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Help your child tap into a lifetime of wisdom and experience.  Your wisdom.. your experience... Through your words and the example you set, your children can be better prepared to face the pressures that lead to the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.  The following are some ideas adapted from a list promoted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free California.

  1. Be your kids' greatest fan.  Compliment them on all of their efforts, the strength of their character, and their individuality.  There can be so many opportunities everyday... a school paper, a chore, an athletic activity or any time they do something the first time you ask.

  2. Help your kids develop tools they can use to get out of alcohol- or drug-related situations.  The Mendez Foundation prevention curricula offer a variety of peer pressure resistance strategies.  Review these with your child and role-play different situations.

  3. Know your kids' friends and their parents.  Set time aside to call them and make sure they share your views on alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.  If there is a party at another home, offer to drive your children so you can meet the parents and tour their house.

  4. Set curfews and enforce them.  Let kids know the consequences of breaking curfew, including an earlier curfew.

  5. Set a no-use rule for alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs - including you.  This rule must also include consequences, such as the loss of privileges.  If you abuse alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, stop, even if it takes professional help.

  6. Sit down for dinner with your children at least once a week.  Use the time to talk -- don't eat in front of the TV.

  7. You don't need a lot of rules, but consistently enforce a small number of them with mild, and meaningful, consequences (e.g. no video games, extra chores).  This will help your children understand what you value... what's most important.

  8. Plan regular parent-child activities that both of you enjoy.  Take your kids to the playground, the library, or the community pool.  Try surfing the web together.

  9. Take advantage of everyday "teachable moments" to discuss drugs.  Drunk driving, lung cancer, violent crime and other side effects of drug use fill or daily news.  You could use these to illustrate your point.

  10. Arrange to have your children looked after or involved in activities from 3-5 p.m., the time most trouble occurs.  Make your presence felt if they get home from school while you're still working.  Leave a surprise pack of snacks and a video from the library.  Call them on the phone to offer help with homework or a friendly word or two.

  11. Make it easy for your child to leave a place where drugs are being used by offering to pick them up anytime.  And don't keep them waiting.  They need to feel they can

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