It is important to know that drug use can affect any family and if you have any suspicions that your child may be using drugs it is important that you get advice and help.


Some of the things you may notice are:


  • School marks begin to drop.
  • Your child drops old hobbies and friends and sometimes truants from school.
  • Your child mixes with a new and often older group – and doesn’t want you to meet them.
  • Phone calls from strangers – and your child disappears off ‘out’.
  • Red eyes from cannabis use.
  • Never having any money – always asking for some….



Here are some simple things you can do as parents to help to ensure your children remain drug free:


Know your child’s friends and encourage them to come to the house – provide them with food and a comfortable, safe place to ‘hang out’.



Discuss drugs in the family – use ‘teachable moments’ – like a scene on a tv

show, an item in the newspaper or rumours about others in the same school.


Listen, really listen, to what your child has to say.  If they share that a pupil in the same class has been using dope it is important to stay calm – don’t shout and say “ You had better not let me catch you doing drugs!”  –  better respond with “ Do many of the others in the class do this?  How do you feel about that?”


When criticism is needed make sure you criticise the action not the child…

i.e. “I feel disappointment when your homework isn’t completed”   or “I feel upset when your bedroom isn’t cleaned when I asked “


Be a good role model yourself  – never say at the end of a frantic day “I really need a drink”   –  no you don’t !  You may want a drink – but you don’t want

to teach your child that a drink will solve problems.


Help your children know how to deal with peer pressure – tell them to use the broken record technique “No thanks I don’t do drugs” or “Not for me thanks” – and walk away if necessary.


Establish family rules about not smoking, not drinking alcohol, staying out too late – and stick to the rules,  make it clear that any punishment is for breaking the rules.  If you use ‘grounding’ make it sensible – two evenings not two weeks.

Try to have at least two family meals together every week. Ensure TV is turned off and no mobile phones at the table !  If you ask a child “What did you do at school today?”  the answer is invariably “Not much” –  much better to begin a conversation with “ When I was in the supermarket today I saw a…..(lady with green hair,   a trolley full of cornflake boxes,  a woman with triplets)…   or “at work today we had a new junior started in the office/canteen/workshop – he/she seems very keen”   etc.  Family conversations over a shared meal are ideal times to learn about your child’s life outside the home – and a good time to instil family values and expectations.



Attend any school functions and try to meet other parents to discuss their concerns or worries about the school, the area, and their children.


Encourage your child to take up extra curricula activities – sports, clubs,

volunteering,  – and be prepared to act as chauffeur to take and fetch them

from places.     Good Luck !