It is inevitable that in your child's development that the subject of exposure to drugs will come up. Here’s 7 ways to be prepared and tackle the issues before they arise.

1. Communication is Key

 Talking with your kids often and openly about teen drug use and addiction related problems statistically reduces the chances of them getting involved with drugs and starting to use themselves up to 50%.

●    Be consistent with your words concerning the dangers involved in drugs and alcohol.              
●    Communicate early on with appropriate language about the existence of drugs and the risks involved. Without being sensational or dramatic, talk honestly about real people and struggles these behaviours have resulted in.
●    Anticipate and prepare responses for challenging and uncomfortable questions. Emphasize awareness and education over punishment and discipline. By talking to our children about such complicated issues we are showing them that we respect them, their intelligence and their ability to conceptualize the things we worry about as parents. 
●    Explore relatable instances. Dig back into your own adolescence and relay memories of pivotal moments in which you learned hard lessons or wish you’d handled something differently. Chances are that even though the world has changed since you were a kid, the way drugs and alcohol are often introduced in adolescence has not.
●       Offer your own personal guidance in how to decline when drugs and alcohol are offered. This can be hard even for adults, but practice makes perfect and by illustrating a world where one’s sense of self-worth isn't fully dependent on the opinions of others you can help develop a useful life tool when your kid realizes this is a strength at an early age. 
2. Be Forthright and Candid About What is and What is Not Allowed in Your Household

Clear and consistent adherence to an understood set of rules builds trust, respect and structure in your relationship with your child.  Express that it is not ok to drink or do drugs because:                
●    As a developing young human your brain is vulnerable and drugs and alcohol can hinder the healthy growth of your mind and body causing long term patterns and problems that can easily be avoided.
●       Teen substance abuse often leads to addiction at an early age which is even harder to combat when natural and healthy coping mechanisms to deal with life's ups and downs haven’t had a chance to develop.                 
●       Teen drug and alcohol abuse impairs judgement, leads to bad decisions and often regrettable behaviour that is potentially dangerous and harmful to their relationships not to mention the legal and financial consequences!
3. Lead By Example
Your kids will observe and imitate your behaviours both good and bad.
●    If you do drink, don’t overdo it. One or two drinks and don’t make a habit of this.                                                              
●    NEVER drink and drive.                                                                                                           
●    Only take prescription drugs if prescribed.                                                       
●    No illegal drugs.
4. Be Active in Your Kid’s Existence!

Kids are a lot less likely to engage in drug use when they have a healthy, happy relationship with their parents.
●    Teach them from a young age that there are countless fun and healthy activities that benefit not just them, but their community. Volunteering and community service in addition to being fun can be great ways to build bonds while teaching valuable lessons on the merits of service.
●    Talk to your kids and take an active interest in THEIR interests!                                              
●    Know their friends and their parents ask them about their friendships.                                               
●    Engage in fun activities together. Enjoy the outdoors and have regular meals and quality time with your kids.
●    Always make it clear that you are available to talk about anything going on in your child’s life and offer to listen. Knowing they can depend on you is crucial and sometimes takes some reminding on your part.
5. Define Clear Boundaries, Rules and Punishment Guidelines. Then Stand Your Ground.

Communicate with your kids about the rules, and the consequences for breaking them. Good behaviour deserves  rewards, but punishment deserves communication. Talk to your kids when rules are broken and avoid leniency. Talk about what happened and what could be done differently in the future. Put emphasis on learning from consequences. 
6. Be Present, Helpful and Encouraging in Your Kids Academic Life.

Help motivate them to work hard in school.  Kids who do well in school are less likely to engage in drug use.
●    Accommodate for study time and space and encourage asking for help from you and your kids teachers.                                                                                           
●    Recognize and reward good grades and hard work.

7. Help Cultivate Your Kid’s Interest and Involvement With Extracurricular Activities.
●       Sports, Art, Music and Drama are all valuable and enriching creative outlets that are fun and fulfilling activities that help build self esteem in children.