There is a belief by some that family dinners can help prevent teens from turning to drugs or delinquent behavior.  But Time Magazine disgarees.  The news magazine reports that the facts don’t back up those claims.

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Drug abuse and addiction can afflict any family, no matter how rich, social conscious, religious, or morally balanced a family is. Drug abuse does not discriminate against by gender, race, or how much you have in your bank account.

Talk to treatment experts and they will tell you that the best way for parents to keep their kids drug free is to form a trusting and open relationship with them. They also recommend taking an active role in their lives, being involved in their activities, and asking questions.

Family dinners may fall into that category of forming relationships and being involved in activities, like asking how the school day was, asking about peers, or sharing something that went on at work.

Sometimes those dinner conversations need to include the topic of drugs. Parents should be open with their kids about what is happening in the community, and who was arrested for drugs. It will lead to the children being more open about who does drugs in school.

The best thing you can do is be your child’s confidante or sounding board. When they start telling you that they heard Billy or Katie are pot smokers, you’ll remember. Two years down the road, if your child is friends with Billy or Katie, you now know what kind of company your child keeps. It will give you the opportunity to say “you know, a couple of years ago you told me that he/she was doing drugs.”

With people so emerged in reading about who got a new car, who is painting their home, and who had an expensive trip to the vet on Facebook, they forget that they used to find this information out by forming close relationships with people.

Parents should be their kids’ Facebook page. Their brains, like the clouds that store all that mostly useless information online.

No parent should have the response “who are they?” when their children tell them that they are going out with them for the evening, or having sleepovers.

Parents should know their children’s friend’s parents. Those parents should talk to make sure stories are straight. Too many kids lied to their parents about sleepovers to cover up alternative plans.

Sharing a box of Hamburger Helper alone is never going to stop a teen from doing drugs. But parents who know the meat of their child’s social lives, friends, and calendars will have a better chance of guiding them to a drug-free life.

Click HERE for Time Magazine’s story.

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