1. Honor and Model Healthy Choices: Students who have seen their parents drunk are 5 times more likely to drink themselves – model healthy behavior, and don’t invite youth to adult parties.
2. Share Accurate Information: Most students don’t use alcohol or drugs, but the misperception that the majority of students use can influence your child to begin using. 7 out of 10 MHS students don’t drink and 8 out of 10 don’t use marijuana. Both alcohol and marijuana can affect teen development and learning, preventing full cognitive and emotional development at a critical time. Get the best information you can, including the latest brain development research findings, and share it with your child.
3. Set and enforce clear limits and curfews: According to the results of the 2010 Minnesota Student Survey, Minnetonka students who believe their parents would “strongly disapprove” of alcohol use are 3 times less likely to binge drink than those who believe their parents would simply “disapprove” or not care. Minnetonka students who report that their parents strongly disapprove of marijuana use are 6 times less likely to use than those who believe their parents would simply “disapprove” or don’t care.
4. Secure liquor, tobacco, commonly abused over-the-counter and prescription medications: If kids can’t get it, they can’t use it.
5. Middle and High school families take the Parent Pledge and use the Parent Networking Directory: Know that you are not alone in your convictions and efforts to keep your child safe. Have the backup of hundreds of other families in our community that feel the same way, and get great tips on how to have those sometimes awkward conversations with other parents about family rules and practices.
6. Recognize and address early behavioral and/or learning issues. Children and teens with untreated, undiagnosed ADHD, learning or mental health issues, are at higher risk for underage substance use. While these issues can be difficult to come to terms with, there are effective ways to help your child – clinically, through parenting, and at school. The earlier intervention occurs, the more effective it can be.