Tips for Speaking to Teens About Drugs & AlcoholHere are 5 ways to create healthy conversation between you and your teen about drugs and alchol:
Tips for Speaking to Teens About Drugs & Alcohol
We hope these Tips for Speaking to Teens About Drugs & Alcohol are useful to you. If you need more help, click here for more resources. Kids are naturally inquisitive about alcohol. They see adults drinking it and are exposed to it through various media outlets, but in most cases, parents have the biggest influence on how children perceive alcohol and drinking. This puts the parent in a position to make sure children are given the facts about alcohol and drinking and how to make sensible choices in the future. So at what age do you talk to your kids about drinking? There is no set age, but rather gearing your conversation towards the child’s age. For example, if you’re drinking alcohol inform of your elementary school aged kid, they are bound to ask you questions about what your are drinking and what it tastes like. While it’s tempting to say that it’s only for adults or wait until you’re older, it’s worth the time to explain what alcohol is and what it can do to their young bodies and why they must wait until they are are older. There is research to support that by the time a child is five, they have already formed basic attitudes and opinions about alcohol.
1. Set Terms
The conversation of drugs and alcohol can be delicate. Let your teen know that you have something important you’d like to talk to them about, and ask them when they would like to have this conversation. You don’t want to catch your teen off-guard when they are distracted or focused on something else. If you want your teen to really engage in your talk, it needs to be at a predetermined time when 100% focus will be on the topic.
2. Act early
Various statistics prove that teens who said that they drank alcohol or consumed drugs reported doing so before the age of 15. It’s best for parents to speak to their teens about drugs and alcohol between ages 12- 14, since it is likely they will already have been offered substances by then.
3. Never Accuse
Never accuse your teen of involvement with drugs and alcohol unless you have hard evidence. Start by asking your teens what they know about drugs and what may be happening in their schools and social circles. Coming from a place of inquisitiveness makes it less likely for teens to be defensive or lie. If parents stay open and comfortable, so will your teen.
4. Don’t Use Scare Tactics
While it is important for parents to tell children that drug and alcohol use can come with dire consequences, it may be a good idea to focus on the positives, too. For example, explain things like how avoiding substances and effectively managing issues such as peer pressure makes it easier to benefit from more important things like getting into a good college or performing well in sports and other extracurricular activities. Visit our blog for tips to help your teen “say no”.
5. Call a professional
If parents truly find that they cannot have this conversation with their children themselves, it’s best to call a professional. A family counselor can sit with parents and children and make sure they are having heartfelt and productive discussions, rather than just sitting in awkward silences or getting into a fight that will cause more harm to their relationship than good. For more resources click here.
Lead by example!
Pledge you and your teen to be drug and alcohol free!