5 Tips on Talking to Your Kids about Addictions
Young people are surrounded by alcohol and drugs through social media, their day-to-day activities and from the entertainment industry. It’s hard to filter it out, that’s why many parents and caregivers worry about what their children’s teen years will bring.
There are many things that can make your kids more vulnerable to problems caused by substance use.
Here are some tips to help you keep your children informed.
You’re the influencer
You’re the top dog and main influencer in your child’s life. Most teens report their behavior is influenced by how they were raised. So even though you may see eyes rolling, the message you give your children sticks with them. It’s important to model your behavior for your teenager. Children take cues from the choices you make about substance use. So, it’s safe to say, not to use excessively in front of them.
You need to keep informed
Since ‘fake news,’ there has been a lot of misinformation about many things, including alcohol and drugs. Use trustworthy sources to sort out the myths from the facts. Remember, you don’t have to have all the answers to your children’s questions, but you can do some research together. This also can have more of an impact on how your teen absorbs information.
You’ll need to find a way to talk about it
It can be difficult to talk about alcohol and drugs use with your children. What makes it easier is using other influences in their lives as a starting point. Relate to the movies, music, news stories, and ads to start the conversation. Ask your child what their thoughts are and share your own. Be open and listen to your teen’s questions.
Don’t forget to listen
As a parent, it’s easy to swing into lecture mode when talking to your teens about important subjects. However, your children are more likely to come to you for support if you listen to them in a non-judgmental way. Let your children know that even though you may not agree with them, you understand their opinion.
Trust your Instincts
You know your children the best. If you suspect they are using drugs or alcohol, confront your concern with them. Focus on talking about a change in behavior, hobbies, overall health that you’ve noticed. Do this in a respectful, caring, and calm way. It most likely will be an uncomfortable conversation, but it could be the best intervention.
If you need suspect your child is having mental health issues or problems with alcohol or drugs, you can call our 24/7 helpline.