With the teen years come more independence -- but so much freedom can leave room for students to be pressured into doing what they normally wouldn't. Dr. Philip R. Herschman, the chief clinical officer for CRC Health Group, the country's largest provider of addiction treatment, teaches us how you can help your teen avoid those types of situations.

Start before college

"It all starts before that young adult moves into college. [If] that child is raised with a good value system and has learned how to make decisions through a normal maturational process, good parenting will instill a good value system. A good value system will lead to good decision-making."

Plan for the situation

"I have children, and when they move to a college setting I'll talk to them about it prior to them getting in that setting and say, 'These are the kinds of things that you might be faced with. If you are, how would you respond? Let's think about it now and plan for it so that when it happens, it's much easier to deal with.'"

Have them offer alternatives

"[They can] say, 'It's just not something I want to do, but I'd love to go to a movie with you later' or 'I'm sorry, drinking is not something I want to do. I'm happy to be your designated driver and go out and have fun with you.' "

Teach them to be firm

"That's why practicing ahead of time is helpful. [Tell them] you've got to be clear. You've got to look somebody in the eye and say, 'No.'"


Discourage judgments

"Don't [have your kids] tell them they're bad for drinking. That will end relationships."

Talk about safe dating

"[A] first date shouldn't be, 'Let's meet at his house for dinner' but 'Let's go have dinner in a public place.' You have to know somebody before you put yourself in a situation where it's difficult to exit."

Let go

"At some point, you've got to trust your kids to make the right decisions. You can't sit on their shoulders the whole time."

Help stop your child from smoking

Worried about your child becoming a smoker? Visit www.realparentsrealanswers.com for an e-book offering insight as to why kids smoke (stress plays a big part) and what you as a parent can do to stop the habit from starting. The website also features podcasts and webinars for parents.