When your teen improves their grades, or scores a run in their baseball game, do you congratulate them? Recognizing your kid’s accomplishments reinforces positive behaviors and has been shown to lower the likelihood they will use alcohol and other drugs. Many parents have found creative ways to do this. Here are a few ideas.
- Give your teen attention daily. Surprisingly, many teens just want to be able to communicate with their parents. Plan a fun night to hang out where you can talk with each other. If you can’t make the time for an entire evening, simply pulling them aside sometime and expressing your pride can help.
- Engage them with technology, such as sending them encouraging text messages
- Open up communication with your teen with a card. Cards are usually reserved for birthdays or holidays, so an unexpected one can show your teen you are thinking about them and they are important to you.
- Is there something your teen has been striving for? For big accomplishments, like straight A’s at the end of a semester, a small gift may be appropriate.
Take a moment to note how glad you are that your child is choosing positive behaviors and avoiding substance misuse. Positive support is an important step toward healthier teens. If you would like more tips on how to have a meaningful conversation with your child about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, download or order free materials at maclearinghouse.com, such as our “7 Ways to Protect Your Teen from Alcohol and Other Drugs” booklet.
Have other ideas? Feel free to provide them in the comments!