The Anti-Drug

Published January 1, 2004

Forget the government’s war on drugs. Parents are the best soldiers in this war.

Teenagers close to their parents are less likely to engage in risky behaviors, but all teens are at risk when it comes to illegal drugs.

The best anti-drug is a trusting relationship that allows for open conversation about anything. It’s important for parents to talk to their teens and build relationships. The more involved you are in your children’s lives, the more likely they’ll respond to you.

  • Establish together time–a regular weekly routine for doing something special with your child, even if it’s just going for a walk.
  • Eat meals together as often as you can. This is a great opportunity to talk about the day’s events, to unwind, reinforce, and bond. Studies show kids whose families eat together at least five times a week are less likely to be involved with drugs or alcohol. Meeting at meals provides a forum for discussing triumphs and failures as well as complaints. Any topic of concern should be open for discussion.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask where your kids are going, whom they’ll be with, and what they plan on doing. They’ll know you care. Get to know your kids’ friends and their parents.

Remember, you are the best anti-drug. And keep in mind, too, that before you can help children with their problems, you have to get over yours.

IT’S YOUR HEALTH is written by Conrad Meier, senior fellow in health policy at The Heartland Institute. This program is produced as a public service by Radio America. Meier passed away unexpectedly on March 18, 2005.