Every parent of a teenager knows that young adults eventually need to learn to become independent. The natural progression of our development as humans requires teens to explore the world around them so that they can learn to live as adults on their own someday. Before your teen becomes too independent, however, it is important to instill values and teach your child what you want them to know. This includes talking to your child about the dangers of drug abuse.
Talking to Your Child Early
One mistake parents often make is they don’t talk to their child about drug abuse at a young enough age. Drug prevention starts at home, and even young children can understand that some substances can hurt the body and should be avoided. As your child gets older, you as the parent can give more information as appropriate, so that over the course of their childhood, your teen will have heard many times and in many ways that they should say no to drugs. Leaving the door open for questions will ensure you can have an ongoing conversation about the dangers of drugs as your child grows up.
Do Your Research
Parents often struggle with what to say to their adolescent about drugs. Becoming informed will help you know what to say and what topics are relevant to your child. A wealth of information can be found through Internet searches and by contacting your local health department. It is important to stay up-to-date on drug trends in order to pass prevention information on to your kids and in order to be aware of any signs of drug abuse in your child.
Always be confident with your anti-drug message. Parents who are firm with their children that drug abuse will not be tolerated in the home will be more successful in keeping their kids off drugs. Tell your teen what your rules are and that there will be consequences if they use drugs, and then be prepared to follow through if you find out they have experimented with drugs.
Be Involved with Your Child
Most importantly, parents need to be involved with their child in order to keep them away from drugs. Spend time with your teen, let them know you care and are interested in their life. A more positive relationship between parent and teen will make the task of talking with an adolescent about drugs much easier.