One of the trickiest things about raising a teenager is balancing their natural desire for independence with your instinctive need to look after them. That struggle is keenly felt by parents when confronting the issue of drugs and alcohol. As your teen grows up and their world expands, they will be exposed to environments and situations that require smart decision making. Accepting that you can't be there to guide them can be challenging, and you might feel confused about the best course of action. So we got some practical tips from parents who have been through it before.
One parent to another: Best bits from the video
If you do, just don't make it worse, don't get in a car with someone who's been drinking or is clearly off their face.
Responsible drinking and attitudes are a crucial part of establishing good behaviours for your teen. Many parents believe that educating their teens on the dangers of drink driving or being in a car with a drink driver is just as important as discussing the risks of drinking or taking drugs.
I've always said to them, "If you wanna have a drink, please come and talk to me first" so that we can talk about the safety of that.
Communication is key when it comes to opening a dialogue about drugs and alcohol with your teen. If they feel comfortable talking to you about their thoughts, they're less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol in dangerous ways.
I talk with my kids a lot about what's going on and, you know, and their friends, and who's doing what and things like that at parties and whatnot. My kids are fairly open and fairly honest with that sort of stuff and we just sort of have general conversations.
Teenagers appreciate transparency, and getting on the front foot can help take the pressure off them. Rather than waiting for them to bring it up, be the one to start the conversation which will create and open forum for them to share their thoughts and feelings.
Call us, you know, whatever time. Anywhere you could be, in another state, just call us and we'll come to get you wherever you are. We won't blow up at you, we just rather you're home safe.
Creating an environment where your teen feels safe enough to reach out should they find themselves in trouble is important. The more supported a teen feels, the more confident they will be in their decision making.