Saturday, 07 February 2009 12:24


As teenagers go through secondary school and prepare for college, they are at an increased risk for drug use and drinking. At this critical time in their academic lives, parents need to emphasize to their children how smoking marijuana can threaten their academic success. Parents can make the grade in keeping their kids drug-free by following the S-U-C-C-E-S-S tips below:

Stay informed about your child’s progress in school and other activities. Keep in touch with the adults who supervise your child such as their teachers and have them inform you of any changes in your child's academic performance or behavior. Get to know your child's friends and their parents. Help your child with their homework assignments and projects if you can and limit the amount of time spent watching TV and using the Internet.

Understand the challenges facing your child as they enter secondary school as this period can be an anxious time in their your child's life. Highly stressed teens are twice as likely as teens with a low level of stress to smoke, drink, get drunk and use illegal drugs. Be supportive and responsive to your teen's needs, help your teen cope with stress and teach them skills to handle peer pressure.

Communicate with your teen the harmful physical, mental and social effects of marijuana and other drugs. Young people who learn about the risks of drugs at home are less likely to try drugs than their peers who don't get that same information from their parents. Look for teachable moments in everyday life to keep the conversation ongoing.

Check in with your teen after school. The danger zone for drug use is between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on weekdays. If you are unable to be home at these times, arrange for your teen to check in with you periodically from a landline phone, so that you can confirm where they are. If your child will be with friends, make sure there is adult supervision – not just an older sibling. Check in with the parents of your child's friends.

Engage your teen in supervised activities. Teens involved in supervised after school activities or programs are less likely to have used cigarettes, alcohol or illicit drugs in the past month than youths who did not participate in those kinds of activities during the past year.

Set clear rules and let your teen know that marijuana use is unacceptable.Parental disapproval plays a strong role in preventing drug use. Set limits with clear consequences for breaking them and praise and reward good behavior.

Spend time with your teen and build a sense of connection. Teens that talk with their parents and have a close relationship with them are much less likely to drink, take drugs or have sex. It's important to encourage your teen to talk to you about their thoughts and feelings, fears and concerns. Plan a family activity with your teen in the coming weeks, such as taking a walk or sharing a meal.
Remember - good parenting combines love and limits!