Drugs and alcohol are very real problems that today’s parents cannot ignore, and it’s important you prepare your children for their eventual encounters with these harmful substances. Unfortunately, talking to your kids about these tricky subjects is not always easy. Here are some tips for starting up a conversation about drugs and ensuring something productive comes from the talk.
Parent Protection: How to Start a Conversation about Drugs
Wait until the Right Time
Wait until the right time to talk with your children about drugs. You don’t want to do it when your kids are tired, stressed, or busy with other responsibilities. You need to wait until everything in the home is stable, your kids are in a relatively good mood, and no major events are about to occur. Turn off phones and other devices while talking to your kids, and make sure they know the conversation is important to you.
Never Be Judgmental
You want to avoid judgmental language when talking about drugs. This is language that might come across as hostile, or accusatory to your children. Use positive, neutral, and constructive words. And try not to make your children feel guilty or frightened. You want to have an open and honest conversation about drugs reassuring them they can come to you with questions or concerns.
Use Concrete Examples Whenever Possible
Use concrete examples of the effects of drug use whenever possible. These should be examples kids can understand, or know about personally. Talk about how drugs have affected celebrities, people in the neighborhood, or even relatives. Try to gather up some facts and statistics about drugs as well. Concrete facts on the issues can make everything much clearer and more understandable.
Ask If There Are Any Questions
Be certain to ask your kids if they have any questions at key points during the conversation and always listen to whatever they have to say. Ask again at the very end. You want your children to feel comfortable asking questions and having a dialogue with you. Take every question seriously, and answer honesty if you can. When your kids feel they won’t be judged or shot down, they might be able to come back to you if a problem does arise.
Know When to Say You Don’t Know
If your child asks you a question about drugs you don’t know the answer to, it’s okay to say you don’t know. Avoid making things up or skating around answers. Your kids will know if you aren’t being completely open with them. If you do not know the answer, let your child know and come back to the subject later when you find the answer, or have them research it on their own.
Talk about Treatments for Drug Abuse
Take a moment to talk about the various treatments for drug abuse to let your children know there is help available if they or a friend gets into trouble. You can talk about what an intervention is, what intervention services are available, where alcohol rehab programs are located, and how inpatient treatment centers work. Letting teens know about the variety of recovery and treatment options available could help them or others when confronted with drug or alcohol abuse.
Starting a conversation about drugs and alcohol is not as difficult as it might seem. Your children need to hear real information, and explanations and facts from trusted authorities, instead of learning incorrect information on the street. These points will make it easier for you to have a productive conversation and let them know you love and want the best for them.