Tips for Parents and Other Caring Adults

The Watertown Youth Coalition is committed to supporting adults as they guide children and teens in making healthy decisions. Having a loving, involved, and informed caring adult in his or her life is the best resource a child can have. The most important way to make a difference in your community is to start within your household by communicating with your children under age 21

10 ways you can help the child or teen in your life make positive choices:

  1. Ask questions! Let your child know that you are interested in his or her life. Use time in the car together to prompt conversations about music, hobbies and sports. Kids are often more comfortable talking in informal situations where they do not have to make eye contact.
  2.  Listen to your child! Restate what he or she said, ask a question, or make an observation that shows that you want to make sure that you hear and understand what he or she is saying.
  3.  Talk with your child about his or her values and goals, and how they might be affected by unhealthy decisions, such as substance use.
  4.  Be sure your child knows what to do if they find themselves around alcohol, cigarettes, or other substances. Help them practice what they will say. Together, make a plan for what they will do.
  5.  Make sure not to leave your teenagers home alone when you go out of town. Word gets out quickly and a party can develop even without your child’s consent.
  6.  Connect with other parents—getting to know other parents can help you keep aware of what your child is doing.
  7.  Always know where your child is, with whom, and what they will be doing. Make sure there is supervision and ensure that no alcohol will be present. Call or ask your child to call you at specific times and agree on when they are to be home.
  8. Keep alcohol in locked cabinets.
  9.  Talk to older children about not supplying alcohol or cigarettes to their younger siblings or friends.
  10.  Encourage your child to participate in supervised after-school and weekend activities that are challenging and fun, like community service, sports, art, music, drama, or clubs at school.