Non-use policies are the best way for parents to directly communicate with their teenagers their desires, their rules, and their expectations around drug and alcohol use in the house. Now, a lot of our parents say, "It should go without saying in our house that we don't do drugs and alcohol." But here's the problem with that. If it goes without saying, it goes unsaid. One thing teenagers are notoriously bad at is inferring meaning from silence, or reading between the lines. They just don't do that very well. The best kinds of non-use policies are those that are written down and signed by both parent and child. When it's written down and signed, it's a lot harder for your kid to say later, "I didn't understand what it said." When you develop a non-use policy, you want to have a couple of things added to that. You want to have a list of consequences, or if the policy gets violated, here's what's it going to cause you. You also want to add to your non-use policy the idea, "Not only is use discouraged. But we don't want you spending a bunch of time in the presence of people who are using also. It's just a little add-in that we'd like to see happen." When you have a non-use policy, it's a good idea to review it with your kids before they go into environments which contained risk, like for instance, high school parties. It's really important when you have a non-use policy to view it positively. A lot of kids are looking for a reason not to spend the night hanging around with bunch of drunks. If you have a non-use policy, they can point to it and say, "I can't you guys. My parents are crazy over this stuff." That actually takes a little bit of weight off them and assigns the guilt to you.