Teenage is both the best of times and the worst of times. Adolescent children are curious about a lot of things- music and pop culture, friends groups, sexuality, and more recently- drugs. This is an impressionable age when most of their adult personality is shaped. Sometimes parents tend to avoid uncomfortable topics such as drugs and follow an 'out of sight, out of mind' policy. However there is an alarming increasing in experimentation and abuse of drugs during adolescence.  While experimentation at this age is normal, drug and alcohol use can lead to very serious consequences to the adolescent brain which can last into adulthood and is sometimes lifelong. 

1. Acknowledge

Acknowledge that alcohol and other drugs (yes, alcohol is a drug!) can be found easily. Also accept that it is likely your children will be exposed to them at some point. While your family may have a certain belief system accept that they will be exposed to different belief and value systems in society. 

2. Educate yourself

Awareness is key. Talk to children honestly, avoid myths and stick to the hard scientific facts.  Read up about drugs on the internet, books and talk to people who work in this field.  Talk to children about BOTH the pros and cons.  Parents often believe if they talk to their children about sex or drugs they are encouraging them to do it. Nothing could be further from the truth! Sex and drug education not only empowers parents it also helps children to make the right choices. Further, teenagers are exposed to drugs and alcohol in media and society and if parents don't talk to children about drugs, they will get their information from their friends or mainstream media which is likely to be misleading and highly damaging. 

3. Pick your battles wisely

It is best for intruding in child's life primarily on issues of health and safety. When children are toddlers the parents role is directive, in adolescence it is more guiding. This will avoid constant bickering and they are more likely to be open to suggestions. Talk calmly and firmly; remember they may not immediately agree but the seed will be planted in their head.

4. Have a neutral attitude

Moderate parental attitudes that neither harshly condemn nor are overly permissive lead to the healthiest attitudes toward alcohol and other drugs in children. It's important to think before reacting to avoid a knee-jerk, fear-driven reaction to drugs. This doesn't mean you advocate the use of drugs or approve it. It means you maintain an attitude that allows the child to come to you with questions and feels comfortable to discuss with you rather than his or her friends.

Overall, a loving and safe home environment helps children to make healthy choices.

Best of luck!