Six Practical Tips For Talking With Your Children About Drugs And Substance Abuse

Posted on: 8 May 2017

For many parents, it can be daunting to talk with their children about drug use and abuse. However, these conversations are essential, and they may help your child avoid a serious substance abuse issue. Here are some practical tips to help you.

1. Always Answer Questions

Whether your child is three or thirteen, if they have a question about drugs, you should answer it. Younger kids may have heard about drugs on public service announcements, while older kids may have seen or heard their peers talking about it.

If the question is asked, the child is not too young. In fact, the question means that drugs are on their radar, and if you don't answer their questions someone else will.

2. Do Your Own Research

You may find that you simply don't have the information to answer all of your child's questions. That's okay. Just spend some time researching what you don't know, and then, answer your child.

3. Be Honest About the Impact of Various Drugs

When talking about drugs and alcohol, don't paint them all with the same brush. Instead, provide your child with honest information about what different drugs do. For example, your child should understand the difference between a hallucinogen and an amphetamine and the effects of both.

4. Talk About Substance Abuse

Also, remember to talk about the cognitive process that underlies addiction and abuse. Children are nuanced, intelligent people. They can understand how endorphins work. They can understand the process of needing or craving more of a substance to get more endorphins, and when they understand this process, they may be less likely to succumb to drug abuse.

5. Address Psychological Issues

There is a huge link between substance abuse and mental health issues. Half of people with severe mental disorders are drug abusers or dabble in some sort of substance abuse. Of all the people who abuse drugs, over half of them (53 percent) struggle with a mental health issue.

If you believe that your child has a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety, get them help. Otherwise, they may turn to self medication which may eventually become substance abuse. Remember that anxiety and depression can look like sullenness and disrespect in teens especially. In many cases, they don't need punishments. They need a skilled counselor.

6. Create an Open Door Policy

Finally, in case your child ever does start using drugs or has any other questions, create an open door policy. Your child should know that he or she can talk with you.

For more information, contact companies like Bridgeway Recovery Services Inc.