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How do I talk to my kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol?

12 Answers
Last Updated: 08/06/2018 at 2:50pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lindsay Scheinerman, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My work with clients is to help them recognize and build on their strengths to find solutions for the conflicts presented in their lives.

Top Rated Answers
December 17th, 2014 6:31am
well you can always show them documentaries. Or you can warn them what happens when you overdose, you can not stop them. But experience is a really good teacher , so arrange a meeting with someone who has had bad things go down
December 3rd, 2014 6:39pm
You need to be honest with them if you shelter them too much when they grow up they won't know how bad it is
October 25th, 2014 2:15am
The best way from experience is to educate them on the drugs there are out there and the danger's of them. Do some homework on the side effects and overdose. As parents we feel we can protect our kids from the world when in fact we can not. So by educating them and perhaps finding video's or stories of drug overdose's, then it would allow them to feel like they can take control and make the best decisions.
November 20th, 2014 8:12am
Its important to make then understand by talking to tem. Dont make them feel you are putting restrictions but rather make them feel you are informing about the riskes.
November 24th, 2014 2:27pm
Ensure you have ample research and resources to back up what you are saying. Actual facts and figures are more likely to get through than just hear say.
December 8th, 2014 8:00pm
Information can be lethal at times when used wrongly. You shouldn't leave your children curious about its consequence so that they get lured into trying it and you shouldn't scare them so much either because they may try to overcome it by indulging in it. Try to make it friendly and explain it to them. Try not to associate it with punishments because that can provoke rebellion.
December 20th, 2014 7:36pm
Having open conversation with kids is very crucial. Just as parents talk about illnesses, its prevention, it is important to talk about drugs by its dangers and ways to overcome risky situation. Talking to children about complex topic especially alcohol and drugs is challenging, hence most parents avoid talking about the topic. When children don’t get answers from parents or reliable source, they're likely to seek answers elsewhere, largely from unreliable sources. Usually children who are not properly informed are at risk of succumb to peer pressure and experimenting with drugs. In fact, research has shown that kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations. Parents are role models for their children so your views on alcohol, tobacco, and drugs can strongly influence the views of children. Following are few tips to talk about drugs including alcohol. Assess use of drugs in family and take appropriate action. Research suggests that family members’ use of alcohol and drugs plays a strong role in whether children/teens start using drugs. Parents, grandparents, and older brothers and sisters are models that children follow. Therefore, identify who in the family uses drug or alcohol, its frequency and what are the reasons for the use. If some adult member/s is/are dependent on drugs/alcohol then first you need to address that before you tell anything to children about drugs. Gather scientific information on drugs: First, it is important to gather scientific information about drugs. There are lots of misconceptions around drugs and before you talk about this topic, you should have adequate scientific information. You may gather information from Government’s website, reliable book and through reliable online resource. Provide age appropriate information: Talking about drugs at appropriate age with appropriate information is crucial; otherwise discussion on such topic may have unwanted effects. With my experience, I categorize children into three groups, children between 3 to 8 years, 9 to 14 years, 15-19 years, who need to be informed strategically. Focus on the facts; give your children factual, age appropriate information about alcohol and other drugs. Make talking about drugs a part of your general health and safety conversations with your child. While talking, be specific and to the point. Briefly talk about legal and illegal drug, its effects on body and life, risk of overdose, and the other long-term damage they can cause. Use these conversations not only to understand your child's thoughts and feelings, but also to talk about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Talk about the legal issues and the possibility that they or someone else might be seriously injured. Keep your explanations short, simple and precise. Don’t tell children “too much”. Provide necessary information. Have conversation, not lecture. Children respond better to conversation than to lectures. Answer child questions. Children like to ask questions; be ready to listen to and address their questions. Keep the tone of these discussions calm and use terms that your child can understand. Discuss and clarify things they see on television. Many a time media portray a use of alcohol and other drugs. Start taking advantage of "teachable moments.” If you see a character on TV with a cigarette, talk about smoking and what smoking does to a person's body. This can lead into a discussion about other drugs and how they can potentially cause harm. This gives them the facts so they can counteract television bias. Share your stand and perspective on drug use clearly. Clearly tell what you expect your children to avoid. Include your values and emotions in your discussion, assertive techniques to avoid drug use, ways to overcome drug dependence and resources available about drugs. Repeat yourself often; reinforcement is necessary.
December 26th, 2014 6:31pm
It can be hard to talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol, especially if you have never approached this subject with them. Look for teachable moments: You don’t need to sit down and have a formal discussion. Starting a conversation about alcohol, tobacco and drugs can be conducted while playing a board game, cleaning the house, driving them to practice or to a friend’s house, sitting around the dinner table. A good way many parents have discovered is to bring up the conversation when drug references come up in the T.V. shows you are watching or in songs you may hear on the radio. When you see a tv character using drugs, ask your kids what they think about it.
September 6th, 2016 5:44pm
Explain to them why those things are dangerous and explain your experience with them tell them it isn't cool or popular to do drugs or drink
March 7th, 2017 1:51pm
Talking to kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol is very important. Too many kids are dying because of this. Let them know what harm can happen to them. Educate them on being safe. Tell them not to be pressured if they are offered drugs and alcohol. Most importantly tell them to say NO.
March 5th, 2018 10:31pm
Be honest, don't tell lies as we will find out and you will loose their trust. Be straightforward and give them the feeling that you are there for them.
August 6th, 2018 2:50pm
What you say to them is much less important than how you listen to them. Bring up the topic as often as you'd like to discuss it. The important thing is to teach them that this isn't taboo. That it is safe to talk about drugs and alcohol with you. Hopefully creating that degree of comfort between you will mean that they come to you for help when they encounter it.