Aug 25, 2022 – As your children get older, you should talk to them about the risks of using substances, in a concerned manner rather than as a scare tactic. However, the best thing parents can do is lead by example. Kids look to you as their model for adulthood. Ideally, parents should avoid or limit using substances around children. Don’t talk about the benefits or “joys” of using substances and avoid glorifying “war stories.”  If you do use substances around your children, use responsibly and limit intake. Emphasize that substances should only be used by adults over the age of 21, and that moderation is the key. Watch how the adults around your kids use or speak about substances and ensure they are only exposed to adults who also choose to responsibly use substances in their lives. 

How you choose to parent and discipline can go a long way in setting your children up for success. Common parenting styles include:

Authoritarian: High control and discipline, low warmth and responsiveness. This parent says “do what I say.” This style increases the likelihood of a child rebelling—and substance use is a common way to rebel.

Permissive: Low control and discipline, high warmth and responsiveness. This parent is more focused on being a child’s friend and appeasing them. This style results in a lack of structure—increasing a child’s likelihood of getting into trouble and hanging with the “bad crowd,” resulting in antisocial activities and substance use.

Authoritative: High control and discipline, high warmth and responsiveness. This parent explains the rules and reasoning for consequences and is paired with love and concern. This style is the most protective and effective parenting approach.


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