Many parents are unsure how to teach kids about drugs. Talking to your kids about drug abuse doesn’t have to be hard or awkward. Here’s what the experts say.
The good news is that teens these days are using fewer drugs than the generations before them. In fact, drug use among teenagers is the lowest since tracking started in the 1970s. But that doesn’t mean that all teens abstain from using drugs, and those who do are at a risk of developing an addiction. If you’re concerned with how to teach kids about drugs, read on for some expert tips on talking to your child about substance abuse.
You can’t very well teach your kids about drugs without knowing about them yourself. Learn about the drugs that kids are using these days and the effects they have. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has a comprehensive section of their website that explains drug abuse and addiction as well as describes each common drug of abuse. Once you’re armed with information about drug abuse, addiction, and specific drugs, you’ll be able to more effectively know how to teach kids about drugs.
Also Read: Tampa Drug Treatment Center
Start as early as possible.
Ideally, you should start talking to your kids about drugs starting in preschool. But many parents wonder how to teach about drug abuse when kids are that young. Really, it’s a matter of keeping a conversation going about healthy habits. When it’s relevant, such as when your child has to take medicine, explain that medicine can be dangerous if it’s not taken according to a doctor’s instructions.
How to teach kids about drugs when they’re in elementary school is a matter of talking about the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol when it comes up and continue helping children make healthy choices–and praising them when they do.
Once your child enters middle school, your expectations about drug use should be crystal clear, and the consequences you’ll dole out in the event of drug abuse should be in place. Your expectations should be repeated frequently throughout the middle school and high school years, and consequences should be followed through with in the event of drug or alcohol use.
Know how to talk to kids about drugs.
It can be hard to know how to talk to kids about drugs so that they’ll listen. The key is to not lecture, but rather take advantage of opportunities to have a conversation with your child about drugs, keeping in mind, of course, what is age-appropriate. If you see drug use on TV, for example, have a two-way discussion about whether what you’re seeing is realistic, and ask your child what he thinks about the drug abuse.
If a classmate of your child’s gets in trouble for drug use or possession, use it as an opportunity to talk about consequences, including the health, legal, and social consequences. These types of two-way conversations can help you learn about your child’s attitudes toward drugs, and they enable you to give your child important information about drug abuse without sounding like you’re lecturing. Use these conversations to remind your child about your expectations regarding drug or alcohol use during the teenage years. Tell your child you have confidence that she will make healthy choices for herself.
Other Things You Can Do to Prevent Adolescent Drug Abuse
Knowing how to teach kids about drugs is only part of the equation for keeping your kids off drugs. Once you understand how to teach about drug abuse, consider the ways you can help set your child up for success and prevent drug abuse throughout his or her elementary, middle, and high school years. Here are some great tips that can help.
- Encourage your child to get involved in extracurricular activities like academic clubs, sports teams, and activities like theatre, yearbook, or debate. Children who are busy and involved in school are less likely to do drugs.
- Help your child develop skills for saying no when she’s offered drugs. Practice with your child through role-playing.
- Spend lots of quality time with your child. Children who have strong bonds with their parents are less likely to dabble in drugs.
- Know where your child is and who he’s with. Get to know your child’s friends, and talk with their parents on the phone or in person. The more connected you are to your child’s social life–without overdoing it, of course–the farther your influence will reach when you’re not with him.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.