There are actions parents can take to help children develop good decision-making skills.
First, always set clear expectations. Children should know exactly what your position is on drug and alcohol use, gang affiliation, sexual activity, and school attendance.
There must be clear consequences for failing to observe these rules, and your enforcement must be consistent.
You should also be aware of the example you set.
Children of all ages are aware of your attitudes and habits. They are more likely to follow your example than your lectures.
The old adage, “Do as I say, not as I do,” simply doesn’t work with young people.
A positive parent-child relationship is good motivation for your child to follow your guidelines and standards.
Remember: You should have high expectations, but influence is not control.
This means expressing to your child statements such as: “You have everything you need to be successful” … and … “You can do it!” It does not mean pressuring children to achieve unrealistic perfectionist standards.
The road to adulthood is never straight and smooth, but parents can help their children on that journey with the right attitude and the right tools.