The prevalence of drugs in our society can make parenting very difficult.  Parents must set clear guidelines about drugs and alcohol for their kids and enforce them consistently.  Despite parents’ best efforts, however, children will often form their own opinions regarding drug use.  Simply talking to your children and explaining your views are not enough to seriously affect their decisions - the proper timing, tone, and choice of words are crucial in guiding your teens’ choices.  Most kids will still make up their own minds, but good parental advice will help them make educated, healthy decisions about drugs and alcohol.

The most common parental approaches to teen drug use are:

1. No Tolerance

Zero tolerance is one of the most popular drug policies in United States schools, law enforcement agencies, and politics.  Not surprisingly, parents in America also frequently favor this approach.  However, such strict rules cause many teenagers to rebel.  This is especially true in cases where parents make exaggerated claims about the dangers of drug use in attempts to scare their children away from ever trying them.

These policies have been unsuccessful at preventing drug use and addiction on the streets and in schools; you can likewise expect difficulties and backlash if you use them on your teens.  According to the Vice Chairman of the Cambridge School Committee, the threat of punishment is particularly ineffective at changing or preventing teenage behaviors.  However, there is a fine line between zero tolerance and firm, healthy boundaries.  Toeing this line is crucial for parents to raise kids who make informed, rational decisions about drugs.

2. Tolerance and Moderation

Some parents - most commonly those who used drugs casually when they were young - tolerate their children’s drug and alcohol use to a certain point.  They often feel that allowing their kids to gain firsthand experience with these substance is a healthier way to learn about them than simply avoiding them altogether.  However, many addiction specialists and other medical professionals argue that “lighter” drugs such as tobacco and marijuana can lead to the use of “harder” substances like cocaine and heroin.

These parents may also want to avoid rebellion from teens whose boundaries are too tight.  They reason that allowed moderate use is better than rebellious abuse and possible addiction.  In some cases, parents who tolerate drug use might simply be attempt to keep things calm at home by appeasing their kids’ desires.

3. Guidance and Understanding

As much as many parents try to control their children’s behaviors, most teenagers will make up their own minds about drug use. Parents can only influence their children – positively or negatively – not control them. In fact, attempts at controlling or strictly regulating adolescents’ behaviors typically backfire and make matters worse.

In most families, the best way to cope with the troubling prevalence of drugs in society is honesty. Parents should not exaggerate the dangers or attempt to scare their kids away from ever trying drugs. Despite rebellious stereotypes, teenagers tend to reciprocate honesty and openness; telling the truth to your kids can make an enormous impact. They may still try drugs at some point, but they are less likely to become habitual users or addicts when they have the right information.

However, if you or your teenager is struggling with addiction, use the links below for a free consultation. Learn how you can get some of the best drug addiction treatment in the country. Your query is confidential and free of obligation. Addiction is a serious disease, so don’t wait – get help today.

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Author's Bio: 

Laszeros is a native English speaker but can write professionally in 4 other languages. This includes extensive editing experience for some of the world's most renowned publications, and even the crafting of numerous songs, poems and prose.