Article 3 - 10 Things you can do




The prospect of one’s child taking drugs is frightening, and parents often feel helpless. They hope it will not happen in their family, and feel ill-equipped to deal with it if it does.  There are, however, constructive steps which parents can take:


1. Listen to each other and encourage open communication in the family;

2. Educate the family about the effects and risks of using drugs, and what resources are available;

3. Set a good example by making informed choices about your own use of substances, e.g. alcohol and medications;

4. Take an interest in your childrens’ lives. Ensure that you always know where they are, with whom they spend time, and that they are well supervised;

5. Discuss substance use in an honest, caring environment, encouraging children to tell you if they are offered drugs;

6. Set clear limits around what behaviour is acceptable;

7. Be consistent in applying consequences if limits are broken;

8. Offer support and understanding, and stay in touch with your children emotionally;

9. Monitor yourself, being aware of how you may be making it easier for problems to continue, e.g. by not following up if their behaviour seems unusual;

10. Get support if you are concerned that there may be a problem – know where to get help and don’t be afraid to ask.


Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre


1 Roman Road, Observatory

021–4478026 -