Drug and alcohol abuse among teenagers is alarmingly prevalent. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this epidemic is that very few parents are aware that their children may be involved in these “stealth” activities. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the best solution to this problem is to start a conversation with your kids.
In a full-page ad, the organization spells out twelve tips to help you communicate with your children about this touchy topic. Some examples include:
- Don’t be afraid to start talking. The dialog is not about what you may or may not have done as a teenager – It’s about what your kids are going to do with their lives.
- You’re the best judge of your children’s temperament. You know better than anyone what information they can handle.
- Don’t lie about your past. It could undermine your credibility. Give an honest answer or none at all.
- There’s no need to divulge too much information.
- Make your point clear: tell your kids that you do not want them to use drugs.
- Use your own experiences to prepare yourself for the conversation. Drugs are constantly the subject of news shows, celebrity headlines, and song lyrics. Share what you’ve learned with your children.
- Be sure to listen. A conversation requires two people. And don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Remain calm. Don’t raise your voice and try not to lose your temper. This topic is awkward for everyone involved.
These tips from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America should be a helpful starting point. Your kid’s future might depend on you taking the first step and opening up.