Your teens probably won’t ever tell you that they want you to set boundaries and stick to them.
But, that’s exactly how most teens responded on the recent Arizona Youth Survey, when asked how their parents could help prevent them from using drugs and alcohol.
Hundreds of Tempe teens participated in the statewide survey.
The following are the top eight recurring answers they provided about how parents can help them navigate middle and high school – drug and alcohol free.
- Teens want to know what the rules are. And, they say that they need to hear the rules regularly, so they know what you expect.
- Teens want you to enforce the rules. Really. They test the boundaries to find out if you will hold them accountable for their actions. Research shows that holding your children accountable helps them learn self-discipline and makes them feel secure.
- Teens want their parents to talk to them about drugs and alcohol.Not just once or twice. They want to have a regular and ongoing conversation about it.
- Teens want you to explain your values. Believe it or not, your child cares what you think, even if they don’t always act like it. Teens told us that their parents’ values matter to them.
- Teens want you to teach them how their choices impact their future. Most of the teens we spoke with have big dreams for what they want to accomplish when they grow up. They want their parents to help guide them by explaining which decisions will help them achieve their dreams and which decisions will derail their goals.
- Teens want you to know their friends. They want you to know their friends’ names and what their friends are like. And, as your teens are growing and maturing, they want you to give them guidance about how a true friend acts and what it means to be a friend.
- Teens want you to know the signs of drug and alcohol abuse. Most teens think their parents are pretty clueless about how often teens are exposed to drugs and alcohol. They want you to know the signs of underage drug and alcohol use. When you do, it’s easier for them to talk to you about the drug use they see at school and when they’re with their friends.
- Teens want you to listen. More than anything, your teen wants to feel like you care and are listening to what they have to say.
Over the next several months, the Tempe Coalition will be sending you a series of emails with tips for helping your teen stay drug and alcohol free.
If you know other parents who would benefit from this information, have them sign up to receive our monthly tips at TempeCoalition.org or follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/TempeCoalition/.
If there are any specific questions we can answer, please don’t hesitate to ask by emailing TempeCoalition@tempe.gov or calling (480) 858-2316.