Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
This content is from an educational collaboration between WebMD Editorial and StopMedicineAbuse.org.

4. Decide now when it's OK for you to have sex. continued...

"Making a plan ahead of time can delay intercourse up to 18 months," Holmes says.

But talking about it happening doesn’t mean you’re being totally lax or giving your teen a free pass. Be clear about what you expect. For example, you might say, "I want you to delay having sex until it can become part of a meaningful relationship."

Also make sure your teen knows about STDs and how to prevent them, where to get condoms and birth control (including emergency contraception), how to use protection, and how to see a doctor even if he or she doesn't want you to know that they are going, Holmes says.

If that feels as if you're giving a mixed message, she suggests saying, "I want you to have this information because you will most likely need it yourself one day, but you also might use it to help a friend now."

5. Practice how you will say "no."

Even adults have trouble saying "no" sometimes. Rehearsing ahead of time cuts down on the stress of having to say no and thinking of how to do it. Point out that having a plan will give your teen more resolve and power in sticky situations, says Carl Pickhardt, PhD, a psychologist in Austin, Texas, and the author of Surviving Your Child's Adolescence.

Most likely, your teen can come up with their own ways to say "no." But when caught by surprise, Pickhardt says, a good standby is to say, "'Not right now.' In other words, 'I'll do what I like when I want to do it, not when somebody else wants me to.'" This response can also cut down on people asking "Why?"

6. Don't take any drug or medicine casually.

Teens may think it's safer to get high on prescription drugs like Adderall (used to treat ADHD) or nonprescription drugs such as cough medicines because they're legal -- unlike street drugs.

Many teens don't know that you can overdose on nonprescription medications, because you can buy them at a pharmacy or the grocery store without a prescription. But they can be just as dangerous as street drugs when they are abused. Also, because medicines can be easy to get from home medicine cabinets, some kids share medicines with friends or sell them.

"Tell your teen that even prescription and over-the-counter drugs carry risks and side effects, and she doesn't know what the side effects will be for her because they're different for everyone," Pickhardt says.

Abusing stimulants like some ADHD drugs can cause seizures or heart failure. Let your teen know that their body and brain are too precious to take the risk.

Preparing for Middle School

Tips to help your tween cope with this exciting but risky time.
View slideshow

WebMD Video Series

Click here to wach video: Cough Syrup Drug Abuse

1 in 10 teens abuse cough medicine. It's dangerous, even deadly. Is your teen in danger?

Click here to watch video: Cough Syrup Drug Abuse