Talking to Your Kids about Drugs and Alcohol
A lot of information about this topic is going to be very vague. That’s because there isn’t one way to talk to all children about drugs and alcohol. You know your child better than anyone. Trust yourself!
Here are some tips that might help guide you through these rough conversations:
- Talk often with your child about all aspects of their lives. That will make harder conversations a lot easier.
- Show that you’re concerned, not angry. Keep a cool head, even if you know they’re lying or if they turn the conversation around on you.
- Be prepared with some information about drugs and alcohol so you can base your arguments on facts, not fears
- If you have evidence of drinking or drug use, bring it up. For example, “I’ve noticed alcohol missing from the cabinet” or “I found drug paraphernalia in your room.”
- Youth aren’t just being rebellious. A lot of youth are using drugs and alcohol to cope with problems or to self-medicate mental health concerns, such as anxiety, depression, and ADD. Try to understand why your child uses alcohol or other drugs when confronting him or her.
- Don’t hide a family history of drug and alcohol abuse. Use it to show concern, especially if addiction runs in the family.
- Keep your expectations clear. You will not tolerate drugs or alcohol because they are harmful and dangerous to your child.
For information on how to talk to your kids in their college years read Parenting Through the College Years.
What if my child asks about my drinking or drug use?
- Be honest. If you expect your child to be honest, you need to be as well.
- You can acknowledge that you’ve made mistakes in the past, and don’t want your child to go through the same mistakes
- Carefully choose your wording so you don’t glorify drug use