Kids between ages 11-13 are high at risk for alcohol/drug experimentation due to increasing independence. Yet, despite their protests, they still crave structure and guidance; they want you to show them you care enough to set limits.
- Create rules and discuss in advance the consequences of breaking them. Make your expectations clear. Do not make empty threats or let the rule-breaker off the hook. Do not impose harsh or unexpected new punishments.
- Set a curfew and enforce it strictly. Be prepared to negotiate for special occassions.
- Have kids check in at regular times. Give them a phone card if they do not have a cell phone.
- Communicate with parents whose home is to be used for a youth gathering. On the night of the gathering, do not be afraid to stop in and say hello (and make sure that adult supervision is in place).
- Make it easy for your child to leave a gathering where drugs and alcohol are present. Discuss in advance how you or another designated adult will come to pick up your child the moment he/she feels uncomfortable. Later, be prepared to talk about what happened.
- Listen to your instincts. Do not be afraid to intervene if your gut reaction tells you that something is wrong.