Talk to your kids about drugs.
When your kids are young, you are their world. They are learning from the things you say and the things you do. Be a role model and take advantage of this time to give them information they can grow with.
Do not treat them like they are dumb or will not understand. Talk age-appropriate like you would with any other lesson, and they will probably understand. They know more than you think.
Do not avoid tough conversations because you are uncomfortable.
Find teachable moments.
And not all teachable moments have to be about drugs. Talk about making good choices. Maybe it is related to something that happened at school, or maybe it is something at home. Talk about choices and consequences.
Be specific whenever you can. “Drugs are bad” does not mean a lot. “Drugs can alter your brain” does mean something.
As they grow, they will continue to learn from what they see or experience. When they share things, find the lessons. When you listen, when you care, they will share more. Building communication means building a relationship. Before you know it, you will realize you are still their mentor.
Get to know their friends. Their friends will have an incredible impact on their decisions. Their friends will be influential. Offer your house as a meeting spot and meet every friend and offer to meet their parents.
Talk to them as they get older and have more experiences and potentially, knowledge of drug use. Even if you have never said anything before, it is not too late to start. I have spoken to a lot of parents of teenagers who think it is too late to have these conversations.
It is not too late. Start. At least take the first step.
Listening to your kids will go a long way to establishing trust with them. The more they trust you, the more likely they will tell you things and the more opportunities you will have to build a strong bond with them.
Many people turn to drugs to cope, especially when they do not think they have anything or anyone else to turn to. You can be that person for them.
Drug use is not as normal as many will tell you. Not everyone does it. We have been conditioned to think this is somewhat of a rite of passage; something everyone does at some point in their lives, usually in their teenage years. It is not. It is not “normal” to use drugs.
Do not wait until it is too late. Educate yourself now. There are a lot of good resources on the internet, like www.getsmartaboutdrugs.gov, www.justthinktwice.gov, and www.campusdrugprevention.gov.
And finally, do not be afraid to seek professional help. Untreated mental health can lead to drug use. It is ok if your kid needs to talk to a mental health professional. There is no stigma to this, do not let the stigma begin. Stop caring about what your Facebook friends will think.
- Brian Townsend, Eagle 6 Training