Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Don’t Just Talk to Your Teen: Put it in Writing

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Dear Joseph,

As a dad, I know firsthand that it’s not always easy to talk to kids about anything, let alone drugs and alcohol. The conversation can go downhill quickly. But making sure your kids know your expectations when it comes to substance abuse is important. It could serve as a critical prevention tool.

To help me start my conversation with my own teenage son, I decided to put the details of our discussions about drugs and alcohol into writing. By signing a contract, my son promised to stay safe, avoid drugs and alcohol and be open and honest with me. This wasn’t one-sided, however: I promised to support him, listen to him and help keep him safe.

Our written contract became an incredibly useful tool for my family. Your own agreement can contain whatever terms you’d like. When you set boundaries and expectations when it comes to drugs and alcohol, and educate teens about the dangers of this behavior, they will be much less likely to use in the first place.


Jerry Otero
Parent Support Specialist
The Partnership at

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