Preventing Youth Marijuana Use - Parents are the Key!
When it comes to protecting your teen’s health, it’s important to remember your power as a parent. By knowing the facts, and using proven prevention strategies, you can help your teen avoid using marijuana, alcohol, other drugs, and other risky behaviors.
Why YOU should care about marijuana: 1. Marijuana is addictive: Marijuana addiction is more common among teens whose brains are still developing and vulnerable. In fact, 1 in 10 adults will become addicted compared to 4 in 10 teens.
2. Marijuana use can get in the way of kids reaching their full potential: Marijuana is linked to school failure.
What can YOU do?
Prevention Starts With Parents. As a parent, you have a major impact on your child's decision not to use tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Prevention starts when you start talking with, and listening to, your child. Help your child make good choices and good friends.Teens care about what parents say. One of the key reasons teens choose not to use drugs is because they know their parents don’t approve of it.
Express a no use attitude. Teens whose parents have a positive attitude toward marijuana use are five times more likely to use marijuana by 8th grade.
Start early! • Since teenagers who use marijuana often start by age 14, parents should start an ongoing conversation about drugs by 4th or 5th grade.
• Be clear and specific about your family expectations about marijuana use.
What to say to 4th & 5th graders: “What do you know about marijuana? "Do you know that marijuana can hurt your health? Marijuana use is against the law for anyone under 21 years old. We want you to do well in school, so we have a family rule against using drugs, including marijuana."
Give your teen ways to say no to Marijuana and other drugs. • Role play social situations where your teen is offered marijuana by a peer.
• Help your teen to find the right words to refuse drug offers.
• Help your teen suggest an alternative to using drugs.
• Let your teen know that it is fine to walk away from someone, including a friend, who is offering drugs and, if needed, to call you for a ride home.
What to say to young teens: “Remember our family rule against using marijuana? Let’s talk about how you can refuse drugs, including marijuana, if offered to you.”
Communicate the importance of healthy behaviors and establish clear and specific rules about not using marijuana and other drugs. This can be part of a broader conversation about expectations like:
• Doing chores • Following parental rules
• Following laws and school regulations • Bedtimes
• School and class attendance • Curfews
• Showing respect for family members
Provide consistent negative consequences for not meeting the guidelines. Remember to provide compliments for good choices and healthy behavior.
What to say: “It is important to our family that we all stay healthy and safe. One way to do this is to avoid drug use, including marijuana. This is especially important for teenagers since marijuana can harm the developing brain. That’s why we have a family rule against using marijuana. If we find out you are using drugs, what do you think a fair consequence would be?”
Keep track of your child.
• Monitor your teen’s behavior to ensure the rules are being followed.
• Remain actively involved in your teen’s life and get to know his or her friends.
• Network with other parents so that you may support one another to keep your children away from drugs.
Keep lines of communication open.
• Eat dinner together.
• Do fun family activities together.
• Communicate the way your teen does (texting, email, Facebook, Twitter).
Operation Prevention, an initiative brought to you by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Discovery Education, aims to address the opiate epidemic by educating students about the science behind addiction.
The Operation Prevention Video Challenge encourages students to send a message to their peers about prescription opioid misuse by creating a 30-60 second original Public Service Announcement. Your students have a unique voice to reach their peers and raise awareness about the dangers of this widespread issue. High School students who enter have the chance to win incredible prizes from the DEA and DEA Educational Foundation:
First Place: $10,000 Second Place: $5,000
Third Place: $1,000
People's Choice: A trip to Quantico, Virginia
Encourage your teen to start brainstorming today: The Challenge closes on March 20, 2018
To learn more and view last year's finalists, send students here.
CASAColumbia has surveyed thousands of American teens and their parents to identify situations that influence the risk of teen substance abuse. Parental engagement in children’s lives is fundamental to keeping children away from tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, and that parents have the greatest influence on whether their teens will choose not to use substances.
Their research has consistently found a relationship between children having frequent dinners with their parents and a decreased risk of their smoking, drinking or using other drugs. And that parental engagement fostered around the dinner table is one of the most potent tools to help parents raise healthy, drug-free children.
Simply put: frequent family dinners make a big difference!