When it comes to talking to teens about drugs, things can get a little complicated. Your children are the most precious things in the world to you, they are the lifeblood of the future. Parents spend their entire lives sacrificing and saving so that their children may have the absolute best of everything: education, resources, and ultimately their own successful lives. Providing all the comforts and protections their children need is the number one priority of parents around the world. This includes protecting them against themselves.
Education on the dangers of drug use is vital to prevent your teen from being a victim of ignorance. It has often been viewed as an uncomfortable topic whenever broached with teens, and in the years past, many times had been left up to the devices of the school system’s various anti-drug programs hosted by law-enforcement officials and other agencies. But, thanks to budget cuts and the re-prioritization of local governing bodies when it comes to delegating the remainder of said budget, these vital program’s funding has been cut and many now face extinction.
The majority of the weight now befalls you as a parent. As drugs among teens become more and more prevalent, the time to have that conversation is now. Talking to teens about drugs can seem quite formidable to the first-time and even experienced parent. If you are scared, nervous, or unclear about how to talk to teens about drugs in a positive and conversational manner, consider utilizing some of the following tips:
Start the Dialogue Early
Prevention is key. They say failing to prepare is preparing to fail, so starting the conversation at an early age is the best course of action in teen drug prevention. Once your child reaches an age at which they are capable of comprehending the dangers and risks involved with drug use, the talks should commence. By remaining open and honest with them, teens will feel safe and receptive when it comes to taking part in this crucial dialogue. Talking to teens about drugs and alcohol doesn’t have to be a burden. Keeping them engaged in the conversation and allowing them to feel safe confiding in you is the key to keeping them safe. By opening channels of communication early, as they grow, this bond with develop further and set the stage for talking about other high-risk behaviors such as sex in a comfortable and non-judgmental setting.
In the end, if your teen does decide to experiment, it is beyond your control. However, you have cultivated an “open door policy” so that they may have a safe space with you to seek counsel in times of necessity.
Walk the Walk
If you are attempting to set the stage for your teen to avoid drug use and abuse in the future, it is absolutely imperative you be the example you’d want them to follow. That means not engaging in drug use yourself, even if it is in a seemingly innocuous manner with the occasional recreational use. You are your teen’s biggest role model, and if you desire your teen to make good choices, good choices start with yourself. The moment your teen views you in a hypocritical light, you’ve lost the battle. They will cite your usage as permission to do it themselves, making talking to teens about drugs futile. If you find yourself unable to stop using, perhaps looking into treatment for yourself would be your next course of action.
Being honest about drug use is important as well. Fear-mongering tactics are both outdated and juvenile in the sense that plays off of presenting worst-case scenarios. Obviously, drugs and alcohol produce pleasurable effects as well as negative, so it’s important to highlight the risks involved in engaging in drug and alcohol use. By being honest, it allows your teen to formulate a realistic look at drugs and alcohol rather than just assuming you’re making it out to be worse than it is in reality. Be sure to advocate for sobriety and abstinence of course but do not negate to speak on both sides of the argument. By creating a pros and cons list with them, it can help them visual risks and rewards making talking teens about drug easier.
Set Clear Boundaries
If you don’t want your teen using drugs, set up clear and specific boundaries. By being forthcoming with what will and will not be tolerated, you’re putting the ball in your teen’s court. If they choose to violate your parameters, then the resulting consequences and punishments that befall them is their choice. Too much freedom when it comes to making such potentially life-altering decisions at such an impressionable age may spell disaster for them.
Let them know what you consider to be “off limits,” and explain the consequences for violating the rules that you have set. This way you can build trust and understanding with your teen when it comes to drug and alcohol. Drugs among teens is unfortunately very common and without these boundaries, you’re giving your teen free reign to do as they please.
Do Some Listening
A conversation is not a one-way street. Talking to teens about drugs needs to be an open dialogue. Once your teen has heard you out, it’s time to give them the floor. By allowing them active participation in the discussion, you let them know that their opinion matters. This will also allow your children to ask any questions they may or may not have about drugs and alcohol, subsequently giving you the opportunity to give them the correct information as opposed to whatever they may hear from their friends. They may also feel safe confiding in you if they’ve already experimented or are seriously considering trying drugs and alcohol so that you can be aware and can assist them from there.
Share Some of Your History
Considering that you are the adult in the situation, you have far more worldly experience than your children. This goes for almost everything in life, including drugs and alcohol. You were their age once too, so try to remember what it was like being in their shoes. Be open and honest about your personal experience with drugs and alcohol, especially if you’re a recovering addict or alcoholic. By having your history out on the table, you’re allowing your children to have an intimate look at the reality of using drugs. They will respect your opinion and hold you in much higher regard for the humanity you’ll display by getting vulnerable and allowing them your insight.
Maintain an open door policy. Let your children feel comfortable with coming to you with anything without fear of judgment or being penalized. If they decide to use drugs or whether they decide to stay sober, there isn’t much you can do or say to sway them otherwise. But by being present as a source of love and support no matter the outcome, they will feel safe confiding in you and you will possess the awareness to help them if times ever get tough.
While discussions of this nature are never simple or straightforward in nature, it is absolutely imperative to participate in this dialogue with your children. Avoidance and scare tactics will never work, and by following the tips in this guide, you’re sure to make the process far easier. Protecting your children is the number one priority in this world, and if you see any of the red flags of addiction, you’ll be ready to take action. For more information on addiction and treatment options, contact Drug Treatment Center Finder today.