How to Approach Talking to Your Teens About Drugs

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Image by Shutterstock

Guest post by Peter Langiewicz of Recovery Village

Drugs don't discriminate when seeking out lives to destroy; proof lies in the devastating effects that drug addictions have on an addict's relatives and friends. As a result, having a child fail to mature by falling into the trap of a powerful narcotic is one of the worst nightmares for any parent. But what can you do to make sure your teen doesn't choose the wrong path? The answer is short, yet it is easier said than done: have a meaningful talk. 

Honesty Matters

Before you call an official family meeting, be prepared to answer a pointed question that your kids will almost certainly ask you: Did you ever try drugs? When you think of what you will say when some form of that question puts you on the spot, avoid coming up with lies or fudging the truth. Just be honest. 

If you have never used drugs, then tell your kids why you never did and what you did to avoid the temptation. On the flip side, though, if your past does include drug use, put that information out there and explain why it was such a careless decision to make. And if you were a full-blown addict at one time or still are today, explain in detail all of the ways that your drug abuse has hindered your life. The more honest that you are, the more your children will respect the words that come out of your mouth. 

Experimentation Leads to Addiction

As you are trying to come up with all of the right things to say, do not make the mistake of backing some far-fetched theory that experimentation is OK. It's just not. The theme of your entire message has to be complete abstinence. 

Every mind responds differently when exposed to effects of a drug. Some people can try a drug once and never try it again. But plenty of others cannot. You may think your child is mentally tough enough to never fall prey to a drug or alcohol addiction. But the truth of the matter is that you just don't know how your child would respond to the sudden rush of artificial joy that drugs provide. 

Promote Healthy Living 

When considering preventative measures concerning drug use, you should put all of your effort into coming up with an extensive list of all of the wonderful alternatives available to your children. Point out how life can be a long, enriching journey when you use your time wisely. 

Encourage your teens to spend their time taking part in activities that build self-esteem by keeping them looking good while feeling good. However, remember that you are the example that they are going to look to. In other words, start doing anything other than sitting on your couch all day; take your kids with you. 

Show Your Trust 

There is no easier way to make your kids want to cover their ears and walk away than to express distrust. So when you are finally prepared to discuss the importance of avoiding drugs to your teens, remind yourself to keep a respectful tone throughout the conversation and avoid comments that could be seen as a sign that you do not trust them. 

You should want your children to come to you with future questions. If you treat them like the maturing human beings that they are, they are more likely to do so. 

Dangers of Avoiding the Drug Talk

When a child becomes addicted to drugs during adolescence, the result is never pretty and impacts all aspects of his or her life. Not only do social issues arise that can take years of rehabilitation to overcome, but the people who care most about the addict are left to try to help clean up the mess. 

But it's possible that the problem could have been avoided altogether. The prevention may have only required consistent doses of informed conversations. So before your teens are faced with the all-too-powerful temptation to succumb to peer pressure and try drugs, take advantage of the power of your speaking-and-listening skills; slam the door on the would-be obstacle before it has a chance to show up.