top of page

Being Honest with Your Teen

Dr. Greg Allen, Ph.D., LMFT, Special to the News

The most effective deterrent to drug use isn't the police, or prisons, or politicians - it's you.


 Kids who learn about the risks of drug use from their parents are 36 percent less likely to smoke marijuana than kids who learn nothing from them. If you talk to your kids about the dangers of drug use, they are also 50 percent less likely to use inhalants, and 56 percent less likely to use LSD - just because you took the time to talk to them. Research has also shown that kids want to hear what their parents have to say - in fact, 74 percent of fourth graders wish their parents would talk to them about drugs.


Your teen asks you the question you've feared - did you ever do drugs? You want to be honest because you love and respect them, but, unless the answer is an unqualified "no," it's a difficult question. Regardless of your own history with drugs, it's your responsibility to set limits for your teen and to tell them, "In this family drug use is not acceptable." What's important is that you listen to your children and what they're asking - even if it's upsetting - try to avoid an argument.


If you have done drugs in the past, you can tell the truth without appearing to be a hypocrite because, at one time in their lives, everyone has done something they wish they hadn't. Remember - the issue isn't your past; it's your children's future. The key is to look at this as an opportunity - your children have come to you to discuss something that's troubling them. Listen to what they are saying. What's important is to state firmly that you don't want them to do anything that's bad for them - especially smoking, drinking and drugs.


Know where your teen is and what he or she will be doing during unsupervised time.Research shows that teens with unsupervised time are three times more likely to use marijuana or other drugs. Unsupervised teens are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as underage drinking, sexual activity, and cigarette smoking than other teens

Changes Life Skills Groups


The Freedom4U Changes Groups will support and teach important life skills to teens and their parents. The Changes Groups uses evidenced-based material, peer mentors, healthy activities and service learning to guide teens and parents toward healthy coping skills.


The Changes Groups consists of:


Stress Reduction Skills: 
The Changes Groups will reduce stress and connect families together by improving communication, understanding, and relationships.

Parent Discussion Group:
Evidenced-based information will support and guide parents toward improved teen parent relationships.

Teen Life Skills Discussion Group:
This group will be led by a professional counselor with the assistance of peer mentors. The format is on an open topical discussion of issues teens face daily including; peers, feelings, relationships, and alternative activities. The group focuses on teaching resiliency to teens so that they can better manage their lives. 

Healthy Activities:
The culture of youth has always been one of seeking fun, exciting experiences. Increasingly, teens are not involved in healthy fun activities. At the Changes Program, teens will have the option of being involved in planning, coordinating and participating in fun activities that are substance free.

Service Learning:
Freedom4U has a service-learning network where teens have the option of directly participating in a specific cause. In this way, teens will learn to help someone in greater need then themselves or help a needy cause. There will be several service options available.

Personal individual and family therapy options are also available.

Group Schedule: 
The Changes Group is a weekly group for ten weeks. There are weekly separate parent and teen 90-minute groups.
Parent and/or teens may attend at any time. 

Cost is $60 per week which covers both parent and teen weekly group.
Financial assistance is available.
Freedom4U is seeking donations to make the groups available to all families.
All donations are tax-deductible. 

Changes Life Skills Discussion Groups Topics:
The groups uses evidenced-based material to support and teach important life skills to teens. The topics include:

• Relationships with friends
• Coping with stress
• Communication skills
• Dealing with difficult emotions
• The party scene and what to do about it
• Finding your passion
• Understanding your strengths
• Making a difference in your life 
• Having healthy fun
• Improving family relationships


For More Info: email: or call: 310-897-5043

bottom of page