Ready to speak to your teen about drugs & alcohol?Here are 5 ways to create healthy conversation between you and your teen about drugs and alchol:
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.