Parents – You have more influence over your child than the internet, TV and their friends.
The research shows that when parents talk to their teens about the risks of drugs and alcohol, those teens are up to 50% less likely to use substances (www.drugfree.org/prevent).
Good News! In a 2011 survey, nearly 70% of Stoughton High students report that their parents / guardians talk to them about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs.
Need help having that talk? Print the “10 minutes can make a difference” card below, watch the video, or try out this sample script.
10 Minutes Talk: Example
(Example with 2 parent family, but can change to “I” or add other concerned adult)
Developed by Teresa Tapper, LMH, Senior Clinician, Stoughton Youth Commission
“Your Dad/Mom and I have been talking and we agree that it is time for us make sure we have been clear with you about our views on drugs and alcohol. You are at the age that we know that you may already have been around it, or heard about others who have been. You don’t have to tell me any details right now, if you don’t want to. That isn’t what this talk is about. I just want to let you know what our views are and to give you a chance to tell me what your views are, too. Before I say anything more, I want you to know that we care about you very much. Most importantly, we want you to be healthy, safe and happy.
So, let’s talk a few minutes …
What do you hear about drugs and alcohol use in Stoughton? (LISTEN)
What do you think about kids your age using drugs and alcohol? (LISTEN)
How will you handle it if you are offered drugs or alcohol? (LISTEN)
There may come a time when you find yourself in a situation that is uncomfortable and even potentially unsafe. I want you to have some ideas about what to do.
For example: you may be at a party with your friends and someone has brought some alcohol or drugs to share. It can be tricky to figure out what to do. Things can get out of hand really quickly in these situations.
Let’s be frank: drinking alcohol or taking any drugs is illegal activity. This is something I/we do not want you to do.
I heard about how a famous football player’s (Doug Flutie) Dad told about how he worked it out with his teens to have a code word that they used if the teen called him up and wanted to picked up from a party without having his friends know that is what he was doing. Maybe we can try something like that. Can we come up with a code word or phrase together that we can use if you need me to come get you. Any ideas?
If you ever found yourself in a situation like this or if something does happen involving you (or even one of your close friends), I want you to call me for help. Even if you are not completely innocent- (and there will be consequences and restrictions if you do get involved in anything illegal)- my job as your parent is to be there for you regardless.
The bottom line is we do not want you to get involved in drinking or drugs.
Most importantly, we want you to be healthy, safe and happy.”
If the discussion seems to be getting too emotional or your teen is becoming defensive, it is best to give them some time to settle down before re-visiting this topic. Take a break. Take a Breath. Then, try another time. Some youth do better with letters or notes, if having a one-on-one discussion is too charged. Make sure they know your specific “bottom lines”.
How To Explain to Your Teen Why You Don’t Want Him Drinking or Using Drugs (from The Partnership at Drugfreeorg www.drugfree.org)
Don’t want your teen drinking or using drugs? Tell him how you feel and what you expect from him. Be warm but firm. For example, you might say:
“I’m not trying to ruin your fun. I love you and I want you to stay healthy. The best way to do that is to stay completely away from drugs and alcohol. I need you to promise that you will.”
“I realize there’s a lot of temptation out there. I also know you’re a really smart, strong person. That’s why I expect you to stay clean — no matter what your friends are doing. Agreed?”
“There’s a lot of new science about teens, drugs and alcohol. It scares me to know how easily you could damage your brainwww.drugfree.org/teenbrain or get addicted. I want your word that you’ll steer clear of all that, and keep me in the loop on the kids you hang out with, too.”
Research shows that when parents talk openly about drugs and drinking, children have better self-control and develop more negative perceptions of these risky behaviors.
10 Minutes Can Make a Difference
How to Talk to Your Teen
3 Ways to Address Teenage Motivation to Drink that Don’t Involve Scare TacticsParents – The Anti-Drug
Talk Early, Talk Often – Tips on Talking About Underage Drinking from SAMHSA