Prevention for Parents

Keep Your Teen Drug-Free :: December '19 Issue

Points of interest


· Encourage healthy ways to deal with stress

· How to teach refusal skills

· Peer helper service

· Dealing with double standards: How to talk with your student about NOT using if you use

Healthy Ways to De-Stress in December

As the winter break approaches students are excited about checking out of school for a while.


It’s a great opportunity for students to rest and restore. Have a conversation with your student about healthy ways to unwind.


Students sometimes use substances to deal with stress when they don’t know how else to handle it.

Giving students other options is an effective way to prevent substance use. Whether it’s baking winter treats together, playing games with friends and family, or catching up on their hobbies, encourage your student to find a healthy way to de-stress.


Even better– do something together that is relaxing for both of you !

Big picture

Shuksan Middle School Prevention Club

Shuksan’s very own Prevention Club meets every Tuesday from 3:45pm to 5:00pm


This club is for any student who wants to help create and maintain a healthy and positive school environment for everyone. The students decide what topics to focus on, and how to address the challenges our school faces with support and guidance from Mr. Giles.


We can make an impact on teen substance use, bullying, failing grades, school climate, and more. Club activities will include:

  • creating posters and bulletin boards,
  • small projects around our school
  • participation in our Community Family Night

Refusal Skills: A Powerful Protective Factor


Kids know which decisions are healthy and which aren't , but they don’t always know how to make the healthy decision.


We know that kids make better decisions around drug and alcohol use when they know how to say no, and feel comfortable doing it.


It may feel silly, but having kids practice saying no is an effective way to prevent substance use. When students know which words to use they are more likely to refuse when someone offers them a drink or a hit off their vape.


Take time to role play a scenario or two and help build your student’s refusal skills.

STOP: a quick and easy-to-remember strategy for saying no

Big picture

Peer Substance Use Consultation Service

Teen Link is a peer-support service and is free to all teens. Students can call, text, or chat on a computer with a special trained peer helper in Washington state. All conversations are anonymous and confidential.


Your student can talk about whatever is on their mind– including substance use. If your teen is wrestling with the decision to use or not to use and could use a listening ear from someone their own age, encourage them to reach out.

Visit Teen Link to learn more.

Big picture

How to Keep Your Teen Drug-Free When You Use Drugs or Alcohol

Do you want to keep your teen substance free but worry about double standards? Even if you use drugs or alcohol, you can still have effective conversations about not using.

What Works:

· Sharing the reasons you don’t want them to use

· Being truthful about your use if asked, but not going into detail

· Set clear expectations


What DOESN’T Work:

· Lying about previous use

· Telling stories about your use in high school / college

· Making promises about trying to quit

It can be confusing for students to see parents using drugs or alcohol and being told not to use themselves.

Having a conversation about it helps them understand, and is a great opportunity to set expectations.

From the Author

Hi! I’m Kelly Giles and I work at Shuksan Middle School as a Student Assistance Professional (SAP), doing drug and alcohol prevention and interventions.


A big part of my job is building relationships with students because we know adults play a huge role in influencing healthy choices.


I love to partner with parents, too! Please stop by my office just to say hi or get in touch if you are worried about a student. Send me any ideas you'd like to see in upcoming issues via email.


Thank you for all you do for our young people, it matters!

Kelly Giles

Student Assistance Professional (SAP)

Shuksan Middle School

Northwest ESD 189