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How can I prevent my child from using alcohol or marijuana?

Talk early and often with your children and teens about the risks.

  • You have the greatest influence on your children's decisions about alcohol and other drugs.
  • It is recommended that parents begin talking to their children about alcohol at 9 years of age.
  • Kids who learn alot about the risks of alcohol and other drugs at home are less likely to use. In Washington, 85.3% of 10th graders who report having clear family rules about alcohol and drugs don’t drink (Healthy Youth Survey, 2018).

Know how alcohol and marijuana affect the developing teen brain and body.

  • Alcohol and marijuana are the drugs most commonly used by young people.
  • It is important to know how alcohol, marijuana and other drugs affect the developing brain and body so that you can teach your child the harms to their health and risks to their future.

Learn what you can do or say to prevent underage marijuana and alcohol use and practice those skills.

Download this guide or infographic with information and recommendations for parents to help teens avoid alcohol and other drugs.

Remember to follow these parenting guidelines:

Create close bonds with your children.

Children are less likely to drink or use marijuana or other drugs when their parents are involved in their lives and when they feel close to their parents. Family conflict and lack of bonding increase the risk of drinking and marijuana use.

To increase family bonding:

  • Give kids at least 15 minutes of one-on-one time every day
  • Do fun things together
  • Give positive feedback about the healthy choices your child makes
  • Eat as a family five times per week

Set clear boundaries for your children.

Set clear rules early and talk about the rules often.

To set boundaries:

  • Have regular conversation about your expectations
  • Use fair and consistent discipline any time your rules are broken
  • Help your kids have positive relationships with friends
  • Help your child practice ways to say no to drugs

Monitor your child’s interactions.

Always know what your kids are doing. Help them plan safe and fun activities.

To monitor your children, ask these five questions when they spend time with their friends:

  • Where are you going?
  • What will you be doing?
  • Who will be with you?
  • When will you be home?
  • Will there be alcohol, marijuana or other drugs?

For more resources on how to monitor your kids, visit the Partnership to End Addiction wedsite. To learn more about the risks to teens and what you can do, visit the resources section for parent guides on underage drinking and marijuana use.

Remember - you have the power to keep your kids drug-free!