A drug-free home contract is one of the methods that parents use today to get their children in line and to prevent them from using illegal substances and abusing prescribed medicine. Just like other forms of home rules contracts, the use of a drug-free home contract is seen by many as effective because it teaches teenagers that every action they make has a corresponding consequence.
Preventing drug abuse among teenagers and teaching them the value of consequences are not the only purposes of the drug-free home contract. The drug-free home contract also gives parents a measure of control over their own children. It also serves as a means to regulate behavior among the children and to put conflict and disruption over the children’s behavior to a minimum.
The Contents of a Drug-Free Home Contract
The drug-free home contract has four basic elements. These elements are:
1. Identification of the problem. In any home rules contract, all the parties involved in writing it – the parents and the children – are supposed to identify the problems to be addressed by the contract. In a drug-free home contract, the problem to be dealt with in particular is drug abuse. The parties writing the contract should be specific in what drugs should not be touched by the children so there would be no loopholes.
2. Clear expectations. It should be clear to both the parents, the children, and the other parties concerned with the drug-free home contract what privileges will be revoked when the contract is violated. The contract should also be clear as to what rewards are to be expected when the contract is violated.
3. Doable solutions. Another thing that must be specific with the drug-free home contract or any home rules contract is the solutions to undertake when the children do happen to abuse drugs. These solutions must be doable and should involve the entire family in their accomplishment.
4. Date of renegotiation. The drug-free home contract should cover a specific time period. It should be stated in the contract when it would expire, and when it expires, the parties involved should be able to renegotiate the terms of the contract.
Making the Drug-Free Home Contract Work
In principle, the creation of a drug-free home contract is effective in keeping the kids off drugs. However, there are conditions that should be observed to make it truly work. These conditions are:
1. All the adults serving as parent figures to the children should be involved in making the contract. These include the biological parents, the step-parents and the legal guardians.
2. If the parents are divorced, they should set aside their personal differences for the sake of their children in writing the drug-free home contract. Otherwise, they are opening themselves and the contract to manipulation by the children.
3. All the children should be covered by the contract. Not one should be excluded, or else the children covered will resent the children who are excluded from observing it.
4. The punishment should be appropriate; otherwise, the children would resent the existence of the drug-free home contract and will not cooperate.