Project 6

How do I talk to my children about drugs?

How do I talk to my children about drugs?

How do I talk to my children about drugs?

The issue of drugs can be very confusing to young children. It is important to be open and honest with them and try to answer any questions they make have. Here are some suggestions to help:

Create a safe space

Building an environment of trust with your children is an essential first step to being able to talk to them about difficult subjects. It’s important to pick your moment carefully and ensure there are no distractions.

Don’t judge

In order for your children to feel comfortable coming to you to discuss problems they need to not feel judged. Take a deep breath and a moment to think about what you’re going to say before you say it. Your reaction to something they tell you can be the difference between them coming to you with problems and trying to hide them.

Listen carefully

Listening is a really important skill to have when you’re talking to your children about drugs. It helps them to feel safe and respected. In order to ensure you understand what they’re saying it is useful to use reflection – repeat back to them what they are saying. For example “It seems you are saying....”. They can then confirm that you are both on subject.

Provide age-appropriate information

Make sure the information that you offer fits the child’s age and stage. A 6 or 7 year old does not need to know what different drugs look like but a 14 year old may do. Research things together, the internet can be a really useful source of information and by educating yourselves together it can generate some good information.

Be a good example

Children will do what you do much more readily than what you say. So try not to reach for a beer the minute you come home after a tough day; it sends the message that drinking is the best way to unwind. Your behaviour needs to reflect your beliefs.

Discuss what makes a good friend

Peer pressure is factor in whether children try alcohol and drugs. It is useful to talk with your children about what makes a good friend. Encouraging skills like sharing and cooperation—and strong involvement in fun, sports and activities such as scouts or guides will help your children make and maintain good friendships as they mature and increase the chance that they’ll remain drug-free.

Build self-esteem

Children who feel good about themselves are less likely to use substances. As a parent it is important that you offer praise, criticise constructively, spend one to one time with them and tell them you love them.

Have more than one conversation

It is important to speak to your children more than once about drugs. Be open to their questions and if you don’t know an answer, don’t be afraid to say so. Look it up together.

Seek Help

If you’re concerned your child is using substances the first thing to do is to speak to them. Be supportive, non judgemental and show empathy. There are lots of organisations out there that can help you and your children deal with the affects that substance use can have on the family.

Useful Websites

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