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A resource to start the conversation
about drug use and abuse.
Advice for Parents

.::: Watching Over Your Kids

Watching over your kids:

  • Re-assures you that they’re safe.
  • Shows them that you care about them: where they are, who they’re with and what they’re doing.

Routines and curfews

Be clear that you need to know where they are and why they’re there.

  • Establish a routine.
    Remind your kids to check in regularly and to tell you if their plans change.
  • Set a curfew.
    Decide, together, on the consequences if the curfew is broken.

Boundaries and expectations

While they can cause conflict, boundaries show your kids that you care.

  • Discuss, as a family, your own family boundaries. Decide together how relaxed or strict they should be.
  • Let your children know what you expect of them. Your kids might resist and complain, but they need to know expectations and limits.

Enforcing consequences

Consequences show that your family’s boundaries and expectations are important and that you’re serious about enforcing them.

  • Set consequences before anything happens. If you tell them, “Do [action], and [consequence] will happen”, your child will know you’ll follow through on your word.
  • Make sure your kids understand what’s important to your family (i.e., coming home on time, not drinking underage and not using drugs), so the consequences aren’t a surprise.
  • Make the consequences logical. If your son or daughter comes home late one Saturday night, it’s logical to deny them the privilege of attending a party the following weekend.
  • Rethink and adjust your expectations if the consequences aren’t working and your kids are constantly breaking the rules.

Being Clear

Be very clear about your boundaries and expectations when it comes to drug use and underage drinking.

  • Clearly communicate your expectations and the consequences: “If you choose to [action] I will [consequence].”
  • Use opportunities like TV shows, movies or real-life events to reinforce the need for boundaries and consequences.
  • Don’t try to approach an issue when your child has made a poor choice and you’re both upset. Rest, calm down and raise the issue calmly the next day, but be sure to follow through with the consequence of the action.

Following through

If your child goes beyond the boundaries, follow through on the consequences.

If you don’t, you’ll give the message that:

  • Boundaries and expectations aren’t important and
  • You don’t mean what you say.

If the consequences you are trying don’t work, look at other options like decreasing allowance, taking away driving privileges or talking to parents of your child’s friends to voice concerns and identify common strategies to deal with these concerns.

Establishing your family’s values

All families are different, so don’t expect your beliefs and values to be the same as others.

You and your partner might not always have the same opinion, so:

  • Take time to decide which values are important to your family.
  • Compromise and agree on your family’s boundaries and expectations, then make sure your child clearly understands them.

Standing firm

Sometimes your family’s set of boundaries and consequences might seem stronger than other families’.

  • Stand your ground. It’s okay to have different boundaries and values than your friends and neighbours.
  • Stick to your values (even though it might seem like a constant battle at times).
  • Don’t give in and abandon the boundaries your family has set.


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Revised: April 22, 2016


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