Talking to your kids about drugs can be a hard conversation. Whatever age your child is, it is never too early to start the conversation. Here are some steps/tips on getting the conversation started and flowing.
- Keep the lines of communication open for you and your child: having an honest conversation is one of the most powerful ways of connecting with your kids. Even with those harder topics such as nicotine, alcohol, or drugs, it’s less about having a “drug-free” talk and more about having frequent spontaneous conversations tailored to the moment. Focus on what your child should do to stay safe. For Instance, what should your child do and say when offered drugs for the first time? Practice a dialog to allow your child to save face. For instance, “They cut those drugs with laundry detergent so they can make more money. I don’t what that junk in my body.” It’s important to shift the conversation from the “Don’t mentality to a Do this mentality.
- Make sure you come from a place of compassion and love: We have to make sure that our kids feel comfortable coming to us with these topics, it will help foster a stronger and better relationship that will help keep the conversation going.
- Balance consequences and positive encouragement: Focus on helping kids learn their actions and how they affect themselves and others. We have to celebrate our kids for coming to us and choosing the better choice for themselves. Praise them and celebrate their accomplishments and choices.
- Recognize teachable moments for discussions: It helps kids and youth realize the WHY of things. Why do we take drugs or vitamins? Why is it bad to become addicted to substances? We need to teach them by explaining and helping them understand the why of things, so they can understand the choices they make.