Clear Rules, Decisionmaking, Peer Pressure
Many parents think they should start talking about drugs and alcohol when their children reach adolescence. We don’t realize this is the age when there is only occasional communication and conversation becomes more difficult. This is especially the case if we have not gotten our children used to communicating regularly with us since they were little. If they are going to grow up to be independent and to trust their own decisions, it’s extremely important to teach them how and why to turn down invitations to use these harmful substances.
We must establish a clear and firm position in our homes about the use of alcohol and drugs. We can’t just assume they know their parents are against this or convince ourselves that “my children know that would be wrong.”
We must establish family rules and get our children to promise to follow them. Furthermore, we must let them know the consequences if they don’t. It is crucial that we set rules in our homes. At the same time, establishing rules isn’t enough to shape our children’s conduct. We also must teach them how to resist pressure from the media or their friends. Having these skills will go a long way toward helping them solve their problems and conflicts and make their own decisions.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
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