Parent Tips

Ten Tips for Prevention from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence:

1. Don’t be afraid to be the “bad” parent: Sometimes our fear of negative reaction from our kids keeps us from doing what is right. When it comes to alcohol and drugs, taking a tough stand can help our children say no. Decisions and rules allow children to use their parents as “the reason” for not using alcohol or drugs.

2. Connect with your child’s friends: Pay attention to who your child hangs out with, who’s coming to the house, and get to know them. Encourage your child’s friends to come to your home, invite them for dinner and make them feel welcomes. Encourage your child to invite friends over.

3. Make connections with other parents too: Take the opportunity to introduce yourself to your child’s friend’s parents. It’s a great way to build mutual support and share rules about alcohol and drugs. It will also make it easier for you to call if your child is going to a party at their house to make sure there will be responsible supervision.

4. Promote healthy activities: Help your kids, and their friends, learn how to have fun and fight boredom. Physical games, activities, and exercise are extremely important because of the positive physical and mental benefits. Encourage kids to become engaged in other school and community activities such as music, sports, arts, or a part-time job.

5. Establish clear family rules about alcohol and drugs: Setting specific, clear rules is the foundation for parental efforts in prevention. Here are some ideas:
     Kids under 21 will not drink alcohol or ride in a car with anyone who has been drinking or using drugs
     Older siblings will not encourage younger siblings to drink or use drugs
     Kids under 21 will not host parties without parental supervison
     Kids will not stay at a party where alcohol or other drugs are present
Consistent enforcement of these rules with consequences, if needed, is essential. Without consequences the rules have no value and will not work.

6. Get educated about alcohol and drugs: Learn about alcohol and drugs. As you learn, share with your child.

7. Be a role model and set a positive example: To your child, what you do is more important than what you say. Research studies show that parents who drink alcohol or use drugs are more likely to have children who do the same. If you drink, do so in moderation; use medication only as directed; serve alternative non-alcoholic beverages additionally at parties; do not let anyone drink and drinve. Your child will see this model behavior.

8. Keep track of your child’s activities: Asking questions, keeping track, and checking in are all important. Research has found that young people who are not regularaly monitored by their parents are four times more likely to use alcohol or drugs. Make the time to know what is happening in your child’s life. Life is busy, but make time for your child and know what they are up to.

9. Keep track of alcohol and prescription drugs in the home: For kids, the most common source of alcohol and prescription drugs is parents. Make sure your home is not a source for your children or their friends.

10. Get help: If at any point you suspect your child is having a problem with alcohol or drugs, get help! Don’t wait. You are not alone. Click here to view a list of referrals in the Morris County area.


Every day, 2,500 kids ages 12 to 17 abuse a pain reliever for the first time. In 2008, more than 2.1 million teens ages 12 to 17 report abusing prescription drugs. 4.5 million American kids have reported that they’ve abused prescription (Rx) drugs. Only 31% of teens “learn a lot about the risk of drugs” from their parents.


What Can You Do?

  • Educate yourself about the real dangers of prescription and Over the Counter (OTC) drug abuse. Parent Flyer
  • Discuss the risks of Rx and OTC drug abuse with your teen. Research shows that kids who learn about drug risks from their parents are half as likely to use drugs as kids who haven’t had that conversation with their parents.
  • Set an example. Use drugs as intended. Don’t medicate today’s headache with last year’s Rx drugs.
  • Connect with your kids. Stay involved in your kids’ lives and activities.Take action. Inventory your home for medicine. If necessary, monitor pill quantities and securely store Rx and OTC drugs that can be abused. Dispose of any unneeded drugs through an Rx drop box as soon as possible.
  • Take action. Inventory your home for medicine. If necessary, monitor pill quantities and securely store Rx and OTC drugs that can be abused. Dispose of any unneeded drugs through an Rx drop box as soon as possible.


 SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” Mom’s Thoughts