Thursday, October 18, 2018

How to Talk to Teens About Drugs Parent Tips


Substance abuse is all too common among today's young people. In fact, parents will find it shocking to know that 44% of current high school students actually know a classmate who sells drugs. With statistics like that, it's highly likely you know (but may not necessarily be aware of) one or more kids in your community who are involved or have had exposure to teens with drugs. 

Sadly, I have personal knowledge of what can happen in a worse-case scenario: like the two kids I know who overdosed recently and tragically didn't survive. But, enough about the problem. Let's move on to taking action by talking about some strategies for helping moms and dads to ease into the discussion of this issue with your kids. 

If you are a parent of a teen this is certainly a timely topic to chat about with your child now before a serious problem develops. Granted talking to your teen about drugs can be a challenge, but it is incredibly important. 

Speaking to teens when they are younger can help prevent stress, addiction and succumbing to peer pressure. Realize that teens can still become addicted to drugs, even in the most loving and supportive of families. Discussing the issue assists you as a parent to know how your teen feels about drugs, and if needed, get some help to deal with it. 

Some of the best tips for having this kind of parental discussion are outlined below.

7 Parent Tips to 

Discuss Drugs With Kids

Thanks to The Recovery Village for providing these useful tips to pave the way and help you start this crucial conversation about drugs with your son or daughter.

Eliminate the Accusations 

A teen may rebel from an innocent question if they perceive it as an accusation. This includes asking them if they have tried drugs. If there is no strong reason for believing the teen is using drugs or has experimented with drugs, it is best to keep the conversation as natural as possible. Parents should make certain your teen has the chance to express their feelings and you should be careful to not immediately place him or her at the center of the conversation. Rather, when the chat is centered on their perception of drugs or their opinions on how drugs impact their community, family and friends, their response will be much better and they are more likely to be open-minded and listen. 

Skip the Scare Tactics and Drama 

Scare tactics and drama are the last thing a teen needs or wants to hear from their parents. Using stories to frighten a teen to prevent drug use is usually not a good idea. They are already familiar with all the stories, so talking about consequences and "what if" situations often don't produce the desired effect. A teen is most likely to show a positive response if the discussion is kept in the present tense. Even teens who are focused on their future may not be considering the importance of attending college or securing a good job. Talking about what's going on now in life and what the teen is currently experiencing not only helps the conversation, it also gives your teenager a voice in how they feel about any issues and how they think they should be handled. This will help provide the confidence young people need to speak to you and open up about their feelings. 

Start the Discussion Early

Talking to teenagers about drugs when they are younger has proven to be much more effective than waiting till later. Once kids are older, it becomes much more difficult to provide them with the right message. If you postpone the talk, at this point, they may have already heard about drugs and drug addictions from their friends, on television and in school. A good thing to keep in mind is that it will be much easier to get a child to understand how to make good decisions if you start with an age-appropriate discussion as soon as they understand reasoning and logic -- which is usually in their preschool years.

Forget the Assumptions 

No mom or dad should ever assume they are more knowledgeable about drugs than teens. In the world we live in teen almost always know much more than us parents about this and will not respond positively to a condescending attitude. Remember, too, that teenagers have access to an ever-growing database of information through the internet, entertainment and day-to-day living that did not exist in the past. Even if the teen has never done drugs, chances are they know who is selling them and have talked about it with their friends. 

Educate Yourself

Take the initiative to learn as much as you can before you talk with your child. Preparing ourselves really makes a lot of sense, since as parents we must understand the facts about drugs to be able to effectively answer our teenager's questions. Researching the latest statistics, substances and issues regarding drugs prepares parents for the one of the most important of all parenting conversations. If mom or dad are unable to answer relevant questions, the discussion will not have the same impact on the teen. 

Talk Continuously

The discussions should begin when the children are small and continue as the years pass. The first conversation can be of a more general nature, focused on the importance of health and not accepting gifts from strangers. This will effectively open the lines of communication. The concept of drugs and drug addictions can be added into the conversation as the child becomes older. It is important to talk about moderation, the difference between illegal drugs and alcohol and making good decisions as an adult. These discussions are meant to spark meaningful conversations about making decisions with confidence and dealing with peer pressure. 

Offering Healthy Alternatives 

While discussing drugs, addictions and substance abuse, it is critical to talk about choices. Sometimes, becoming a part of a sports team, a drama club or band, orchestra, or choir can provide a much healthier outlet than drugs. When teenagers know they have the support of their parents, they will participate in activities that are good for them and help them grow as human beings. This means instead of accepting an invitation to a party where the teen knows there will drugs, they may choose to go to a movie or have a sundae with a friend instead.

Empowering our kids with the right tools and knowledge to help fight substance abuse is one of the best gifts we can give our children as parents. If we make the effort, the odds of our sons and daughters to eventually grow into happy, well-adjusted and mature young adults will be more than well worth it.

Parents Reminder:

These tips are not intended to replace medical or mental advice. Always consult a qualified professional if you have any concerns about your child.

About The Recovery Village

The Recovery Village is a network of rehabilitation facilities offering comprehensive treatment for substance abuse disorders as well as interlinked mental illnesses. The first facility was established in Umatilla, Florida and has since expanded to other locations in Florida as well as Colorado, Washington, and Ohio. Learn more about teen addiction. You can also advantage of additional resources by visiting; by calling their 24/7 toll-free hotline at 888-925-9753; or by following them on TwitterFacebook and YouTube.

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