Talking to your child about drugs can be a difficult conversation.
There are many approaches to having hard conversations with kids, but taking a loving approach to the “drug talk” can be a good option for teaching your son or daughter about the dangers of drugs. Rather than scaring them or coming off as inflexible and uncaring, speaking with your child in a loving, rational way often leaves a lasting impact and will encourage your child to return to you if they have questions.
When preparing for this discussion, keep in mind that children are being exposed to drugs and alcohol at a young age, so keeping a dialogue open, talking often, and beginning at a young age is crucial to keeping your child and yourself informed about the dangers of using drugs.
To facilitate the discussion and offer a conversation that your son or daughter might remember, consider role-playing possible scenarios. Teach your child responses for when they might encounter drugs and talk through or act out scenarios they might encounter. Role-playing with your son or daughter will help them know how to respond before they are in a situation where they might encounter drugs. Additionally, this activity will create an active memory with practical knowledge that your child will remember. Your engagement in the activity will show your child that you are concerned about their well-being, that you love them, and that you are willing to actively engage with them rather than dismissing them.
In addition to role-playing, consider using everyday moments as teaching tools. Rather than making a big deal by announcing that it’s time for the big “drug talk” and preaching a list of do’s and don’ts, use time in the car on the way to school or practice to talk about the harmful effects of drug use. Additionally, if you see a character on television or hear someone on the radio using or talking about drugs, use the example to discuss addictions and what they do to your body. This could lead to further conversations or simply normalize discussion about drugs with your child.
It is important to keep the tone of these conversations calm and to use language that your child can understand. Keeping an open environment where your child feels comfortable sharing with you and where you are open to answering difficult questions with love and honesty will encourage your child to turn to you for answers rather than to outside sources. Talking with your child daily and spending intentional time with them will create a relationship in which your family is connected and hard conversations can be tackled more easily.
At Sinclair Law Office, we often see the damaging effects of drugs and strongly encourage parents or mentors to have this conversation with your child. Drugs are prevalent in many schools and the chances of your child being offered drugs is high. That’s why talking with your child or teen before they are offered drugs is important. If you’ve talked to them beforehand about the dangers of drugs, they’ll be better prepared for how to respond when offered drugs.
For more facts and resources on the harmful effects of drugs visit www.drugabuse.gov.