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Parenting tips for a drug-free family

talk turkey day

November 22, 1999
Web posted at: 3:57 p.m. EST (2057 GMT)

(CNN) -- The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy urges all parents of teens and pre-teens to dedicate time over the Thanksgiving weekend to "Talk Turkey" with their kids about drugs, beginning an ongoing dialogue about drugs that lasts throughout the year. The staff recommends the following:

1. Be absolutely clear with your kids that you don't want them using drugs. Don't leave room for interpretation. And talk often about the dangers of drug and alcohol use -- more than once or twice a year.

2. Be a better listener. Ask and encourage questions. Ask for your child's input about family decisions. Showing your willingness to listen will make your child feel more comfortable about opening up to you.

War on drugs

3. Give honest answers. Don't make up what you don't know. If asked whether you've ever taken drugs, let them know what's important: that you don't want them using drugs.

4. Use TV reports, anti-drug commercials, news or school discussions about drugs to help you introduce the subject in a natural, unforced way.

5. Don't react in a way that will cut off further discussion. If your child says things that challenge or shock you, turn them into a calm discussion of why he or she thinks people use drugs, and whether they're worth the risk.

6. Role play with your child and practice ways to refuse drugs in different situations. Acknowledge how tough these moments can be.

For more tips and ideas on how to Talk Turkey with their kids, parents are urged to visit, a new Web site devoted exclusively to parents who want to learn how to communicate with their kids about illicit drugs. The site also allows parents to download or order a brochure in English or Spanish called "Parenting Skills: 21 Tips & Ideas to Help You Make a Difference." The brochure can also be ordered by phone at 800-788-2800.

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August 30, 1999
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The Anti-Drug: Talk Turkey
Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
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