Raising healthy and responsible teenagers is one of the most difficult tasks for parents today. As children grow older, they become more susceptible to peer pressure and the negative influences generated by society.
1. Be there for your teen when he needs to get out of a bad situation.
Be 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.
This will help you know what your teen is doing and you may make a good friend to boot!
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.
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.
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 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.
7. Be a role model.
If you drink, drink responsibly – and don’t ever use illegal drugs.
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 by doing things together as a family.
Make this a routine outing and have your teen help plan it. Eat family meals together. Studies have shown that kids who enjoy dinner together with their parents on a normal basis are less likely to become involved with drugs.
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.