Talking with your teens about drug use will be one of the most important conversations in their life. Even though parents are kids’ role models, when they enter the crazy years, their role models become peers and various famous people. However, drug use doesn’t have to do much with it, if you've done a good job as a parent.
How can you be a good parent to your kids? Well, why you’re here is the first indicator that you care about your children. However, providing them with love and care isn’t enough to educate them about the harmful consequences of drugs. That’s why you need to talk to your kids. How?
Have you ever heard of the expression that kids’ brains are like sponges? They love to soak up the knowledge, and one of the main sources of information are their parents. So, if you have kids or preteens, start talking about drug prevention with them immediately.
Don’t start conversations at random. Build up their trust and try to make things interesting and understandable for them. Even though it may not be the happiest bed-time story or dinner conversation topic, it needs to be done.
If you expect your kids, especially teens to listen to you, you need to provide them with good arguments and reasons. If you just say: "Don't do drugs, it's bad!" They will do it out of spite or curiosity. You need to find an alternative approach.
Teenagers are driven by hormones, not rational thinking. So, you might have to reason with them by giving them concrete proof and reasons why drugs are so harmful. Organise a movie night where you’ll watch educational films and videos about drug abuse and explain what are the consequences in health and life.
Even though you were a teenager once, it may seem like it was centuries ago. You’ve grown and matured a lot since then. Plus, you’ve gathered a lot of life experience your teenagers are yet to obtain. So, from your point of view, it may be hard to understand the teenage brain.
They are now more into chatting and hanging out with peers than sharing their deepest secrets with parents. And that's okay. However, you need to understand their point of view to prevent them from using substances that are harmful to their bodies. Explain that friends who make them try drugs or cigarettes aren't actually their friends. They might stand up to you at first, but soon they'll realise that you've been right all along. Don't push it, though.
Believe it or not, no matter how frequently and rationally you talk to your teenagers, they will still go out and use drugs. That’s why you need to look out for the warning signs such as character changes, failing in school, weight loss or losing interest, you might need to get worried.
Don't take your kid to the doctors just yet. It will embarrass them and make them trust you less. Instead, do a drug test with them. Get a reliable drug testing kit and check up on your teen like that. Keep in mind that all of those symptoms above can be a sign of puberty or depression. So, be wary.
Even if your kids experimented with drugs, create an environment in which they can tell you the truth. Open communication needs to flow both ways. Don’t expect them to share things with you if you’re the one keeping secrets from them.
Open communication with teens plays a big part in drug use prevention. If your teens feel like they can trust you, chances are they will openly communicate with you. Don’t get angry or irritated if you hear something you don’t like or agree with. That will only push them away from you.
There is no one right way to talk to your teens about drugs and drug prevention. You must keep in mind that every person, including your teenager, is individual with its own way of thinking. Try to figure out your teen’s logic and start your talk from there. Having parents they can rely on really helps when it comes to drug prevention.