Informed Families Catalyst

8 Ways To Harness Parent Power

Posted by Informed Families on June 16, 2015 at 1:52 PM

fourth_of_july_bbqParents have a tremendous amount of power when it comes to raising safe, healthy and drug free children. By leading your children in the right direction, supporting their healthy development and knowing when to draw the line, parents can launch responsible, healthy, productive members of society. 

Here are 8 simple ways to harness parent power:

1. Understand social norms. Social norms are rules that a group uses to define appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Social norms control our actions and influence our thoughts, even when we are not aware of them. 


2. Do an environmental scan. What are social norms in your child's world? How are social norms developed and promoted? Are they positive or negative? How can they be changed? 


3. Understand that perception is not necessarily reality. Not everyone is drinking in high school, for example. Underage drinking is declining nationwide. Marijuana is actually addictive. Children who perceive that marijuana is safe are much more likely to use it.


4. Challenge incorrect perceptions. Tag you're it! If your child believes that smoking marijuana or underage drinking is no big deal, it's up to you to discuss these incorrect perceptions. However, don't make it about right and wrong. Have an open, honest discussion and do it when you are feeling calm.


5. Express your disapproval. Be clear and calm so you are less likely to give into pressure. Only 4.3% of youths who perceived strong parental disapproval for trying marijuana once or twice actually did it (compared to 31%). Use positive reinforcement and refrain from sharing personal stories of drug use if possible.


6. Focus on policies. Does your child's school have strict rules against drug use? Is your city or county hot on enforcing the sale of alcohol to minors? What can you do to shape policies that effect you and your family?


7. Target your child's environment. Take prevention messages to your child's school and community. 12.3% of kids who had no prevention messages in their school used illicit drugs, compared to the 8.9% of users who did have prevention messages. Limit and closely monitor screen time and encourage media literacy.


8. Involve other parents. There's strength in numbers. Get to know your children's friends' parents and work together to set common boundaries, regularly monitor behavior and turn to each other for support.


To learn more about ways you can take action to keep your kids from underage drinking and other risky behaviors, check out our Safe Homes Smart Parties Campaign.

 Learn About Safe Homes Smart Parties


Topics: parenting, tips for talking with your kids about drugs, prevention, underage drinking

About Us

We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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