Help Prevent Drug Use by Your Teen - Tips on Developing Their Resiliency

ISBN: 978-1-100-50674-6
Cat. No.: H29-30/2010

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Information about how parents can help teens resist the pressure to use drugs

Have you ever wondered why some young people overcome great adversity, such as poverty, neglect, abuse and violence, to develop into healthy adults?

Resiliency is about how we manage and adapt to obstacles in our lives. Everyone enjoys learning about interesting stories of how people overcome adversity and go on to succeed in life.

Resiliency is not a trait or characteristic that you are born with. Some teens develop resilience naturally, but others will need help.

Parenting plays an important role in developing resiliency. However, parenting must also be combined with a supportive school and community setting as well as good physical and mental health.

There are factors that can promote resiliency, such as:

  • Self confidence
  • Intelligence
  • Hope
  • Optimism
  • Safe neighbourhoods
  • Involvement in extracurricular activities
  • Community support

Fostering resiliency rests on relationships

  • A caring and supportive relationship with at least one adult is extremely important in helping teens develop into strong and happy adults.
  • Your family is the most important factor affecting your teen's life.
  • Positive relationships with parents, peers, grandparents, neighbours, teachers, coaches, etc can help teens develop competence and well-being.
  • Children who have two or more adults whom they feel are "important" to them in school are happier, more motivated at school, are more self-confident and concerned about others.

School plays an important role in promoting resiliency

By ensuring that your teen has a positive school experience you can help your teen cope with the stress of the many physical, intellectual and emotional changes; changes in friendships and family relationships.

Transitions are important

  • During the short and intense teen years, more changes take place than any other time in one's life except during infancy.
  • During these years, teens go through many changes (for example how they relate to parents and other family members, and a growing interest in friends and social groups).
  • When your child moves from elementary or middle school to high school, it is a major change that can affect their decision to use or not use drugs.

Tips to help prevent drug use with your teen

  • Be aware of the many changes that your teen is going through. These changes may make teens feel extremely stressed, less confident, vulnerable and depressed.
  • Be sympathetic to what it must be like for your teen to be experiencing such feelings. Remember a time when you went through many changes and how that felt.
  • Although they may want to be more independent, your teen needs structure and support. Your support matters.
  • Always communicate a reason for your decisions. When you have to say no, make sure you explain why. Share your standards of conduct and achievement.
  • Establish regular household events, set limits, monitor homework, attend parent-teacher conferences and more.
  • Show ongoing interest in your teen's life and respect them. Take the time to listen to your teen. Although it may often seem that having a conversation with you is at the bottom of their "to do" list - find the "teachable moments" where you can talk openly together. Teachable moments can happen while driving in the car, at the dinner table while discussing a situation at school or a current event in the news.

Remember that parenting plays an important role in developing resilience. You are their most important role model and their best defence against drug use.

This brochure is a companion to the booklet  Talking with Your Teen about Drugs and Web site for parents:

For more information on strengthening your relationship with your teen visit

Help Prevent Drug Use by Your Teen - Tips on Developing Their Resiliency is available on Internet at the following address:

Additional related resources

For further information or to obtain additional copies, please contact:
Health Canada
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
Tel.: (613) 954-5995
Fax: (613) 941-5366

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