Developmental Asset #31: Restraint

According to Search Institute, adolescents do better when they place importance on sexual abstinence and not using alcohol or other drugs. It is very important to discuss sex, drugs, and alcohol with your teens so that you can share your wisdom and let them know how you expect them to behave. They’re growing up and need to be well-informed as they navigate adolescence. It isn’t easy, but here are a few helpful hints.


  1. Some teenagers think that unsupervised parties, especially with alcohol, are the only fun parties. So help your kids plan and host dry, safe parties and do what you can to make sure they’re genuinely fun.


  1. Come up with some kind of “no questions asked” policy (that makes sense for your family) so that your teens feel comfortable phoning you for a ride if they end up in an unsafe situation.


  1. Try to recognize an opportunity to talk when it arises. For instance, you may have just watched a movie or TV show together that included a portrayal of sexual relationships or substance use. Also, drinking and intoxication are often featured humourously on TV and in other media, but be mindful of the message it sends to your kids if you laugh at jokes about intoxication.


  1. Remember that if you don’t talk to your teens about unplanned pregnancy and STIs, you can be sure that someone else will, and it’s so much better if they hear about it from you.


RECOMMENDED READING: Parenting Preteens with a Purpose: Navigating the Middle Years by Kate Thomsen and Helping Teens Handle Tough Experiences: Strategies to Foster Resilience by Jill R. Nelson and Sarah Kjos.


Search Institute has identified 40 building blocks of healthy development, known as Developmental Assets, that help adolescents to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Visit us here every Wednesday to read about different ways that you, your family, and your community can take action to help equip our young people develop resilience and achieve success in life.