Make clear rules and enforce them consistently

Talk with your child often about family rules and expectations and what the consequences are for breaking rules. Always be consistent and enforce the rules you’ve set out.

Make Rules and Stick to Them!

Would it surprise you to learn that parents’ permissiveness is a bigger factor in teenage drug use than peer pressure? If you let your child know up front that you don’t approve of using tobacco or drugs or underage drinking, your child is less likely to use those substances. Making rules, explaining the need for them and enforcing them consistently are important.

  1. Discuss your rules and expectations in advance. Let your child know the consequences of broken rules or unmet expectations. These rules can apply to schoolwork, chores or behavior.
  2. Follow through with the consequences you have established. If your child breaks the rules, it’s important to follow through with the consequences you have established. If you don’t follow through, you send the message that your rules are not really important and that it’s okay to break them.
  3. Acknowledge when they follow the rules. Catch your child “being good” and praise him for it. Take every opportunity to support your child’s good behavior by telling him “good job,” “way to go” or “I’m really proud of you.”  Positive reinforcement helps your child develop self-confidence and trust his own judgment and also see the benefits of following rules.
  4. Discuss why using alcohol, drugs and tobacco are not acceptable. Let your child know why you don’t want her to use drugs: you love her too much to ever want her to get hurt or get in trouble.