Prevention studies show that when parents talk openly with their teens about the risks associated with substance use that teens are much less likely to experiment with alcohol and other drugs. The following expert resources will help to start and keep the conversation going. You will be heard, even if they don’t admit it. You’ll be protecting your teens in a way that respects their growing need for independence — by giving them the information they need to make healthy decisions when they’re out there on their own.

This underage drinking prevention campaign helps parents and caregivers start talking to their children early — as early as 9 years old — about the dangers of alcohol. It’s an on-line resource that is rich with facts about the dangers of teen alcohol use, as well a “game plan” parents can use to start a conversation about alcohol . . . and keep it going. It also includes Start the Talk, a video game that helps parents learn the do’s and don’ts of talking to kids about underage drinking. In surveys across the nation, teens report that their parents are still the Number One influence when it comes to making decisions about alcohol and drugs! As the name of this program says: Talk. They Hear You.

Another great resource is a tool from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence® program. The goal of this program is to educate parents about the dangers of underage drinking and give them the tools they need to start talking with their kids about alcohol. More information at MADD Power of Parents.

Children have a very special relationship with Grandma and Grandpa. That’s why grandparents can be such powerful allies in helping keep a kid off drugs. Find out how to communicate better with your teenage grandchild; learn about the latest drugs; and discover how you can help keep your grandchild healthy with this free, informative booklet from MetLife Foundation and The Partnership at The Power of Grandparents.

An informative, easy-to-read, 32-page brochure in question-and-answer format, published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, that provides facts about marijuana for parents and offers tips for talking with children about the drug and its potential harmful effects. Download your copy of Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know.

The streets aren’t the only place kids find drugs. Sometimes they find them right at home. Download this informative brochure published by Purdue Pharma L.P. and The National Community Pharmacists Association, appropriately called: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding Prescription Drug Abuse.

Anyone can point a finger at their kids and say “don’t do drugs.” Oftentimes those words fall on deaf ears. The most effective parents stay informed on the topic. The world of substance abuse constantly evolves; what’s “hip” 30 years ago may not mean a thing to your kids. Before you can be the voice of reason for your teen, educate yourself on where and how they may be at risk.

Sometimes it’s tough talking with teens, especially around sensitive topics like alcohol and other drugs. Once you know the facts, here are some great tips from The Partnership at that will help make those conversations easier and more productive. It’s not about scare tactics; it’s about protecting the health and safety of teens, especially when they’re out there on their own:

Have a Conversation, Not a Confrontation

Talking and Active Listening With Your Teen

6 Parenting Practices

Remember, parental influence is the most important factor in keeping teens safe and they are listening to you, take a look at a Public Service Announcment our Youth Coalition created, KEEP TALKING, WE'RE LISTENING,  Don't doubt your influence over your children.