This generation of teenagers seems to be more exposed to drugs and have easier access to them than their predecessors. The prevalence of rehabs in California is clear evidence of how some young adults struggle to resist the temptation to fall into addiction.
That means it is more important than ever before to talk to your teenage son or daughter about drugs so that they are ready to deal with exposure to drugs, which is almost certainly going to happen in their formative years.
There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to talk to your teenager about drugs. Here are some of the dos and don’ts to remember when you have that conversation.
Be Flexible When It Comes to What Age They Should Be for the Talk
Kids are at risk of being exposed to all sorts of inappropriate things far younger than they used to be for previous generations.
Recognize that it is really never too early to open up a dialogue with your teenager.
When you consider that children as young as eleven are quite likely to meet others in their group who drink or take drugs it would be a good idea to prime them as early as possible.
That will make for a more adult and meaningful conversation about drugs when they enter their teens,
It Should Be a Two-Way Conversation
Encourage your child to talk about what they already know on the subject of drugs.
It is often the case that they already know far more about drugs and alcohol than you might imagine. Once you know what information they already have on the subject this gives you the perfect starting point to build from there.
Deliver the Message With the Appropriate Amount of Threat
There is a fine line between scaring your teenager or going too far with your warnings about how bad it would be to get involved with drugs.
You need to deliver your message with clarity and firmness. Get the message across about the dangers of drugs and how it could impact their life and even get them into trouble with the police.
If you are too extreme with your message it could impair your ability to communicate with them openly about drugs in the future.
Honesty Is the Best Policy
If you had a dalliance with drugs at a similar age it is usually a good idea to come clean and tell them about your own experiences.
This honest approach can help them open up to you about when they are exposed to drugs and are asked to take them as a result of peer pressure.
Opening up about how you dealt with exposure to drugs can even reduce the prospect of your teenager taking drugs as a way of rebelling against their parents.
Knowing you had a similar experience might reduce the odds of risk-taking behavior when they understand you have already been down that path yourself.
Don’t ever pass up on the opportunity to talk with your kids about drugs. It is also important to act if you suspect your child is showing signs of substance abuse.
Talk to them about your concerns and consider talking to a professional for further guidance on getting your child the help they might need if they have developed a problem.