Risky behaviors like using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs are often seen as “benchmark” indicators because they are associated with children engaging in other risky behaviors including early sexual activity, violence and school difficulties.
Parents and other caring adults play a very important role in whether a young person decides to try or use substances. There are many things parents can do to influence their children's decisions including talking with your children early and often and setting clear rules and expectations. We've gathered some resources with information about talking with your kids even when you have not always set such a good example.
Parents also play a very important role in helping their kids prepare for and handle peer pressure. It can seem like all kids are drinking or using but most kids don't and need skills to stand up to expectations that they will.
Research shows that the earlier a child starts to drink or use drugs, the more likely they are to have problems. That's why it is so important to do all you can to delay the onset of alcohol or drug use.
Many parents don't want to believe their child is thinking about or using so we've included some of the warning signs to help you recognize when a child is using.
Teen social events like parties can increase the risk and temptation for kids to use so we've included information on parties, both hosting and attending. Finally, in the 'Related Articles' section below, we have included information on the four characteristics of problem parents so you'll know what not to do.