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How can I prevent my child from using alcohol or marijuana?

Talk early and often with your children and teens about the risks.

  • You have the greatest influence on your children's decisions about alcohol and other drugs.
  • Our research shows that kids who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are 50% less likely to use drugs and alcohol than those who do not; yet, only 30% of teens report learning a lot from their parents.

Know how marijuana and alcohol affect the teen brain and body.

  • Alcohol and marijuana are the drugs most commonly used by young people. As a parent, there are steps you can take to prevent your child from using drugs and reduce the risk of them starting.
  • It is important to know how drugs and alcohol affect the teen brain and body so that you can teach your child the harms to their health and risks to their future.

Learn what you can do or say to prevent underage marijuana and alcohol use and practice those skills.

Remember to follow these parenting guidelines:

Create close bonds with your children.

Children are less likely to drink, use marijuana or other drugs when their parents are involved in their lives and when they feel close to their parents. Family conflict and lack of bonding increase the risk of drinking and marijuana use.

To increase family bonding:

  • Give kids at least 15 minutes of one-on-one time every day
  • Do fun things together
  • Give positive feedback about the healthy choices your child makes
  • Eat as a family five times per week

Set clear boundaries for your children.

Set clear rules early and talk about the rules often.

To set boundaries:

  • Help your child practice ways to say no to drugs
  • Use fair and consistent discipline any time your rules are broken
  • Help your kids have positive relationships with friends

Monitor your child’s interactions.

Always know what your kids are doing. Help them plan safe and fun activities.

To monitor your child, ask these five questions when she or he spends time with friends:

  • Where are you going?
  • What will you be doing?
  • Who will be with you?
  • When will you be home?
  • Will there be alcohol, marijuana or other drugs?

To learn more about the risks to teens and what you can do, visit the resources section for parent guides on underage drinking and underage marijuana use.

Remember - you have the power to keep your kids drug-free!