“Did you ever do drugs?” It’s a question many parents dread. Is telling your kids about substance abuse helpful or harmful?
Unfortunately, it’s not an easy question to answer. Some professionals think that being candid about your past will give kids an excuse to drink and do drugs. Others say it can provide honest and open communication.
So, should you be honest about the times you drank as a teen or used drugs in college? It depends. Let’s break it down so you can approach the situation with care and caution.
How to Talk to Your Kids About Alcohol and Drugs
There’s no doubt that having a conversation with your kid about drugs and alcohol is tough. Here are some factors to consider that will make it easier.
Build a Strong Relationship
You need to have a strong foundation with your teen to have these kinds of conversations. Teach them empathy, listening skills, and healthy communication.
Show interest in your child’s life and take an active role in their activities. Go to their recitals, share a hobby together, and ask them about their friends. Doing this on a regular basis shows your child you’re there for them.
Promote honesty whenever possible and create a safe, non-threatening environment. This will encourage your kid to talk to you about scary subjects like using drugs and alcohol, and make these conversations easier.
Keep It Conversational
No matter what, make sure your kids know that you simply want them to stay away from alcohol and drugs. Keep the conversation going, and don’t shy away from listing the dangers of substance abuse.
With that in mind, be honest with your kids while asking for their thoughts and feelings. Some examples of this might look like:
“All my friends were smoking weed, so I started smoking to fit in. Do you ever feel pressured to do what your friends do so you don’t feel left out?”
“I used to drink at parties and I really regret it. I made some really bad decisions and hurt other people. I really don’t want you to repeat my mistakes. What do you think about that?”
Finally, listen to your kid’s responses. Give them your full attention and respond thoughtfully and calmly. Make sure they understand you care about them and want them to be healthy and safe.
Consider Your Teen Before the Conversation
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to talking to your child about drugs and alcohol. Consider their maturity and whether it’s the right time to have a conversation about alcohol and drugs.
Also think about what your teen needs to have an open conversation. Do they listen better while doing a hands-on activity, or do they need a quiet environment? Will it be better with just you or should you involve other family members? Taking these things into consideration will help you tailor your approach.
Help is Here—Contact Lakeside Academy Today
Each teen is unique and deserves to thrive. At Lakeside Academy, we have customized programs that can help develop your teen’s character and give them a sense of belonging. Contact our experts by calling 844-768-8336 or send us a message to learn more.