Resource for Parents and Caregivers

What can I do as a parent or caregiver

Parents and primary caregivers have the most influence in helping their children grow happy and learn to cope well. Even in very difficult circumstance, a strong bond between children and parents can protect the children from risky behaviours, including from substance use.

A strong bond is based on listening to your children and showing them you care. Warm parenting and supportive parental involvement in child’s life, and clear and consistent rules and monitoring, are among the most important things you can offer to your children. To do this, you can:

• Praise your child – try and catch them while they are being good, there is for sure at least one thing he or she is doing right, even if small. • Spend even a small amount of time each day giving your complete attention – it can really make a difference. • Set clear rules for behaviour, focusing on what needs to be done. When the rules are being broken, try and stay calm, making sure there are clear and reasonable consequences.

There are many effective programmes to support families to function better and help parents to be better parents. To learn more about them, see the UNODC activities on parenting skills programs (, find parenting skills programs showing good effectiveness for substance use prevention from the registries or check this infograph (

Mentor International has developed a leaflet (link) summarising guidance and resources to support parents in raising healthy and happy kids, and from the resource finder (link & thumbnail on the parents section below) you can find plenty of further resources to help you in your important work

For a person looking at parenting from the view point of programming and supporting good parenting practices for substance use prevention, the CCSA publication ‘Strengthening Our Skills: Canadian Guidelines for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Family Skills Programs’ ( offers valuable guidance underlining the importance of including family skills programming in prevention initiatives.

Whether your child will engage in risky behaviours or start using drugs depends on a range of personal, environmental and biological factors – but perhaps the most important influence is you, the parent or care-giver. Parenting is prevention. We hope these resources will offer you ideas and support, and that you remember to also take care of yourself as a parent – well-being happy parents, and parents who support each other, are better parents!

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This guide aims to offer parents and caregivers easily accessible information about drug prevention in order to help them raise empowered, healthy and drug free children. We have taken a number of high quality resources produced by some of the leading prevention organisations to create this guide. The resource is divided into three sections to provide parents with tips to raise happy and healthy kids in their home, the school and the community.

I. HOME: Helping you to help your children develop good behaviours and social skills to promote a healthy lifestyle and reduce the likelihood of them abusing substances. Focusing in particular on:

  • Building your child’s resilience

  • Establishing good communication

  • Monitoring your child’s behaviour

  • Healthy relationships

  • Knowing the facts on alcohol and other drugs

II. Helping you ensure your child is connected to SCHOOL

III. Helping you ensure your child is connected to your COMMUNITY

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We hope this resource will be beneficial to parents and others working with young people.

We’d love to hear from you! If you know of any new resources, research or materials that you think we should be aware of and/or should be included in this resource please let us know!

You can find more useful materials using our online International Resource Finder