Welcome to “Parents: You Matter!” We’re all here today because we’re concerned about kids. We want them to grow up to be happy, healthy and safe, which includes helping them avoid the dangers of alcohol and other drugs.“Parents: You Matter!” allows us to share information with you from a number of perspectives – law enforcement, prevention, health, and treatment - to provide you with an understanding of the drug and alcohol issues kids face today, and how we, as parents, can help.We don’t have a blueprint for perfect parenting. What we do have is a rich collection of information, based on the latest prevention science and real world experience from parents who have had to deal with their kids’ drug and alcohol problems.Most of the information in this today’s event applies to all drug and alcohol issues, but in each presentation, we also focus on a specific drug. Today we will focus on (_____).
We will start with two public service announcements from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The first one you are about to see shows you how the drug, ecstasy, changed the Heird family forever. (SHOW VIDEO)
(SHOW VIDEO)The Heird family – Danielle’s parents – chose to share their daughter’s story, because they do not want any parent to go through what they went through. And that’s really the reason for this event: we don’t want to lose any child to drugs and alcohol; to addictions or accidents. We want to take action to prevent what happened to the Heirds from happening to any other family.
One important point to make up front: When we use the word “parent,” we are talking about anyone and everyone who is a caring presence in a child’s life – grandparents, aunts and uncles, even big brothers and sisters. When we say the word “parent” we are talking about you. (Sequential clicks for bullet point build)
During today’s event, we will talk about why your role is so important; some of the reasons why kids use drugs and alcohol; and most importantly, specific ways you can protect your child. We’ll give you tips on how to communicate with your kids and monitor their activities, how to spot drug/alcohol use and what you should do when you find it.
As parents, sometimes when we’re talking to our kids it can feel we’re talking to a brick wall. But is important for you to know what the science and research tell us: parents do matter [CLICK ANIMATION]. Kids who learn about the dangers of drugs at home are up to 50% less likely to use drugs than kids who don’t.And parents matter because when kids need help, it is their parents or other concerned adults in their life who make the difference. [CLICK ANIMATION] And 2 million kids in America do need help – and most don’t get it.
Taking action during the teenage years is especially important. Most kids who use drugs/alcohol will not develop a problem or suffer serious consequences, but the facts show that 9 out of 10 people who do develop a problem started using as teens.The flip side of that issue is some very good news: a child who gets through their teen years without abusing drugs or alcohol is highly unlikely to develop a problem as an adult.Furthermore, the later we can delay first use, the less likely a child is to develop a problem. So, as you can see, you do matter.
Before we can act effectively to help prevent kids’ use of drugs and alcohol we need to understand some of the reasons why kids use.
Kids are individuals and there are many factors – almost always in combination -- that influence their decision whether or not to use drugs or alcohol.And it is a decision that kids make. They make the choice whether or not to drink, or smoke, or take that pills, almost always at a time and place when you will not be there. The way we will look at these factors is by splitting them between the factors in their mind – the internal reasons; and the factors in their world – the external reasons. We will also examine some situations that make some kids especially vulnerable to use or develop a problem.
The first factor that influences their decision whether or not to use is their perception of risk – how dangerous they consider a drug to be.Kids aren’t dumb. In their own way, they compare what they think the risks of using drugs and alcohol are versus what they think the benefits will be. The greater the perceived risk, the less likely they are to use; the lower the perceived risk, the more likely they are to use.
Kids also weigh how they think other people – especially people who are important to them, like you – would react to their drug use. If kids think that others will react negatively, the less likely they are to use; but if they think that no one will think it’s a “big deal,” they are more likely to use.You need to know that even if they don’t show it, what you think does matter to your kid. “Disappointing my parents” is one of the top reasons kids give for not using.
But the most common reason kids give for using is that they feel that it will help them deal with problems in their life. Kids’ lives can be hard. Many kids use – or justify their use – because they think that it will help them cope with the problems they are facing.
There’s something else going on inside their heads – their brains are growing and changing. Through advances in technology, we are learning that the teen brain is different from an adult’s brains.
Listen to Dr. Ken Winters talk to a number of teens and parents about when they think the human brain is fully developed.
When you’re a mom who is talking to a 16-year-old young man who is six inches taller than you, who can take a computer apart and put it back together again, it is easy to think of him as an adult. But he is not. [CLICK ANIMATION]As Dr. Winters stated, the human brain is not fully developed until a person is in their mid-20’s. Furthermore, [CLICK ANIMATION] the part of the brain that develops last governs judgment. Add to that a bundle of emotions and you have a formula for bad choices and erratic behavior – even among those we would otherwise call “good kids.”
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America has developed a great, informative website called “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain.” This interactive site does a great job explaining how the teen brain works, and helps parents better understand their child.The web address is drugfree.org/teenbrain
Ok, we’ve talked about what’s going on inside their heads – but what’s going on in their world? More to the point, what issues in their world may make them more or less likely to decide to use drugs and alcohol?[Click] Stress from school: Dealing with school problems is the #1 reason kids give for using drugs and alcohol. School can be challenging and competitive. A kid who doesn’t feel successful can feel that their whole future is at risk.[Click] Relationships (Friends): Kids worry about losing friends if they don’t use; and some use drugs to impress their friends, or make new ones[Click] Relationships (Romantic): As parents, we may not like it, but kids make a decision about whether or not they will engage in sexual activity. Teens use may use alcohol and other drugs to “take the edge off” to make it easier for them to hook up. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol impair their ability to make smart, healthy decisions. Even when sex is not part of the equation, the emotions and feelings that go along with “young love,” become all the more difficult when drugs and alcohol are mixed in. One in four teens say that they have done more sexually than planned when under the influence of drugs / alcohol.(Click) Family pressures & problems: There are no perfect families. Most of us aren’t Waltons or Huxtables – we’re just trying to do our best. But we need to know, as adults, that the stresses and strains that come from within our home life have an impact on our kids.(Click) Transitions & fitting in: When kids start a new school, their whole life gets shaken up – new experiences; new schedules; new friends; new teachers. Most of these experiences will be positive. But the “newness” can be stressful in itself; and the need to form new relationships and fit in may lead kids to try drugs / alcohol to impress others. Changes in home life can also create pressures on a child that increases their risk of use.(Click) Independence (Cars): The biggest jump in independence happens when kids start driving. Suddenly, the world opens up to them. It is a new, private space for teens, away from the prying eyes of their parents. In addition to the obvious dangers of impaired driving, cars provide a concealed space that can mask risky behaviors that often combine drugs/alcohol and sex. (Click) Availability of drugs and alcohol: Another factor in a kid’s world is the extent to which drugs and alcohol are available and how easy they are to get. We know we can’t eliminate any and all access to drugs and alcohol, but the more impediments we can put in their way –by securing prescription drugs and alcohol in our own homes; by monitoring our kids; and by supporting policies that help law enforcement in their work – the better off we will be.
So, let’s take a more specific look at a teen’s world when it comes to drugs and alcohol. 24 percent of 12th graders have used an illicit drug – half used an illicit drug other than marijuana27 percent report being drunkFrom another survey, 25 percent of kids report having five or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks.These numbers are critical in understanding what is going on currently. We have all heard that the numbers have gone down in the past 10-15 years, but they are still too high. We need to remember that the gains we made in the past 10 years can be lost, so it is our job to make sure use and abuse keep going down.
Another way to understand the national drug scene is to look at the wide range of drugs that are out there and that we need to talk with our kids about. While alcohol and pot are – far and away – at the top of the list, the number of kids who use other drugs – especially prescription and over-the-counter drugs -- should concern us all.
Now that’s a national view – how do things look here in our community?[Opportunity for local treatment / law enforcement to speak. If you have local stats, insert them into this slide.]
Finally, there are certain risk factors that, when present in a person’s life, make them statistically more vulnerable drug/alcohol use and abuse. If your kid is vulnerable, the one thing you should not do is resign yourself to the likelihood that they will end up using. Vulnerabilities don’t predict behavior; they just change the levels of risk. It means you should be extra vigilant to monitor, protect, and guide your child through their teenage years. [Click] Family history --predisposition to drug or alcohol problems: When it comes to a family history of substance abuse, we don’t need a blame game – the simple fact is that your child is at greater risk to develop a problem. A family history of substance abuse can also provide a powerful “teachable moment” when you talk with your kids about drugs.[Click] Close friends who use drugs or alcohol: If your kid has close friends who use drugs or alcohol, you should beware. The likelihood that your child will use drugs and alcohol roughly doubles.[Click] Early first use: Early first use increases the chances that a kid will develop problems later on. A kid who starts smoking pot at age 14 or younger is more than twice as likely to have a drug or alcohol problem as an adult than a kid who starts using at age 18-20.(Click) Teens who undergo a serious period of depression face a sharply increased risk of starting to use drugs and alcohol following that event. The word “self-medicate” is thrown around a lot, but that is exactly what these kids are trying to do.(Click) Problems in school/learning disabilities: Research has also shown that problems in school – both academic and social – place a child at greater risk for substance abuse.
So, we’ve discussed the risks and the reasons why – now is the time to talk about what we can do as parents and concerned adults to protect the kids we love.(Click) We can help our kids avoid the problem, and (Click) We can help them deal with a problemI think that we would all prefer to take the first option and help our child avoid the problem of drugs and alcohol altogether – and we’ll talk about ways you can do that. But the fact is that you can do everything right, you can say all the right words, and your kid may still develop a problem – that’s when they will truly need you, and there is a lot you can do to help them.
The following video is a public service announcement from the Partnership that reinforces with parents that not only do you have to get involved, but you are fully capable of helping.
So let’s talk about what you are “able” to do to help your child avoid a problem with drugs and alcohol.
The first thing that you can do is to learn the facts about drugs and alcohol. Take the time to learn the details, so that you can be a credible source of information for your kids. [Click] Keep your information fresh – read the paper, take advantage of opportunities to talk to law enforcement and educators about what they’re seeing – and attend events like this one. [Click] Even if you were exposed to drug and alcohol use as teens and young adults – and most of us have been – you can’t assume that you know what your kid is facing. Drugs have changed; media has changed; and pressures have changed.Today, we’re going to focus on [DRUG / CATEGORY OF DRUGS], a threat that parents need to know more about.
Hopefully, you will find this information helpful to you to help prevent your child from having a problem with drugs and alcohol.But all the information in the world doesn’t help too much if you keep it to yourself. You need to talk with your teens. We know that is usually a challenge, and you may have to be creative on how you bring up the subject of drugs and alcohol. In the following Partnership video, we show you there is no wrong way of doing it, as long as it gets done.
You have seen this statistic before, and it bears repeating …. Kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50% less likely to use drugsWhy are kids who learn about drugs at home are less likely to use? You mean they actually listen to us? Surprisingly, yes. [CLICK] In fact, in a survey by MTV (yes MTV!) about half of teens reported that their parents are their hero!
But – starting that conversation, and keeping it going, isn’t always as easy as we would like it to be. Here are some tips from the Partnership on effective communication:[Click] First, be clear, and focus on the risks of drug / alcohol use. Let your kid know that you love them and don’t want anything bad to happen to them.[Click] Second, let your kid know that you disapprove of any drug or alcohol use. Don’t assume that your kid “knows” that you don’t want them to use. You’ve got to say it; and consistently repeat it. Kids who think that their parents would be upset if they try drugs are 43% less likely to do so.[Click] Take advantage of teachable moments to communicate with your child about the risks of drugs. That could be a public service announcement, a story on the news, or a plot line on a TV show. Don’t let the moment pass – talk.[Click] Try to take time to talk – really talk – every day. Even if it is just for a few minutes. And, perhaps more important than talking, listen. By listening, you will be more aware of what is going on in your kid’s life and that you really care. The Partnership Web site TimeToTalk.org gives you a lot of important tips in engaging in these conversations. [Click] Finally, even if you used in the past, don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s about their future, not your past. The Partnership offers tips and advice on how to handle the issue.
Another key thing that we, as parents, need to do to prevent problems is monitor our kids. “Monitoring” isn’t “hovering” or being over-protective – it’s keeping track of who your child is with, what they’re doing, where they are, and when they’ll be home. It means checking up on them, and making sure that what they say is what they do. Try to know your kids’ friends and their parents.Kids will probably push back and want greater independence, but you, as parents need to be the ones who set the limits on their behavior. We do this as parents not to be bullies or to dominate our kids, but because we love them and want them to be safe.
In the following video, Sandy, a mom who has a child in recovery, talks about monitoring, and how she wished she had done more of it when it came to her daughter.
As stated earlier, you can do everything “right,” and your kid may still end up having a problem. That’s the time when your kid will need you most.
Before you can help address a problem, you have to be able to identify it. Here are five changes to watch for that could indicate that your child may be using alcohol or drugs: [Click each]Declining school work and gradesAbrupt changes in friends, groups / behaviorSleeping habits/abnormal health issuesDeteriorating relationships with familyLess openness and honestyAnd again, if your child has any of the special vulnerabilities we discussed, you should be especially sensitive to potential problems.Now, many of these behaviors are “typical” teen behavior, and may have nothing to do with drug use, but the suddenness of changes, or the occurrence of several changes at once should alert you to the possibility of a problem.
Here is a teen in recovery, who talks about just that – how his behavior changed toward his family – because of his drug use.
So – if you get to the point that you think your child is having a problem, you have to take action – the sooner you act, the better the outcome. [Click] So, step one is to focus - you need to know that you can do this. Don’t panic and remember that you have to act right away.[Click] Next, start talking: Let your child know you are concerned - communicate your disapproval[Click] You will need to set limits, rules and consequences, if they haven’t been in place before you have to step in.[Click] Next, if you have been monitoring, you’ll need to double your efforts. If you haven’t, you need to start. This may also go beyond your previous efforts – snoop; go into their rooms, their cars. You may be uncomfortable doing this, but you are doing it because you love them.[Click] Finally, get outside/professional help – you don’t have to do this alone. This is a health issue: if your kid had a cough that wasn’t going away, you wouldn’t wait and wait and try to figure it out for yourself – you’d find a doctor. Substance abuse is no different. Talk to a doctor, a teacher, a substance abuse counselor, a parent who has been through this. They will all be willing to help you.
Listen to these three moms who have had to deal with substance abuse issues with their children. They were on the front lines, and know first-hand that as a parent, you need to get involved sooner rather than later before it is too late. Two have children in recovery; one lost her child.
So – we’ve talked about a lot of important information today.But what matters most is what happens after you leave this room.[Click] I would ask you to use what you have learned today in your life, and with your family.[Click] Talk to other parents and concerned adults about what you have heard. If there are other groups who’d like to hear a “Parents: You Matter!” community event, please talk with me.[Click] Use today’s event to jump start communication between parents. Here’s a challenge: Tell three friends about “Parents: You Matter!” tomorrow. In the next week, call the parents of one of your kid’s friends who you don’t know so well. Introduce yourself. Let that parent know that you welcome their call anytime about anything that affects your kids.[Click] Most importantly, make this the start of a learning process.
There’s a lot to learn out there: again, talking to other parents is key. Substance abuse can’t be a taboo topic. Once you start talking, you’ll learn that other parents probably have a lot of the same feelings you do.[INSERT LOCAL RESOURCE INFORMATION]The Partnership for a Drug-Free America also has a great deal of information to share.
The Partnership has established an array of websites and newsletters that exist to help you as parents, keep your kids healthy and safe.Time to Talk: provides easy-to-use guides and tips to help you have ongoing conversations with your kids to keep them healthy and drug-freeTime to Act: Is the only site of its kind designed to address parents in an active state of concern about how to help their child if they suspect or know their child is usingThe Partnership now offers eBooks to help parents determine whether or not their child is using, what action to take if they are, understand what treatment is, and how to find the right program for their specific needs.These sites can be accessed from drugfree.org/parents360
The Partnership can also help you stay informed about national drug and alcohol issues. Go to drugfree.org.You can sign up for a newsletter where you will receive helpful tools, tips, and guidance for raising healthy, drug-free kids.You can also find us @drugnews on Twitter or become a friend of the Partnership on Facebook, and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
That’s it – and always remember……CLICK once to trigger video
(Thank the audience again & ask them to complete audience evaluations.)CLICK to final slide
PARENTS: YOU MATTER! Drugs/Alcohol, Your Teen and YOU
PARENTS • Moms and dads • Grandparents • Aunts and uncles • Close family friends • Mentors • Other caregiversThe presence of a caring adultin a child’s life
Today’s Presentation • Why YOU matter • Why DO kids use drugs/alcohol? • What YOU can do Communicate – 4 Tips to Help Monitor – 6 Tips to Help How to spot drug/alcohol use What to do if you spot drug/alcohol use
Why YOU matter You matter because you Kids who learn about can help your child the danger of drugs at avoid getting involved home are up to 50% in drugs/alcohol less likely to use You matter because you can help your 2 million teens child get help if need treatment, they need it most don’t get itPartnership for a Drug-Free America, Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, 2008; SubstanceAbuse and Mental Health Services Administration, The NSDUH Report, 2006
9 out of 10 people with a drug/alcohol problem started using as a teen… - But -… a child who gets through her/histeen years without abusing drugs or alcohol is highly unlikely to develop a problem as an adult
Many Factors• There are many factors that affect a kid’s decision whether or not to use …• Today, we’ll focus on the most important factors by looking at what’s going on … In their mind In their world• And look at the special vulnerabilities some kids face
In their minds ... “How dangerous are• Perception of risk drugs & alcohol?”
In their minds ...• What will people think? “What will my (Social disapproval) friends & family say?”
In their minds ... “I can’t deal with• Cope with problems this anymore …”
In their minds … The human brain is not fully developed until the mid-20s Judgment develops last
In their world …• Stress from school• Relationships Friends Romantic• Family pressures & problems• Transitions & fitting in• Independence (Cars)• Availability of drugs and alcohol
National Drug & Alcohol Scene O In the past 30 days: • 24 percent of 12th graders have used an illicit drug – more than one-third of whom used an illicit drug other than marijuana • 27 percent report being drunk O 25 percent of 12th graders report having five or more drinks in a row in the past two weeksUniversity of Michigan, Monitoring the Future, 2009
National Drug & Alcohol Scene 54% 44% 23% 17% 13% 12% 11% 9% 7% 5% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, 2009
Local Drug & Alcohol Situation• Insert text here• Insert text here• Insert text here• Insert text here• Insert text here
Special Vulnerabilities • Family history -- predisposition to drug or alcohol problems • Close friends who use drugs or alcohol • Early first use • Diagnosed or undiagnosed depression / other mental health disorders • Problems in school / learning disabilities
What You Can Do• You can help your child avoid the problem (prevention)• You can help your child address the problem (how to spot drug/alcohol use & what to do when you find it)
You do matter … Kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50% less likely to use drugs and According to an MTV survey, almost half of all kids name a parent as their hero.Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, 2008; AssociatedPress / MTV Youth Happiness Study, 2007
Communicate – 4 Tips to Help 1. Clearly communicate the risks of drug/alcohol use 2. Let your kids know you disapprove of any drug/alcohol use – teens in grades 9-12 who believe their parents will be upset if they try marijuana are 47% less likely to do so 3. Use “teachable moments” to raise drug/alcohol issues. 4. Frequently talk AND LISTEN to your kids about how things are going in their lives Even if you used in the past, don’t be afraid to talk!Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, 2009
Monitor – 6 Tips to Help1. Know who your child is with2. Know what they’re doing3. Know where your child will be4. Know when your child is expected home5. Know who your teen’s friends are – communicate with their parents6. Establish and enforce rules – including a clear “no use” policy.
What You Can Do• You can help your child address the problem (how to spot drug/alcohol use & what to do when you find it)
How To Spot Drug/Alcohol Use• Here are 5 changes to watch for… 1. Declining school work and grades 2. Abrupt changes in friends, groups / behavior 3. Sleeping habits/abnormal health issues 4. Deteriorating relationships with family 5. Less openness and honesty• Be aware of special vulnerabilities
What to Do When You Spot Drug/Alcohol Use 5 ways to take action1. Focus - You can do this Don’t panic, but act right away2. Start talking Let your child know you are concerned - communicate your disapproval3. Set limits – set rules and consequences4. Monitor – Look for evidence, make lists, keep track5. Get outside/professional help – you don’t have to do this alone
Next Steps• Use what you’ve learned today • Talk to your kids tonight• Spread the word about Parents: You Matter!• Communicate with other parents • Tell 3 friends tomorrow • Learn more!
Learning More• Other Parents• Local Resources Treatment providers Prevention organizations Law enforcement contacts• The Partnership for a Drug-Free America
TimeToTalk provides easy-to-use guides If you suspect or know your child is using and tips to help you have ongoing drugs or alcohol, it is important to takeconversations with your kids to keep them action right away. So dont give up. Were healthy and drug-free here to help www.timetotalk.org www.drugfree.org/timetoact The Partnership now offers eBooks to help parents determine whether or not their child is using, what action to take if they are, understand what treatment is, and how to find the right program for their specific needs www.drugfree.org/gethelp
Stay connected to the Partnership Go to drugfree.orgeNewsletterTimely News, Tools and Tips Parenting Tips Find us @drugnews on Keep up-to-date by In Your Inbox: Twitter for the latest becoming a friend of the Receive helpful news about drugs and Partnership on Facebookinformation for raising alcohol. page! healthy kids
PARENTS: YOU MATTER! Thank YouThis project was supported by Grant No. 2007DGBXK002 awarded by the Bureau ofJustice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.