Everyone needs to be educated about the dangers of drug abuse and addiction. Talking to your child about this is important at any age. When starting the conversation, here are a few things to remember when you sit down and discuss drug abuse with your child.
Remain Calm and Conversational, Not Angry and Authoritative
In some cases, talking to your child about drug abuse can be a cause of frustration and ignite tempers. Maintaining a level-headed demeanor during this time is more likely to produce an honest, meaningful rapport with your child. Show your child that you support them and want the best for them – not that you’re “out to get them.” Forcing guilt can cause a child to withdraw and not want to come to you when they have a problem. Asking open, non-accusatory questions like “How can I help you with this?” will help your child not feel like they’re under attack. Also, remember to actively listen to what your child is saying to ensure that you’re encouraging a dialogue instead of a monologue.
Be Mindful of Punishments You Use
If you don’t know how you’d react to your child abusing drugs, you may want to think about what consequences you’d initiate before speaking to your child. You may want to consider not doling out any punishments at all in order to facilitate a trusting environment. Establishing a punishment-free zone could help your child feel safe enough to tell you any experiences with drugs they’ve come into contact with. Is simply taking a phone away going to actually solve anything? Probably not. Talking directly about drugs and their dangerous possibilities will likely work more efficiently.
Show Your Child How Drug Abuse Is Not In Their Best Interest
To really connect with your child about the dangers of drug abuse, you need demonstrate that it’s really in their best interest to avoid drugs, not just yours. Your child deserves real answers, especially as they get closer to becoming young adults. “Because I said so” won’t be very effective as your child ages and requires more logical responses. Ask them what their goals are in life and demonstrate to them how those goals will be unattainable with drugs. Present your child with healthy alternatives to drugs that are in-line with their current interests. This can include activities such as sports, clubs or volunteering. Also, describe the legal ramifications involved with drug abuse and how this can prevent them from future opportunities in life. Discussions like these have the potential for your child to better comprehend what they’re responsible for and build maturity.
If you’re concerned about your child and drug abuse, KVC Kentucky provides in-home, family-based treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.