The teenage years are a notoriously difficult time for families, as children and parents battle over everything from curfews to hair color.
It is also a time when many young adults begin to experiment, either with their looks, music, or drugs and alcohol.
A new study from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America shows that half of all parents with children in grades six to eight feel they lack the tools and information to prevent their kids dabbling in drugs and alcohol, compared to 35 per cent parents of elementary school children.
In addition, parents of teens in middle school are the most likely group to be aware of their offspring’s reluctance to discuss these issues.
This is despite the fact that research from Partnership indicates that kids who learn a lot about the risk of drugs at home are up to 50 per cent less likely to use them.
Steve Pasierb, president and chief executive of the organization, notes that "many parents feel increasingly overwhelmed as kids become teenagers".
However, he adds: "Parents have to step in and help their kids, no matter how challenging the conversation."
Raising teenagers and keeping them on the straight and narrow requires moms and dads to call on all their parenting skills, but experts suggest that if they remain calm, firm and listen to their children then crises can be avoided.