How well do you know your child? What are your teen’s interests, hobbies, activities? Who are they hanging out with and what are they looking at online? It’s hard to know the answers without asking these important questions. Communication is key to preventing your child from going down the wrong path.

Here are three questions that are important and can open up a dialogue between you and your child:

Do you drink alcohol and take drugs of any sort? 

We know what you’re thinking! ‘Why would my kid tell me that?’ But you would be surprised how many kids give honest answers when you approach the subject in a calm manner and an understanding way. Make sure to use follow-up questions, like ‘Why or why not?’ Listen to their explanation and try to understand where they’re coming from. Hopefully, from there you will be able to talk to them more freely about their decisions and whether they’re making the right choices.

Ask your teen the five Ws.

The more questions you ask, the more information you will gather from your teen.

Who? What? Where? When? Why?

These questions are essential in almost every conversation. But remember, this isn’t an interrogation, these conversations should be open, honest and non-confrontational.

What are you posting online?

The things your teen is posting online have the potential to stay with them the rest of their lives. Sit down with them and go over what’s appropriate to put online and what’s not. Make sure to impress on them the importance of safe social media use. Inappropriate, illegal or dangerous photos and videos can greatly impact their futures. Get a sense of the things they are posting to social media, but make sure not to judge them. Teens tend to stop talking when they feel threatened or criticized.