For parents trying to keep their children away from alcohol and drugs during their formative years, there is good news -- research shows that parents can have considerable influence on the decisions their teens make regarding substance abuse.
Following are the best tips for parents from the latest scientific research into why teens do and do not decide to drink alcohol or do drugs during adolescence.
Peers and the media do play a role, but parents remain the greatest influence over their children's behavior, according to research. Here are some practical tips parents can use to reduce the likelihood that their children will engage in substance abuse.
The type of parent you are (authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent or neglectful) can make a big difference in whether or not your teens will pick up alcohol and drugs in their early years, according to this study of 4,983 adolescents.
If your children feel like they can talk to you about their problems and their lives, and that you respect their feelings, they are less likely to drink or abuse drugs at an early age, according to this research.
The more often you have sit-down family dinners each week, the less likely your children will become involved in substance abuse as teens -- as long as you talk with your children at those meals and become involved in their lives.
You may think that is a no-brainer, that teens who are religious are less likely to drink and drug compared to those who are not involved in religion, but what may surprise you is just how much difference it makes.