Evidence-based interventions to reduce substance misuse among adolescents are resource and time intensive. We conducted a pilot randomized controlled trial to evaluate a novel, adaptable, and resource-efficient substance misuse preventive intervention for parents/guardians, focusing on talking with children about substance use and eating family meals. We randomized 70 parents of children in third-through-sixth grades within a large, urban public school system in New England to the intervention or control condition. Over a 6-month follow-up period, we assessed feasibility and acceptability of the intervention and examined frequency of parent–child conversations about alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs, and frequency and duration of family meals. A total of 29 parents were assigned to the intervention and 35 to the control condition. The intervention was found to be feasible and acceptable to participants as evidenced by high recruitment and retention rates and positive feedback from qualitative exit interviews. At 3-month and 6-month follow up, 64.3 % and 44.5 % of parents in the intervention condition were talking “a lot” to their children about alcohol, compared to 8.7 % and 8.7 % of the parents in the control condition, respectively (p < 0.01 and p = 0.03). Patterns in frequency and duration of family meals between the two conditions were not significantly different over time. In conclusion, a higher percentage of parents randomized to the intervention condition spoke with their children about alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs, but the frequency and duration of meals was not impacted. Further testing of the brief intervention with a larger sample to assess efficacy is warranted.