How To Talk to Children Preteens and Teenagers About Drugs
Many parents make the mistake of thinking they can shelter their kids from anything they do not want them involved in. Curfews, private schools, and other restrictions will not keep your children from being exposed to negative influences no matter how hard you try. In fact, studies have shown that parents who educate their children about the dangers that exist in the world are more effective in preventing their children from getting wrapped up in bad situations. The perfect example of this is drug and alcohol use. It is not enough to simply tell you children that these things are bad. You need to have an open dialogue with them so they feel comfortable asking you questions and understand the real dangers substance abuse can pose.
If your children feel like they can talk to you about drugs and alcohol, and they are well informed and have been educated about them from a young age, there is a better chance they will feel confident and have the tools necessary to withstand peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol as they get older. Parents sometimes face the challenge of knowing what information to give their children at what age. This breakdown will help you talk to your kids starting at a young age about drugs and help you build a foundation that will make it easier for them to come to you with questions as they get older and are exposed to more dangers.
When a child is very young, you can start talking to them about medicines around your home. Nearly every child gets a cold or sore throat, and that is the perfect opportunity to start educating them about drugs. You can begin to explain to them about how all medicine can be dangerous if you take too much or take it when you do not really need it. Show them the dosage on the bottle, even if they cannot read, it will give them a visual that will help them to understand that there are rules that must be followed when taking medication. Your child may also have questions about smoking if they have a friend whose parent smokes. Make sure they understand that some adults choose to smoke but that it is very bad for them and children should never smoke.
In many elementary schools, drug awareness programs are attempting to educate children about drugs before they are ever exposed to them. Having the proper information is very important to prevention. By the time your child is ten years of age, you should have had several conversations with them about drugs and alcohol. Do not just tell them your opinion. Start a conversation by asking them how they feel around drinking or doing drugs, their answer may surprise you. At this age you will be able to guide them and offer insight that they will listen to.
When your children reach their preteen and teen years they will likely begin to encounter situations where they are offered drugs or alcohol. It is imperative that you keep the dialog going during this stage of your child’s life. You should make sure they understand that you have no tolerance for any drug use or drinking on their part, but they should also feel comfortable contacting you if they are ever in a situation where they need help. The worst thing you can do is scare your child to the point that they get in a car with a driver who is drunk because they do not feel comfortable picking up the phone to call you.
Seek professional help if you know someone with a drug problem. You can find out more from the professionals at the Richmond substance abuse treatment center at http://www.fccr-va.com