Helping Parents Prevent Youth Substance Abuse

Tween (10-12)

  • Take time to be a family—still plan family outings, even if your kids think it’s not cool.
  • Make family dinners a priority—eating together has been shown to reduce risk taking behaviors in youth while increasing things like self esteem and GPAS.
  • Consider your actions. At this age, kids will notice when a parent has a glass of wine or beer at home, or grabs medicine from the cabinet every once in a while. Being responsible with your own use of alcohol and drugs is also teaching an important lesson.
  • Look for teachable moments in any place possible. The car can be a perfect place as they are “trapped”. Ask open ended questions and really listen to their answer.
  • Establish yourself as a resource. If kids know they can count on you for answers to their questions, they will come back for more information.
  • Never stop building your relationship with them. Continue to work to establish a level of trust so they know they can come to you with any concern.
  • Continue to establish and enforce clear rules. Be willing to talk about why these standards are important to you.
  • Make sure to share your views and opinions with them—like how you feel about drugs/alcohol/etc and what your expectations are for issues like these.
  • Help them learn to resist peer pressure by role playing scenarios with them.
  • Focus on fact not fiction. Keep abreast of current trends by downloading the TalkSooner app.


Use the TalkSooner app for tips on how to talk to your kids about not using alcohol or other drugs.