I have a teenage son who has been hanging around with a new group of friends. I've heard that some of them are into drugs. What should I say to help him avoid peer pressure without alienating him in the process? Do you have any suggestions or resources I can look into?
Having a teenager who is hanging out with the wrong crowd can be incredibly stressful. You are right to be worried about the risk of drug use, as teenagers who have friends who use are more likely to use themselves. A great resource is the book How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents.
It has many practical strategies you can use to decrease your child's risk of using drugs and/or alcohol. Namely, require that he be home for dinner each night. Make sure he is involved in several extracurricular activities. Openly educate him about drugs and alcohol, including any increased genetic risk he may have for addiction (if any family members are affected). Set a curfew--adolescents who are out later than 8pm have a higher risk of drug and alcohol use. And finally, consistent parenting, love and nurturing. Unstable home environment is a huge offender as it relates to increasing an adolescent's risk of trying drugs and alcohol.