As kids get older, they naturally begin to pull away from their parents. This is the beginning of them learning to live on their own and have their own lives. Before your kids get too old and independent, however, it is important to make sure you’ve instilled in them all the values you hope for them to know. That’s why it is essential when it comes to talking to your child about drugs that you start when they are young, and continue the conversations as they get older.
We’ve listed a few suggestions to help you as you take on the difficult, but necessary, task of talking to your kids about drugs.
Do it soon. It’s never too soon to talk to your kids about drugs. You can start things out simply when they are young and gradually add more information as they get older. The best way to really communicate with your teen or child is to have an ongoing conversation. Don’t just give your 5 minute talk and be done. Rather, leave the door open for future questions from your child. Let them know you are willing to talk about this topic again and want to hear their concerns and opinions as well.
Keep up with the newest trends. Parents need to stay informed about the latest behaviors and drugs that teens are trying. Know what they experience when tempted to do drugs so that you can better prepare them to say no.
Role play. While it might be uncomfortable at times and your teen might resist it, role playing is actually a great way to help your teen learn what to say when friends are pressuring them to do drugs. Give them excuses to use in those situations – even a simple “No thanks. Drugs are not my thing.” is often an effective reason for them to give their friends.
Be honest. Don’t hide the fact that many teens today do drugs. Let your teen know what they (unfortunately) can anticipate from classmates as they get older and how they will be pressured. Be honest about any past drug use that you were involved with yourself, although be sure to focus on the drawbacks of any drug use, and why you stopped doing drugs.
Be firm. Let your teen know what is expected from them and what the rules of your house are. Tell them you absolutely do not allow drugs or alcohol, and then follow up that statement with consequences if they disobey.
Be involved. Perhaps the best way to keep your child from trying drugs is to be involved in their life. Let them know you care about them and show you are interested in what they are doing. This will help keep them from shutting you out as they go through their teen years. Adolescents (whether they like to admit it or not) need parents to help guide them. Stay involved in their lives and that task will be a little easier.