Many parents want to talk to their kids about drugs, but don’t know just how to go about it. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “..in 2012, 14.8 percent of high school seniors used a prescription drug non-medically in the previous year…” In short, many kids are abusing the prescription drugs kept in their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. This statistic is solid evidence of the importance of talking to your kids about the dangers of using drugs. Here are some things to keep in mind when you begin this discussion with your kids.
Make Yourself Accessible
Set some time aside on one afternoon or evening to sit your kids down and assure them that you are always available to talk to them about drugs or any other issues they are dealing with. If they are facing pressures from friends or kids at school concerning drugs, tell them that you want to know about it so you can help. Be sure to emphasize that you are not going to embarrass them. Because you love them, you want to know what is going on in their lives. It’s likely that your child will simply say ‘okay’ and pick up his or her smartphone to continue texting. Regardless of your child’s response, you’ve made your point in a clear way that they will remember.
Use Current News Stories as Examples
A story in the news about a kid’s drug abuse and subsequent problems presents a good ‘teaching moment’ for a parent. It may even be a news story about the arrest of a local kid for drug possession or selling drugs. Sit down and discuss the article with your child. Emphasize that the kid has to live with a drug arrest record for the rest of his or her life. This will affect the kid’s ability to get a job and make a living. The arrest record will color the way employers and others look at the person. Bringing up a real life example that involves someone who is near your child’s age can be a convincing way to show him or her the dangers of using drugs, as well as the far-reaching consequences.
Share Websites about the Dangers of Drug Abuse with Your Kids
The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) connected with the CDC reports that 23.1 percent of the 9th to 12th grade students they surveyed had used marijuana one or more times. The YRBS goes on to state that this number is up from a total of 14.7 percent in 1991. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of websites available today that are designed for teens and younger kids to help them understand the perils of using drugs. A couple of good websites include kidshealth.org and teens.drugabuse.gov. Some websites provide stories written by teens and kids who have dealt with drug addiction. These personal stories are often very persuasive to kids because they are hearing it from a peer instead of an adult. Discussing these stories with your child can be a way to get them to ask any questions they have. If your child has any specific questions that you don’t know how to answer, then you may want to make an appointment with your child’s doctor so he or she can answer the question for your son or daughter.
Stress the Benefits of Avoiding Drugs
- Here are some of the benefits of being drug free that you may want to mention to your child:
- You can freely pursue the career and life you choose.
- You will enjoy better health.
- You won’t have to lie to friends and family about what you’re doing.
- You won’t risk being arrested for your activities.
Encourage Your Child to Take a Different Path
Finally, it’s beneficial for parents to encourage their children to stay away from classmates and others who use drugs. Point out some of the specific qualities and unique talents of your child. Perhaps your child has a great sense of humor and is able to make friends easily. Maybe your child loves working with animals and wants to become a veterinarian. Tell your child that these things can easily be ruined by delving into the world of drugs. Emphasize that you want to see all of the wonderful things they can do with their talents! Let them know they have a bright future to look forward to if they stay on the right path!