On the other hand, teens that learn about the dangers of drug and alcohol from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use than those who don’t learn from parents, according to the Partnership at Drugfree.org.
Look to your family tree. Does your family have a history of any kind of addiction, even if it's not to the drug your child may be using? That makes them more likely to become addicted. Even if they're not addicted at this point, consider counseling to help them learn life skills to manage that risk, now and in the long run.
Don't label them "bad." "If your child starts to use, it’s not that he or she is a good kid or a bad kid," Pasierb says. "It’s a bad set of decisions."
Pating's advice: "Let your child know you expect that he will not use drugs, but understand that he is human." For instance, if your teen tells you he drank at a party, talk with him about why he made that decision. “You want to help them think through things so they develop that skill,” Pating says.
Put their safety first. Make sure your teen knows that it's safe for them to come to you. For instance, if they used alcohol or other drugs at a party, you want them to be able to call you for a safe ride home, instead of driving. That doesn't mean there won't be consequences for their actions. It means that you are more concerned about keeping them safe and will figure out the next steps later.
Talk often. Don't try to have one big talk about drugs, medicines, and other substances. Instead, have a series of smaller, more casual conversations. Bring it up in the car, or when someone famous comes out with a drug problem.
"Lead with questions like, 'What are your friends saying about drugs?' And then have the discipline to listen," Pasierb says.
Seek help. If you suspect your child has become addicted or is using drugs, they need swift medical attention. Start with your child's doctor or a counselor trained in this area.