Some parents just assume that their teens and younger children no exactly what substances and drinks are bad for them and what the parents would expect of them. However, if a parent never really explains these things how can a child or teen have any clear idea? Especially if they see their parents drinking, smoking tobacco, or doing illicit drugs. This sends a mixed message to kids. They need to know that adults may have a level of control or some wisdom in knowing what they can handle and what they can’t where teens and young children can’t possibly have this same knowledge and experience.
A great opportunity to set these issues to rest and know that your teens really do know what is expected is by having a Forbidden Substances Parent Contract. This gives parents a chance to sit down with children of any age and have a real conversation about what the family values, family expectations and family rules are. It also lets you put in place some consequences so that should a teen decide to cross the lines on certain issues they are aware in advance of what is coming as far as a consequence. Clearly defined expectations and knowing what to expect as far as consequences is a key parenting skill.
Naturally parents will want to tell their children to refrain from the use of all of these things. However you need to realize that the kids are human and most teens do try something out (statistically it is underage drinking). We are not saying that this is okay or condoning it in any way. We just want you to remember that they are kids who will make mistakes and a second chance is generally in order with or without consequences. There are some things that it is just common sense that there should be zero tolerance of (such as driving while intoxicated, use of illegal drugs).