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Prevention Guidelines for Parents

Web Site Provides Parents With Useful Information


Updated June 08, 2003

In an ongoing effort to provide parents and other caring adults with resources to promote good mental health and to help reduce the risk of children using drugs, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) recently launched A Family Guide To Keeping Youth Mentally Healthy & Drug Free, a comprehensive Web site that provides pertinent prevention information and guidelines.

The Web site builds its foundation on six action steps. Each step has a corresponding section that features articles designed to help parents understand what they need to know, say, and do to help children ages 7-18 make healthy, drug free decisions. In addition, some of the articles feature vignettes and application exercises designed to help parents take what they have learned and put it into action.

The six core action steps are:

  • Talk With Your Child: This section emphasizes the importance of establishing and maintaining good communication with children. Topics discussed in this area include: breaking down communication barriers, how to tell if your child is depressed, and how to have effective two-way communication with your child.
  • Get Involved: Young people are much less likely to have mental health and substance use problems when they have positive activities to do and when caring adults are involved in their lives. This section offers ideas on how to become more involved in a child's life.
  • Set Rules: Experts say it is essential to make clear rules and enforce them with consistency and appropriate disciplinary action. This section offers tips on how to establish expectations for children and how to respond if children don't comply.
  • Be a Role Model: Children like to imitate adults. This is why parents need to be mindful of their actions when it comes to the use of tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs and what they say about people with mental illness. This section provides activities and tips on how to be a positive role model.
  • Teach Kids To Choose Friends Wisely: We've all heard the phrase "peer pressure." Children want to be accepted and noticed by their peers, and sometimes this can lead children to do things they would not normally do. This section offers information and tips to support children's social skills and development at a time when they are making important decisions that will affect their whole life.
  • Monitor Your Child's Activities: Research shows that monitoring a child's activities is an important way of lowering his or her chances of getting involved in a harmful situation. In this section, users will find tips on how to monitor what children are doing at home, school and elsewhere.
Visitors to the Web site will also find a mental health dictionary, drug facts, and new research and links to ordering information for numerous helpful publications. A Family Guide to Keeping Youth Mentally Healthy & Drug Free is an indispensable resource for parents and other caring adults searching for ways to help keep their children away from tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs and promote children's mental health.

Source: SAMHSA News Release.

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