Becoming a parent is one of the biggest moments of anyone’s life. However, even after years of going through the various stages of growth, it can be very hard for a parent to discuss drugs with their children. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, when a parent talks to their kids about drugs, it is a good idea to teach them about the drugs, create clear rules, discover what the child already knows, answer any questions they may have, and show them ways to say “no.” There are four useful tips for talking to a child about drug use to make sure they are aware of the consequences of it.
1. Be a Credible Source
When a parent decides to talk to their child about drug use, it is important to let them know that he or she are a credible source of information. Try not to lie or over exaggerate as this can cause the child not to trust their parent when they discover the truth.
The truth is an important tool because it allows the child to have the ability to rely on their parents for their questions and concerns. This will open the conversation for later on if the child does fall prey to drug abuse and addiction because it will allow them to know that they can rely on their parents in their time of need,
2. Keep it Age Appropriate
Be careful not to dumb things down. Children are very perceptive and it can cause them to feel annoyed or irritated, which means they will not be listening to the vital information the parent is trying to convey.
He or she can process a lot of information, often more than a parent realizes and an age appropriate conversation will allow them to feel more respected and appreciated. In doing this, the parent will make the child feel as though they can engage in the conversation as well.
3. Don’t Put Down or Lecture
When a child hears their parent speak negatively about or put down their peers, it can cause them to become defensive and closed to communication regardless of whether the peers are friends or not. It is far better to explain the consequences of drug use than to tear down anyone who may have used them.
This gives the talk a more educational and less judgmental, which encourages open conversing between parent and child. According to the NIDA, one of the best ways a parent can do to help keep their children from drugs is to explain how drug use can effect their health, future, family, and friends.
By not only explaining the consequences, they could suffer from themselves but also on their loved ones, it can deter the child from choosing to try them.
It is just as important not to lecture the child when it comes time to talk about drug use. A conversation about drugs will be more effective if it is an open communication where both the parent and the child are involved.
If the parent talks to instead of at their child, it encourages them to ask questions and be interested enough in the answers to listen. When the child feels as though they can ask questions, it gives the parent a chance to discuss the topic in more depth and with more clarity.
4. Encourage Problem Solving
While this conversation is informative, it can also be a way to teach the child how to make informed decisions when a drug-related situation arises. Parents cannot be with their children every second, so they need to do the best they can to prepare their children by engaging early.
It can also be useful to allow them to tell the parent what they would do in certain situations and ask questions to help them determine what to do.
It is important to make sure that the parents feel comfortable in the knowledge that they have done everything they could to inform their children about drug use in the best way possible. By telling the truth, keeping the conversation age-appropriate, steering clear of negativity, and encouraging problem solving with children, parents can rest easy knowing that they have equipped their children with what they need when faced with a drug-related situation.