Today's kids face a lot of pressures and temptations. In addition to tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs, there are alarming trends of prescription drug abuse and inhalant abuse among young adults (Read Parents & Pills: Unintentional Drug Dealers). Preparing them for the inevitable time when someone will offer them drugs or alcohol can be the difference between helping them stay healthy and safe or losing them to addiction.

1. Make the Family's Stance on Drug Use Very Clear Very Early – Whether they admit it or not, children and teens internalize their parents' value system. Knowing that you would be disappointed in their decision to try a drug is an important foundation for the final "no, thanks."

2. Warn Them if a Family Member Has a History of Addiction – If another person in the family has struggled with addiction, your children may be at an increased risk for developing one themselves, even if they only intend to just "try" or "experiment with" a substance.

3. Be Honest – Before Someone Else Is – Remember how well it went over when your kids learned the truth about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny? Don't pretend that there isn't a reason why people use drugs; they can temporarily make a person feel good. If you aren't honest with them about the "pros" as well as the far greater cons of drug use, your child may be more inclined to believe a friend when they tell them that their parents exaggerated the dangers (Read Alcoholism from the Inside and How to Talk to a Teen about Drugs).

4. Establish a Safe, Open Home Environment – Everyone makes mistakes. Don't make them so afraid of being punished that if, for example, they go to a party against your wishes and then realize that their friends are using substances, they are too afraid of getting in trouble to call you and ask for help getting out of the situation. Make sure they know that punishment will be less if a bad decision is followed by a good one. Also, encourage them to ask you questions – even uncomfortable ones. It's better that they get answers from you than from friends or the internet.

5. Teach Them What It Means to Be a "Friend" – You have their best interest at heart, but not everyone does. Teach them how to determine whether someone genuinely cares about them, and what to look for in people who will be good influences.

6. Test Them for Drug Use Regularly – Although some argue that testing your kids for drug use can cause problems with trust, other parents believe that it also gives their children a way to say "no" without being judged by their peers. By refusing a drug because "my mom tests me randomly," the child or teen can get out of the situation and save face by making you the "bad guy" (Read Drug Testing in Your Home: Pros and Cons).

How Can I Help a Young Person Who Has Already Started Using Drugs or Alcohol?

There are a number of treatment options that are specifically designed to help teens (Read Teen Addiction and Rehab). To speak with an eDrugRehab consultant about your situation, call 1-866-902-0610 now.