Lay Down the Law

Kids between 11 - 13 - ages highly at risk for drug experimentation- are increasingly independent. Despite their protests, they still crave structure and guidance they want you to show them you care enough to set limits.
1. Create rules - and discuss in advance the consequences of breaking them. Make your expectations clear. Don't make empty threats or let the rule-breaker off the hook. Don't impose harsh or unexpected new punishments.
2. Set a curfew- And enforce it strictly. Be prepared to negotiate for special occasions.
3. Have kids check in at regular times. Give them a phone card, change or even a pager, with clear rules for using it. (Remember that pagers are not allowed in some schools).
4. Call parents whose home is to be used for a party. On party night don't be afraid to stop in and say hello (and make sure that adult supervision is in place).
5. Make it easy to leave a party where drugs are being used. Discuss in advance how you or another designated adult will come to pick your child up the moment he or she feels uncomfortable. Later, be prepared to talk about what happened.
6. Listen to your instincts. Don't be afraid to intervene if your gut reaction tells you that something is wrong.

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