Tackling the topic of drugs
It’s estimated that more than fifty percent of teens have experimented with psychoactive drugs and one in five have tried marijuana. Meanwhile, teen drinking and alcohol abuse is on the rise and glorified images of alcohol abound in the media. As parents, it’s easy to feel powerless to prevent our kids from rebelling and experimenting with some form of drugs or alcohol. However, there’s been significant research to suggest that teens who maintain open lines of communication with their parents are much less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Talking to your child about drugs is a fundamental way of protecting their mental and physical wellbeing. Here’s how to broach the issue without making them feel confronted…
The best way to talk to your kids about drugs is regularly. That means rather than setting aside a time to sit them down and introduce the issue, you can incorporate it into everyday conversation, so your kids learn to feel comfortable talking with you about tricky issues. Television shows can be a great catalyst for bringing up the topic. If a particular episode of your child’s favourite show has drug and alcohol themes, talk about the issues that are raised with your teen throughout the program.
Creating open communication lines
Kids often feel marginalised from their parents because they believe that they can’t relate and don’t understand the issues they may be facing. Show your teen that you do understand by being honest with them about your own experiences growing up. Admit your mistakes – if you tried drugs, be honest about it – use it as an opportunity to discuss the negative consequences. Talk about times you felt pressured to fit in, it will make them feel much more relaxed about discussing their own anxieties with you.
Tell your kids that you respect their desire for freedom, but that you also need to set boundaries to protect them. Ask for the phone number of the parents of your child’s friend if they are attending a party at their house and call to check the event will be supervised. Make sure you let your kids know that you do trust them, but that it is other people that you don’t trust and you need to put protective measures into place to put them out of harm’s way.