Grandchildren have a special relationship with their Grandpa and Grandma. As a grandparent, you can say things to and get information from teens with much more ease than can a parent. You also provide guidance and support for all the generations of the family and can be an inspiration to your grandkids.

Even if you are not a grandparent, the elder role you play in a neighborhood or community carries weight with the younger generation. If you have teens in your life, it is essential to stay informed of the issues and concerns in their lives to aid them with coping with their stress. It is equally important to know the latest drugs and peer pressures to keep youth safe.


Talk with your grandchild, but also listen without judgment. Partake in conversations about their activities, friends, school, etc. Take an active interest in his/her life. Offer encouragement for successes and attend some of your grandchild’s activities. When you’re worried about their decisions. Instead of a boring lecture use “teachable moments” from the news, movies, TV shows, etc., to spark up a conversation about drug and alcohol use.


Attending a ball game or sitting in the audience at one of their events is a great way to support them, but doesn’t fit in this category. Try something your grandchild enjoys doing, maybe doing things their parents don’t have time to do with them. Then gradually work in some activities you enjoy doing. Sometimes teenagers just like to hang out at their grandparents because it’s a relaxing escape from their busy schedule and life.


Look to educate yourself first before talking to your grandchild. Keep up with what the drug trends are. The websites below have some great resources. Remember, you can use your influence with your grandchildren to help them stay away from drugs and alcohol.


Iowa Office of Drug Control and Policy https://odcp.iowa.gov/
The Truth- a website dedicated to tobacco issues  https://www.thetruth.com/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/ and https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/
Sieda Behavioral Health and Treatment Services Prevention https://www.sieda.org/child-development/comprehensive-prevention/
Need help? Sieda Behavioral Health and Treatment Services (BHTS) can help. Call 641-683-6747.
Do you have questions? BHTS Prevention. Call 641-683-6747 and ask for a Prevention Specialist.

Ilene Johnson, Prevention Specialist with  Sieda Community Action Behavioral Health & Treatment Services