Prevention Requires Parents

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By Melissa Ford

Coach - Personal & Business

What can a drug forum for parents and fifth graders teach a seasoned, “been-there, done-that, dealt-with-that-too” parent with adult kids? More than I ever knew starting with some compelling statistics and ending with creative tips and strategies to help parents support their children. If you weren’t in attendance at the 5th Grade Parent/Child Cafe at Percy Julian Middle School last week, consider these statistics and tips: 

Did you know . . .

  • That your child is 47% less likely to abuse substances if s/he has had on-going conversations with you regarding drugs and alcohol use and are aware that you object to teen use. 
  • If you don’t talk to your child about drugs/alcohol/tobacco use, then it appears to be silent permission. Avoiding conversations leaves it up to your child to interrupt your position on alcohol, drug and tobacco use. 
  • Your child is seven times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol if they start smoking cigarettes before the age of 15.
  • Teens have a much higher chance of addiction from use due to brain maturation than an individual in his/her 20‘s who experiments with drugs and alcohol. 
  • Kids feel safer when their parents put up boundaries around drugs, alcohol & tobacco use. 
  • Your child’s first experience with drugs, alcohol or tobacco will be through their friends.
  • Talking to your child ONCE about not using drugs, alcohol and tobacco isn’t enough. It’s only the beginning and you need to keep talking!

Take powerful parental action . . .

  • Set boundaries around drug, alcohol and tobacco use and enforce them. 
  • Talk to your child and really listen to them. 
  • Be a responsible role model for your child. Keep your own use within safe and sensible limits. 
  • Get to know your child’s friends and their parents. 
  • Keep informed. Attend Parent Cafes and other forums about substance abuse. 
  • Let other parents know “your rules” about curfew, parents being home, drinking, smoking, drugs use . . . 
  • Contact other parents to confirm they will be home if your child is going to their house.
  • Become more involved when your child gets to middle school.
  • Make a pact with other parents that you will keep each other informed.  
  • Role play situations with your child before s/he encounters these circumstances.  Predetermined responses empower your child. 
  • Ask your child how you can support them. What ideas does s/he have that you can use to help?
  • Provide your child with a secret text code, which s/he can send - requiring you to call and/or come to his/her assistance. 

What useful ideas have you heard about or used to empower your child around alcohol, drug and tobacco situations?  


Reader Comments

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Melissa from  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 2:54 PM

Thanks, Kristine. I wish I had known more, too. Stayed tuned for more information on an Educational Forum for Teens and Parents- "The Straight Dope" on May 5th at OPRF High School at 7 pm and a Parent Cafe for Middle School Parents on Prevention taking place May 17th at 7 pm at Percy Julian Middle School.


Posted: April 20th, 2011 2:22 PM

Great article! I wish that I had heard more of this when my kids were little. You need to get syndicated!

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