Parents & Carers


Do you want to feel more confident in talking to your children about drugs and alcohol?  YPDAAT can help!

Research tells us that parents have the biggest impact on their children's decisions to use drugs and alcohol, and that having open and honest conversations and clear and consistent boundaries can really help your children make positive choices.  Lots of parents worry that they don't know enough abouts drugs to be able to speak to their children, or that they don't really know how to start these conversations. 

YPDAAT are holding regular, confidential, group sessions for parents to come together help enhance their knowledge around drugs and alcohol, and increase their confidence in talking to their children about substance use.

Feedback from parents on our previous sessions has included “I received some good techniques to use and address substance use with my child.” “Very good and informative session, it was good hearing from other parents.” “I am confident I can apply this to my son.”

The next session will be arranged soon.  If you're interested call 01744 675605 or email ypdaat@sthelens.gov.uk and we can reserve your place.

Information for Parents/Carers 

Bringing up a child can be a stressful job, and often parents and carers worry about whether their child or teenager is using drugs and/or alcohol.

More young people choose not to use drugs or alcohol compared to those who do.

Research shows that the numbers of young people choosing to use drugs and alcohol is reducing. For most of those who do experiment with drugs or alcohol, this will be a passing phase and they will stop without coming to any harm.

A small number of young people, however, can start to experience difficulties as a result of drug and/or alcohol use.

These can include :

  • Often coming home intoxicated.
  • Not going to school or college.
  • Always asking for money and not having anything to show for the money they have spent.
  • Getting in trouble with the police.

If you are worried about a child or young person's drug/alcohol use we can offer you support. Check out the links to other websites for parents on this page.

How do we work with young people ?

  • Offer confidential information to young people around drugs and alcohol.
  • Discuss ways in which they can reduce the risk of harm to themselves or others from using drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Encourage young people to cut down on their use of drugs and/or alcohol and aim towards stopping altogether.
  • Provide 1-1 sessions with an allocated keyworker.
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy to help with stopping smoking.
  • Offer a Health review and check immunisations are up to date, help with any health issues

What we don't do

Although we work with young people who use drugs we cannot make them stop.  We won't lecture or 'go on' at young people or tell them what they should and shouldn't be doing.  We provide education and information on the risks and consequences, such as involvment with the police and the impact on health, education and relationships, and encourage healthier lifestyle choices. 

Part of being a teenager is developing independence and making your own decisions.  We encourage the young people we work with to consider the impact of their actions, take responsibility for themselves and their actions and develop skills to increase their self esteem and resilience.

How are parents & carers involved?

Ideally we would like all the young people who we work with to be open and honest with their parents about their drug and alcohol use, and we encourage this. However we understand that this may be difficult for some people.

Young people are able to access the service if they can demonstrate that they can understand information discussed with them. Information is confidential within the service, except when there is concern that the young person may harm themselves or others or be at risk of harm from others.

We can support parents with ideas on how they can help their child and have access to specialist parenting programmes.

What can parents / carers do?

It can be really difficult and distressing to think that your child might be using substances.  Young people tell us that one of the best ways to get information is from their parents/carers, however a lot of parents tell us that they don't know much about drugs and what to say to their child.  It may be useful to learn a little more yourself so you feel more confident raising your concerns with your child.  Use reputable websites such as Frank to increase your knowledge, or seek advice from services such as Footsteps or Adfam.

  • If you suspect your child/young person is using drugs, try to sit them down and discuss this with them.  Find a good time and make sure you aren't distracted. 
  • Try not to panic, the majority of young people who experiment do not develop problems with drugs or alcohol.
  • Be aware that your own use may affect your child. Ensure that they do not have easy access to substances or alcohol.  If you are worried about your own drug, alcohol or tobacco use and would like some support to cut down or quit check out our Help and Support Page
  • Be realistic with your expectations; have clear boundaries in place for your child, and consistent consequences.
  • Try not to jump to conclusions, consider that there may be other reasons for changes in behaviour.
  • Take time to praise the behaviour you do like, try not to focus solely on the problems. 
  • If you are not certain what to do, please contact the Young People's Drug and Alcohol Team for advice.

However waiting until you are worried about drugs or alcohol to start discussing these issues with your children can be counter-productive and lead to arguments. Bringing up the subject can feel uncomfortable, but using opportunities such as news articles, tv storylines etc can be really effective ways of seeking your childs views and being clear about yours before any problems arise. 


What parents say about the service:

"I'm happy to know I can ring you for help and advice even if my child is closed to the team"

"Just wanted to say thanks...the change in my child is amazing and you've helped with that.  I know he's not perfect but his behaviour to me and his family is.  Thanks for everything."

"My child is less cheeky... I'm grateful for the time that was spent with my child.  I believe it to be a beneficial service for other youngsters."

"Staff have always been there for us if we've needed support."