Most parents find it difficult to speak to their teenagers about drug addiction. However, several studies have shown that open, healthy discussion between parents and teenagers on drug use can reduce their risk of addiction and abuse. Without the right approach, your children might become defensive and disengage in conversation on the topic. Follow the tips below to make sure your message gets through to them.
Talk to your child early on.
It’s best to speak to your children as early as 8 to 10 years old about drug use. Many pre-teens will become exposed to drugs either by watching others use them or by being offered them. By addressing the topic early, having a healthy dialogue about the subject as they grow up will be easier. Emphasize that you’re always ready to answer whatever questions they have.
Explain the consequences.
Curiosity is a good thing, but it can be dangerous if it’s misdirected. Keep in mind that your teenager might experiment with illicit drugs should they come across some. Educate them first about drugs harmful effects, then calmly explain the consequences should they be caught using them.
Be open and comfortable with them.
Assure your adolescents that they can come to you about anything. Ask them about what they already know about drug addiction and substance abuse, and whether they have been offered anything before. Encourage them to talk freely and refrain from interrupting or turning the discussion into a long-winded lecture.
Assume or accuse.
Refrain from accusing your child of using drugs, particularly if you have no substantial evidence. Instead, keep an open mind — even if you have your suspicions — and remain calm when speaking to them. Adolescents are more likely to listen and accept what you have to say on the matter once you gain their trust.
Yell or scare them.
Your goal is to help them understand the perils of drug addiction and not to needlessly scare them. Avoid overreacting whenever your child is pushing your buttons. Take a moment to regain your composure before resuming the conversation.
Reference other people.
Keep in mind that the conversation on drug use is just between the two of you. Avoid using acquaintances and friends to teach them about repercussions of substance abuse. Instead, use examples seen in media and ask them what they think to get the ball rolling.
Help your teen stay on the right path — don’t neglect having discussions with them about the dangers of drug use. When you know someone with a drug addiction or someone who’s in need of counseling, let the specialists at The LCADA Way help. Located in Lorain, OH, they provide rehab and mental health services to residents in the county and surrounding areas. Call (440) 989-4900 or visit their website to learn more.