for Parents on Keeping Children Drug Free
U.S. Department of Education
Middle School or Junior High School Child
year your child enters middle school or junior high school is both
an exciting and a challenging time. They are little fish in a big
pond and often want desperately to fit in. Because your children
may now see older students using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs
and may think they are cool and self-assured, your children may
be tempted to try drugs too. Drug use goes up dramatically in the
first year of middle school or junior high.
help your children make good choices during this critical phase,
sure they are well-versed in the reasons to avoid alcohol, tobacco
Get to know their friends by taking them to and from after-school
activities, games, the library and movies (while being sensitive
to their need to feel independent);
Volunteer for activities where you can observe your child at school;
Get acquainted with the parents of your children's friends and learn
about their children's interests and habits. If it seems that your
child is attracted to those with bad habits, reiterate why drug
use is unacceptable.
To make sure that your child's life is structured in such a way
that drugs have no place in it, you should:
possible, arrange to have your children looked after and engaged
in the after-school hours if you cannot be with them. Encourage
them to get involved with reputable youth groups, arts, music, sports,
community service and academic clubs.
sure children who are unattended for periods during the day feel
your presence. Give them a schedule and set limits on their behavior.
Give them household chores to accomplish. Enforce a strict phone-in-to-you
policy. Leave notes for them around the house. Provide easy-to-find
to know the parents of your child's friends. Exchange phone numbers
and addresses. Agree to forbid each others' children from consuming
alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in their homes, and pledge that
you will inform each other if one of you becomes aware of a child
who violates this pact.
parents whose home is to be used for a party. Make sure they can
assure you that no alcoholic beverages or illegal substances will
be dispensed. Don't be afraid to check out the party yourself to
see that adult supervision is in place.
it easy for your child to leave a place where substances are being
used. Discuss with your child in advance how to contact you or another
designated adult in order to get a ride home. If another adult provides
the transportation, be available to talk to your child about the
situation when he or she arrives home.
curfews and enforce them. Weekend curfews might range from 9 p.m.
for a fifth-grader to 12:30 a.m. for a senior in high school.
open dialogue with your children about their experiences. Tell your
child, "I love you and trust you, but I don't trust the world
around you, and I need to know what's going on in your life so I
can be a good parent to you."
For more information about how to help your child stay drug-free,
your teenage kids the pitfalls of Teen
Drug Abuse is a great way to warn them about this social disease.