Talk with your teen: It is important to establish and maintain healthy and frequent communication with your child. Work towards breaking down communication barriers, and set up a routine of “mindful talk” to gain more insight into your teen’s life. Talking with your teen is crucial in determining any pre-existing symptoms that may lead to substance abuse, such as depression or anxiety. Talk with your teen about alcohol and drug use specifically, as well as any genetic vulnerabilities he or she may have to addiction due to family history of use.
Get Involved: Young people are much less likely to have mental health and substance use problems when they have positive activities to do and when caring adults are involved in their lives. Explore hobbies and strengths of your teen to increase resiliency, establish coping skills, and to help your child gain outside support systems.
Set Rules: Make clear rules and enforce them with consistency and appropriate disciplinary action. Rules and consequences should be transparent and consistent; this will help reinforce your child’s thought formation around actions and predicting outcomes.
Be a Role Model: Because children like to imitate adults, you can influence your teen greatly by leading. Your actions are more influential than words, so forget the old adage “do what I say, not what I do.”