When we tell our teens to put on a seatbelt, it’s not because we’re expecting an accident – but because we want them to be prepared in case there is one. In the same way, it is important to talk to teens early and often about how to reduce risks when alcohol and other drugs are present.
While we all hope teens will refuse alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs, the truth is that some teens will try them and often in places where they can’t get help from adults. According to Dr. Patt Denning, “The thing that’s most important for parents to know is that harm comes from ignoring, or not preparing, for risk. Risktaking does not have to be harmful in itself.” This tip sheet helps parents prepare their teens to make safer choices by talking to them now about what they can do when alcohol and other drugs are around.