As a mother of three, I understand how critical it is to discuss drugs and alcohol with our children. With two college-aged sons and a 10-year-old daughter, I’ve had to navigate various stages of this subject. It is not always easy, but safeguarding our children’s safety and well-being is vital. Today, I am sharing tips on how to have “The Talk” with our kids about drugs and alcohol, starting from a young age. However, some people will shy away from teaching their youngsters about this topic. However, the world is much more fast-paced and they have access to so more because of social media. Therefore, let us arm our children with the knowledge to make sound decisions when we aren’t with them.
No parent wants their child to get addicted to drugs and alcohol, but few parents feel comfortable discussing the subject with their child aka giving “The Talk”. Despite our feelings about it, talking about drugs and alcohol is a must because we can help prevent our children from using drugs. It is important that we provide them with information before they are put in a dangerous situation. We are role models for our children, and our attitudes about alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs may have a significant impact on how they see them. So, we should incorporate drug discussion into our overall health and safety discussions with our children.
How Should We Talk to Our Young Child About Drugs?
Experts recommend that we start talking about drinking, smoking, and doing drugs with our child when he or she is between 5 and 7. When thinking about young kids we should make the most of “teachable moments.” If we see a character in a movie or on TV smoking, we should talk about what smoking does to a person’s body. This might lead to a discussion about other substances and their potential danger. We should always maintain a calm tone and use language that our children can understand. We can explain that drugs are harmful and can cause many health issues. We should teach children how to say no when they are offered something they think is unsafe.
How Should We Talk to Our Older Child About Drugs?
We should begin conversations with older children by asking them what they’ve heard about drugs. We should ask in a non-judgmental, open-ended manner to increase the likelihood of an honest response. We should always remember to show our children that we will always listen to them. This age group of children is still open to talking about sensitive topics with their parents. Starting the conversation now helps keep the door open so that our children will feel comfortable communicating their thoughts and feelings as they grow older.
What About Talking to Teenagers?
Teens are more likely to have classmates who use drugs or alcohol, as well as friends who operate cars. We should have a talk with our kid to understand his or her thoughts and feelings. We should also discuss the hazards of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Discuss the legal implications — jail time and penalties — as well as the chance they or someone else may die or be seriously injured. We might consider drafting a written or verbal agreement outlining restrictions around curfew or driving. Teens may ask us additional drug-related questions so we should be prepared. By discussing drugs with our kids from the beginning, we can set clear expectations and make them feel secure coming to us if someone they know is in trouble.
What If Our Kids Already Have Issues with Drugs or Alcohol
As soon as we recognize that our child is struggling with substance abuse, we should investigate getting them into rehab. We might look for a program focused on children or try an all-female detox to get our child the help they need. While rehab can be scary for both our child and for ourselves if we are proactive, we can help our kids kick their habits and grow up into the amazing people that we know they can be.
Getting Into the Good Habit of Seeing the Doctor
In addition to talking to our kids about drugs and alcohol we need to make sure they are getting regular check-ups with their doctors. A good doctor will be enthusiastic about their patients and make them want to talk to them. If we are aware that our child is concerned about going to the doctor, we should always give them adequate time and not try to hurry things up. Doing so will most likely make them even more anxious. We all know that going to the doctor can be stressful. We should explain that whether we’re a youngster or an adult, we must do things we don’t want to do for our own benefit. This includes going to work or a doctor’s visit. Knowing that their parents are also stressed when going to the doctor can help our children not feel isolated and alone.
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