Make Family Dinners An Essential Part Of Your Daily Routine

This might surprise you, but if you want to prevent your teenager from abusing alcohol or other drugs, then eat dinner with him or her on most days of the week. Or at least this statistic is according to the September issue from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). This is just one finding about the power of family dinners.

This research has consistently shown that teenagers who eat dinner more often with their families are less likely to drink, smoke cigarettes, or use other drugs.

The most recent study compared two specific groups: teenagers who have two or less family dinners per week and those who have five or more per week. Those who ate two or less family dinners were:

  • Three times more likely to try marijuana.
  • Two-and-a-half times more likely to smoke cigarettes.
  • One-and-a-half times more likely to drink alcohol.

“Just Say No” Is Not Good Enough For Mid-Teen Years And Beyond

You need to do your homework and explain why marijuana is harmful. Think through the issues and equip your kids with sound reasoning. Just by opening this subject for conversation has a powerful effect on countering peer pressure that your kids may be facing.

Regularly Host Your Kid’s Friends At Your Home 

Make your home the ‘cool’ place to hangout. Don’t give the impression that they are a burden, but go the extra mile. In this way, at least you have some control in what is going on, and maybe your kid’s friends will even enjoy connecting with you!

As Parents, We Must Model Self-Control

Living a disciplined life is something that our own children will primarily learn from us. Our world is a consumer world, the lure of affluence and money is everywhere we turn and our children need to learn how not to be controlled by these things, but how to control them.

The importance of spending quality time with our kids, away from technical devices cannot be over-emphasized. Getting our kids outside is a must! A case in point is learning to shut off our iphones, ipads, video games at important family times.

Be Wise With Your Freedoms  (Rom.14: 21)

As parents our personal choices and behaviour impact our kids. If we compromise the values we ask them to follow, they will believe that they can compromise on some things as well.

Get Professional Help When Needed

If you suspect that your child is in danger of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate in seeking professional help and counselling. I fully agree that prayer is our first priority and sometimes bondages are broken off just through effective prayer. But, even if this were the case, an appointment with a professional counsellor would be money well spent.

Stay Connected With Your Kids

Do your best to maintain family events; especially during those awkward adolescent years. There is no reason that your mid-teen has to feel that it’s not cool to hang out with mom and dad! Make the effort to read up on the issues they are dealing with and open the dialogue to meaningful conversations to help them navigate their way.

NOTE: Some of these points are taken from A Practical Guide to Culture by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle