Most parents of teenagers worry about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Most young people try alcohol or drugs and learn how to keep themselves safe. It's been proved that a good relationship with parents is the best protection that young people can have - do your best to keep talking and listening to your child.
Some young people develop problem drug or alcohol use - this is more likely if they have other problems in their lives or are very unhappy.
Your Child Needs You
Helping your teenager to stay safe may be one of the most important jobs you do as a parent. Your child needs to know that they can trust you and rely on you while they grow up.
Help Them To Feel Good
Confident young people are more likely to take care of themselves. Keep up the praise - cut down on criticism - encourage them to think and learn from mistakes. Don't be too negative about friends. if you're worried about who they are with, talk about it - remind them it's because you care.
Your children learn from what you do, not what you say. Teenagers often criticise parents' behaviour - and feel let down when adults tell them things which aren't true. Be prepared to look at your own behaviour and to be honest with your child. If you drink alcohol or use drugs, what is your child learning from you about taking care of themselves?
Does your child tell you everyone else is allowed more freedom?
Stand up to peer pressure - check things out with other parents - it might help to share experiences. But have confidence to stick to what feels right for your child - you know them best.
A small number of young people develop serious problems because of alcohol or drug use. If you are worried that this is happening to your child, get help - by visiting www.talktofrank.com or call 0800 77 66 00.
You're The Grown Up!
Firm rules show you care what happens to your child. Hang on to the right to know where they are and who they are with. Fix call in times and times to come home. Have the courage to say 'No' - sometimes it's what your child needs most.
Communication Is The Key
Keeping talking to your child. Find ways to spend time together so they can talk to you easily. Trust your instincts about what is right and wrong - but be strong enough to listen and have your opinions tested. try to stay calm - your child may not be honest if they are scared of your anger. Tell them you will try not to get angry if they come to you for help.
Manchester A & E departments regularly test young people under 18 because of alcohol or drugs - especially at weekends. Alcohol and drugs cause direct harm - and young people take bad decisions and make themselves vulnerable while 'under the influence'.
What Can Happen!
- poisoning - having too much or mixing drink and drugs
- problems with learning and school
- having unwanted or unprotected sex
- being robbed or attacked
- getting into fights, driving illegally or committing other crimes