The question we need to ask ourselves is not how we are going to keep our sons away from drugs and too much alcohol, but what can we do so that when they’re offered them, they have the strength and wisdom to say no.

We have to accept that our sons will have multiple opportunities to try drugs. These opportunities and exposures to drug-taking cultures only increase as they get older. Alcohol is as accessible as ever. Most teenagers can get access to alcohol if they really want to and many parents actually have unlocked cupboards or fridges full of the stuff. Once again, we need to ask ourselves why some kids will get drunk at every opportunity and then get involved in stupid and dangerous behaviour, while others have lots of fun without needing to drink.

The key is that your child needs to have a healthy personal identity in order to be in a position to say no to drugs and alcohol.

There are five key factors which contribute to a young man’s healthy Personal Identity.

The five factors are:

1. Healthy family relationships

2. Key foundation life skills

3. Good physical health

4. Recognition of and encouragement to pursue his unique gifts and talents

5. Support through the transition from boy to young man.

Armed with a healthy Personal Identity he will have a strong sense of self, good values and a feeling of belonging. This will bring out the best in him and you will see the caring, courageous, fun loving, kind, romantic, strong, loyal young man who will be inspired to do something meaningful  with his life.  He will also have the skills to successfully navigate his way through the world and avoid many of the pitfalls.

If your son doesn’t develop a healthy Personal Identity, he will likely be unsure of his beliefs and will feel insecure and confused about himself and the future.  This will impact on everything he does.  He may become angry, withdrawn, depressed, non-communicative, unmotivated and negative.  He’ll be at greater risk of becoming addicted to digital devices, drugs, alcohol or inappropriate risky behaviours.  His chances of suffering from depression will also greatly increase.  A healthy Personal Identity is the key to a young man doing well and avoiding ending up places he doesn’t want to be.

How do you know if your son has a healthy personal identity and will have the ability to say no to drugs and alcohol? To determine your son’s Personal Identity Score, click here and purchase a copy of The Making of Men.