Tips for Parents of Teens

  • Discuss potential problem situations – along with possible solutions — well ahead of time. This gives your teen the foresight to handle a wide variety of difficulties.
  • Generate a list of clear expectations and consequences — again, in advance. This puts everyone on the same page and lessens the chance of miscommunication.
  • Contact other parents to find out whether there is a party at their home and whether they will be there. Encourage them to contact you at any time with the same questions.
  • Be sure teens have taxi phone numbers and other resources programmed into their cell phones. Agree upon a catch phrase or word that can be used on the phone, signaling that your teen wants you to come and pick up.
  • Put money in an agreed-upon spot in the house should your teen need to pay for a taxi to come home.
  • Give your teen an “out” by allowing him/her to blame you for not entering into various unhealthy risky behaviors. This helps him/her save face.
  • Stay up and talk to your teen upon his/her return from a night out. This will increase communication and prevent him/her coming home under the influence without your knowledge. Your teen may be more willing to talk about the evening's events at that time, so take advantage of the opportunity and strengthen your relationship.
  • Be aware of the constant flow of information and rumors. Instant messaging, texting, and social networks like Facebook can lead to technology aggression (e.g. cyber-bullying, threats, hurtful statements)
  • Know about all medicines in your own home. Prescription and over-the-counter medications are frequently misused and abused, although there continues to be a misperception that these are not harmful. Teens can easily check medicine cabinets and take what they find. Get rid of medications you no longer require and put others in a less accessible place.
  • Learn some updated jargon:
    • Trees = weed = marijuana
    • Spice or K2 = synthetic marijuana
    • A 40 = 40 ounces of beer = alcohol
    • 420 = smoking marijuana
    • Special K = Ketamine
    • X = XTC = Ecstasy
    • Blow = coke = cocaine
    • Dabs = concentrated marijuana extract in the form of a smokable oil. Dabs are 90% THC.
  • Question your teen who claims to be “keeping something” for a friend. Chances are good it belongs to your teen.
  • Work to maintain that easy communication among families from elementary school days. This connection need not be lost during high school years; it just takes more of an effort.
  • Note the positives and strengths of your teen. Compliments can still make a difference.
  • Be the parent, not the friend. This is not only okay — it’s crucial. You need to set limits and rules; your child is counting on you!

For more information, see: Teen Drug Slang: Dictionary for Parents