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Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard
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Oakland County Sheriff's Office
Listen to your child.
Pay careful, thoughtful attention. If your child tells you something you don't want to hear, don't ignore the statement -- talk about it.
Encourage healthy and creative activities.
Emphasize the importance of good health. With a young child discuss the difference between medicine and illegal drugs. Help your child get involved in hobbies, after-school activities, or sports.
Help your child feel good about him/herself and develop strong values.
Relate the fact that you place high value on your child's special qualities and that drugs will destroy those qualities. Discuss values such as honesty and responsibility.
Educate yourself and talk with your child about alcohol and other drugs.
Teach him ways to say no. Get to know the facts about how drugs harm people -- physically, socially, and educationally. Don't exaggerate about the effects of drugs or make up "facts."
Set a good example.
If you choose to drink alcohol, do so responsibly and moderately. Your habits and attitudes strongly influence your child. Keep the distinction clear about what is legal for adults but not for children. Do not use illegal drugs.
Help your child learn to deal with peer pressure.
Children need to know that their friends can be wrong. You and your child might act out various situations in which someone tries to convince him/her to drink alcohol or take drugs. Figure out several good ways to handle a situation.
Know what to do if you suspect a problem.
Beware of signs and symptoms of drug use. Seek advice from a professional -- a counselor, a religious leader, or someone at a local treatment center.
Team up with other parents.
Form or join a parent group that provides information on child-rearing and facts on alcohol and other drugs. Support one another in coping with your children's concerns and problems.