Talking about drug use with your kids is an important part of keeping them healthy and safe. This topic may be uncomfortable for many parents to discuss with their children; however, even very young children may receive misinformation from their friends at school regarding drugs. This places them at a greater risk for experimenting with drugs. Parents can avoid this problem by maintaining open and honest communication with their child to ensure that the correct information is provided.
By including conversations about drug use early in your child’s life, you will be laying the groundwork for later conversations when the risks of drugs become more serious. Preschoolers and early elementary-age children understand drugs as the medicine that they take when they are sick. Explain to your child that medicine is only to be taken when given by a doctor or a trusted adult. This will help them to learn that drugs should only be taken when there is an important health purpose. Then, you can adjust your approach as your kids grow older.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
The best way to learn about your child’s understanding of drug use is to ask them open-ended questions that are designed to get them talking. Be sure to respond to their answers without judgment. This will encourage them to come to you with their own questions. If you are unsure how to begin asking questions, try commenting on a television show or movie that you have seen recently. You can also mention an article that you have been reading. Then, ask your child what their thoughts are on the subject.
Role Play Handling Peer Pressure
Sometimes a child that knows better than to use drugs can be influenced by their friends to engage in risky behavior. Parents can help their child to resist peer pressure by role playing scenarios in which a child may feel pressured to go along with the crowd. While role playing a child can practice declining offers to try drugs. This will ensure that they are confident when presented with a challenging situation.
When first talking to your kids about drugs, you may worry about saying the wrong thing. However, it is important to remember that knowledge is your child’s best defense against drugs. By establishing a relationship with your child that fosters open communication and honesty, you will be able to talk to your child about the serious dangers of using drugs.
Lyndsi Decker is a freelance writer and often writes about parenting issues. Currently she is promoting addictionwatch.com. She also a mother of two and enjoys spending time with her family.
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