We all want to be able to trust our children, however, statistics on drug and alcohol use by teens show us that many teens make poor decisions on a regular basis. Although we cannot supervise our teens at all times it is important to conistently monitor your teen’s behavior by asking Who?, What?, When? Where?, and How? on a regular basis. It is also very important that parents talk to one another frequently. Teens are pretty good at tricking their parents. The Partnership for A Drug-Free America asked groups of teens how they fool their parents. Here is what they said.

The Top 10 Ways Teens Trick Their Parents

1. When the Cat is Away ….: A teen insists on going to a friend’s house for the night when the parents are going out for the evening.

2. The Cameo Appearance: When attending some school activities students are allowed to leave at any point. Students may go to an activity for a short period of time and even get their pictures taken to prove that they were at the event. Then they go to an empty house or secluded area to party.

3. Wide Open Spaces: Community festivals are not highly patrolled activities and teens can leave the premises at any time to use substances in nearby woods, parking lots, or behind nearby buildings. They can also be taken to parties by older individuals.

4. Ater-School Freedom: After school, when many parents are still at work, teens can congregate at an empty house and do as they please.

5. The Deserted Forest: When walking to a nearby friend’s house, teens can meet in deserted secluded areas (such as woods) and use substances or engage in sexual behavior.

6. School Functions Gone Wrong: At school functions (such as school games or other activities) or just when staying after school, teens can easily sneak away to go use substances in unsupervised, secluded areas.

7. Sleep-Over Sneak Outs: Although the parents may be home at a sleep-over, teens can sneak out of the house late at night and either walk somewhere or be picked up in a car down the street.

8. Turning Water into Wine: An adolescent can steal alcohol from his parents’ liquor supply and then, if necessary, the teen can make up the difference in the bottle’s volume by adding water.

9. Not Your Usual Math Homework: Although many parents are pleased when their teen goes to a friend’s house to do homework, this might actually not be what the teen is doing.

10. A Change of Plans: Teens can say that they are going to a house to spend the night and then “change plans” at the last minute allowing the parents no time to check up on them.

Basic Guidelines for Effective Parenting

Really Listen: Listening means understanding and communicating by giving individual attention and by encouraging the expression of feelings. Have real conversations by listening and respond instead of reacting to each other.

Encourage Family Activities: Doing things together such as social activities as well as household chores develops a sense of belonging.

Discipline Constructively: It is important to give clear directions and to enforce limits on behavior. Use a positive approach “Do” rather than “Don’t.”

Be Consistent: Discuss and post house rules.

Be Clear: Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Be Reasonable and Understanding: Be willing to hear your child’s point of view.

Be Flexible: Bargaining is an effective tool. Consider the individual personality.

Be Authoritative: Trust your own common sense. If you are not sure, announce the need for some time to think. Then do not hesitate or be indecisive.

Develop Mutual Respect: Model basic trust by being honest and sincere yourself. Insist that all family members treat each other with respect. Apologize when you err.

Attend to your Needs: Maintain your individuality and cultivate your own interests and talents. Treat yourself well, thus avoiding the martyr syndrome. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Parenting is hard work.

Maintain a Sense of Humor: Finding humor in life’s experiences is an important aspect of personal adjustment.