Kids hear about drugs everywhere: in music, movies, the news, and on TV. They hear about it online, in things like YouTube videos, or on apps like Instagram or Snapchat. They might see people doing drugs on the street or even in their own home. They might hear other kids talking about it at school, parties, or even on the playground. The teen years are the most likely time for someone to try drugs, and that can lead to drug problems when they grow up.
There are many things you can do to help your children stay away from drugs and make good choices:
- Talk with your children about drugs before they are teens.
Explain why taking drugs can hurt their health, their friends and family, and their future. Tell them you don't want them to take drugs that they aren’t supposed to. You can also share the websites found in the Drug Use Prevention Phone Numbers and Websites section. Repeat these messages during their teen years.
- Text your teen.
Send positive text messages to your teen. Or send a text after you have a conversation that reminds them of your talk. You don't have to worry about popular texting language. Just write the way you talk. Tell them you are proud of them.
- Be a part of their lives.
Spend time together. Even when times are hard, kids can make it when they know that the adults in their life care about them. Give your child your full attention. Turn off your TV, cell phone, or computer, and really listen.
- Know where your children are and what they're doing.
Keeping track of your children helps you protect them. It gives them fewer chances to get into drugs.
- Set clear rules and enforce them fairly.
Kids need rules they can count on. That is how they learn for themselves what is safe and what can get them in trouble. Explain why you are setting a rule so they understand why it matters.
- Be a good example for your children.
You might not think so, but kids look up to their parents. Show them how you get along with people and deal with stress. This can teach them how to do it.
- Make your home safe.
Know the people you have in the house. Try not to have people over who misuse drugs and alcohol. Keep track of medicines and cleaning products you have in the house.
For more advice, visit:
- Family Checkup on the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) website
- Keeping Youth Drug Free - SAMHSA, Online Publication
- Opioids and Adolescents - Office of Adolescent Health
- Talk to Your Kids About Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs - healthfinder.gov
- Video: "Adolescent Substance Use, Addiction, and Treatment" with Sarah Bagley, M.D. - Office of Adolescent Health