One of the most important things you can do for your child is talk to them. Constant open communication leads to building trust. There is also an increased chance they will come to you for help.
Talking About Drugs
One of the important discussions that you should have with your child is about drugs and alcohol. It may be hard or awkward but a necessary conversation. A rule of thumb is to never just assume your child already knows the dangers of using and what leads to substance abuse.
It’s best to start the conversation early, be mindful of age-appropriate information. Note that prescription medication can also be dangerous. Also why it should only be taken under doctor supervision.
Specificity is Key
When having these types of rules it’s best to be specific not vague. You want to give them all the facts, lay them all out in front of them. If they ask you questions and you don’t know the answer, take the time to learn it together to build an understanding of substance abuse.
Rinse and Repeat
Remember this conversation is a two-way street. The more comfortable your child is asking questions the more likely they will seek out your advice. This is not and should not be a “one-time” conversation. No, the topic must come up periodically throughout the years as your child grows up.
If you are asked about your past/present transgressions it is important not to lie. The truth will build further trust between parent and child. Discuss the role of peer pressure and practice with your child how to firmly, confidently, nonchalantly say no.
If there is a history of substance abuse in the family let your child know. Due to this history, they may be even more susceptible to falling into abusive/dependent behavior. It is important to emphasize the negative consequences that come with drug and or alcohol abuse.
State openly and often that there will be consequences if they ever take part in any substance use. If caught using address it immediately, allow them to explain themselves. This is the best way to understand why it happened but note there is no excuse that can prevent discipline.
Take time to research the newest methods that substances are being consumed. Pay close attention to the new street names and popular designer drugs. Stay in constant communication with your child about their mental health and remember to say I love you. It is vital that they know you are there to help them.