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Talking About Drugs and Alcohol with Your Kids

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I am sure that by now you probably know that drugs and alcohol present a menacing threat to your children.

What you may not realize is that that you represent the crucial element in preventing your children from suffering the harm that substance abuse can bring.

Fact is that a healthy talk at home represents the best way of setting your children down the path to a future that is free of alcohol and drug abuse.

Keep in mind that your children are attending sporting events, go to parties, participate in school dances, and more likely than not, the topic of drug or alcohol use is likely to come up. Which is why keeping the communications channels open with your children, is paramount.

If you’re lucky, your children will come to you and ask you about things they see and hear while in school, or out of it. When your child goes to that party or the school dances and realizes that kids are putting vodka in a water bottle, okay that's not something you'd bring up as a parent, that's something your child is going to bring up and you want to keep the doors open for communication when those things happen.

The goal at that point is to get your kids to learn what is appropriate and what is not appropriate for them as it relates to drugs and alcohol. It's not for you to manage their world and the situation. Hopefully, these situations will open the door to a wider conversation.

As a parent, you need to learn how to make conversations on this topic a regular component of your parent-child relationship. After all, teaching your children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol shouldn't be so much an event as a part of your normal conversation. To single out one exchange that makes you feel as though you've "done your duty" misses hundreds of opportunities to reinforce the importance of what you want your child to understand.

You should also be aware of who your kids are hanging out with and watch for changes in behavior if you suspect they may be using. Again, most importantly, keep the lines of communication open.

The reality is that drugs have been around since the beginning of time, and we're not going to stop that, as parents you want your child coming to you when they see something that is inappropriate or if they've had their own drugs or alcohol experience you want your kids coming to you as the source, not their friends.

Something else. In the same way you make deliberate choices each day about routine things, so you need to decide to prepare your children for what they will face in regard to drugs and alcohol. The simple point I want you to remember is that you need to be intentional.

From the moment your children reach an age where they are observing everything around them, interpreting and storing that data for future decisions, you must make a conscious decision to get involved in the lives of your children. Think carefully about the information and values you want to teach your children. Choose to talk to them in ways that will be of help to them later on.

And one last point. If you need resources you can use when planning a conversation with your children, remember that our agency provides many of them on our website. Just go to www.wellspringprevention.org and click on “Help & Information.” And good luck.

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Monday, 10 December 2018

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