family, for example, hiding in his room

Get help

If you suspect your teen is using drugs or alcohol, you may want to seek professional help. The toll-free telephone number on this site is a good place to start.

By Drew W. Edwards, MS
Source: “The National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health”; Journal of the American Medical Association Sept.10, 1997.

Summary

  • Schedule time with your teen.
  • Develop parent-teen rituals.
  • Eat dinner together.

Keeping teens from alcohol and drugs is no small task. For working parents, the summer months can present an even tougher challenge.

“The National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health” reported that parental involvement was by far the best protection from drugs and alcohol for teens in grades seven through 12. Adolescents who were least likely to use marijuana, alcohol, or nicotine reported that they felt “close” to their parents and shared a greater number of activities with them. Other protective factors included prayer, religious involvement, and high self-esteem.

Talking with your teen about drugs is only the beginning. Knowing where he is—and who he is with is critical. And no matter how busy you are, spending time with your teen is the best prevention.

Here are four strategies for keeping in touch with your teen over the summer months.

1. Schedule time with your teen.

One way to make sure you know what's going on in your kids' lives—and in their minds—is to schedule time with them. It may seem a little odd at at first, but it's a great way to check in with your teens and show them how important they are to you—that they are truly your top priority. Here are a few ideas:

  • Meet your teen for lunch during the week.
  • Take your teen out for a movie and dessert. If she wants to bring a friend, that’s OK—you can learn a great deal by watching your child socialize with her friends.
  • Spend an extra few minutes at bedtime to check in on his life and let him know that you are available to talk.
  • Plan an overnight or weekend trip to a place where you can “play” and reconnect with your teen.

2. Hold regular family meetings.

Try to set and commit to a time that works for everybody—and that you can stick to every week. Use weekly meetings to discuss:

  • Family goals and values
  • House rules—for example, who can come over when parents are away
  • Curfew and boundaries
  • Chores
  • Family activities
  • New friends
  • Review past week's high and low points
  • What's coming up over the next week
  • Vacation or weekend plans

Encourage your teen to share her concerns and ideas, and don’t be afraid to discuss the stress and challenges in your life.

3. Develop parent-teen rituals.

Look for things you and your teen can do together that you'll both recognize as "your time." Examples include:

  • Go out for breakfast on Saturdays.
  • Find a recreational activity your teen enjoys such as aerobics, weight training, swimming, biking, tennis, etc.
  • Play cards or a board game.
  • Play a computer game together—keep a running score.
  • Have a movie or video night.
  • Take short “day trips” to take in local attractions such as museums, parks, etc.

4. Eat dinner together.

Research from Columbia University found families that eat dinner together six to seven times per week are least likely to have teens that use drugs. You can start by planning just one additional dinner per week and go from there—and be sure to turn off the TV.

If you suspect your child may be using drugs or alcohol

Even in the best of circumstances some teens will experiment with drugs or alcohol. Short of directly observing drug use in your teen there is no way to know for sure. But here are a few common signs:

  • Changing friends toward kids you don’t know or don’t trust
  • Increasing violations of curfew and other family rules with implausible explanations
  • Finding lighters, pipes, or cigarette papers
  • Change in sleep patterns, eating, and personal hygiene
  • Borrowing money or missing money or valuables from the home
  • Isolation from family, for example, hiding in his room

Get help

If you suspect your teen is using drugs or alcohol, you may want to seek professional help. The toll-free telephone number on this site is a good place to start.

By Drew W. Edwards, MS
Source: “The National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health”; Journal of the American Medical Association Sept.10, 1997.

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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