1. Lead by example
The first step to a drug free home is that parents are a key element in the lives of children.
Teenagers naturally begin to push away from the family. It is important for them to be
successful at this process to become well rounded individuals later in life. However, it is
not a time for parents to give up on their adolescent. It is just the opposite. They need
parents who care about where they go, who they see and to assist in establishing clear
boundaries. These boundaries must be tested and they need a parent to be consistent in
bringing them back inside the boundaries. Teenagers who are successful at this stage
develop an internal sense of boundaries to serve them throughout life.
2. Know where your children are and who they are around
It takes a lot of work to know who your adolescent is hanging out with and who the major
influences in their lives are at any given point in time. You may need to become active in
where they go to hang out by knowing what type of adult supervision will be on hand, by
having them spend time around you and/or at least meeting a friend before you allow
permission to hang out with them. Communicating to family and friends the expectation
of a drug free home is helpful for all to know and work toward.
3. Spend time around the dinner table building a family culture of abstinence
It has been shown when families have meals together around the table they are more
likely to reduce incidence of drug use. It is not simply sitting around a table silent or
grumpy. It is interacting, getting to know each other better. It is showing a genuine
interest in the life of each family member. This is a great place to talk about expectations
and praise positive behaviors. It is also a great place to bring a new friend who wants to
hang out with your teenager. This may be the best place to talk of the principle of a drug
4. Listen to your family and work to understand
Sometimes it may appear somewhere between 8 and 13 your adolescent has become
someone you hardly know. Relating to them may be a very difficult task. It is important
to know they are experiencing a high amount of change physically, intellectually and
emotionally. It is because of all this chaos they may be moody, cranky or hard to connect
in conversation. Listening to a teenager may be one of the single most effective ways to
communicate you as a parent care about them. This does not mean letting them break curfew, or
manipulate you. It does mean to hear their heart and emotions going into any situation.
5. Seek help whenever you are beyond yourself
If you find yourself in situations where you do not know where to turn do not think you
are alone. Many parents become frustrated and need to talk to others about what is
happening. Parent support groups are often available in communities through schools,
churches or professional clinics. It is certainly not anything against you to reach out for
the help you might need to be successful with your teenager. A drug free home may take time and the help of many
people along the way. What we believe we can do we CAN do.