Parents never imagine that their child could get mixed up in drug addiction. But it’s because conversations never turn to the dangers of drug abuse that children are more likely to explore those dangerous waters. Despite the millions of dollars and man hours spent trying to keep youth off drugs, the most effective prevention program starts at home. Statistics show that kids whose parents engage them in conversation about drugs are nearly 40 percent less likely to get caught up in abuse.
What Are The Steps To Preventing Teen Drug Abuse?
Some parents have absolutely no experience with illegal drugs, nor do they have first-hand accounts of friends or family who dealt with addiction. These are the parents most likely to skip the conversation.The parents that do have a history of drug use may be afraid or embarrassed that talking about not doing drugs with their child could lead to admitting they have used. Rather than be embarrassed, parents should use their experiences as an educational opportunity to help prevent their kids from turning to drugs.
Tips To Starting The “Drug Abuse” Conversation
The National Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education says that parents who don’t talk about drug abuse simply don’t know what to say or don’t think anything they say will make any kind of impact. Here are some tips to get the conversational ball rolling:
- Lay down the law. All parents set rules, and setting rules about drug use should be no different. Parents need to make it very clear to children that drug use is forbidden in and outside the home.
- Lead by example. Parents who openly abuse their prescription drugs are essentially leading their children to believe it’s okay to do the same.
- Learn about drugs and their risks. Children aren’t always the best at filtering bad facts from good. Parents need to make sure their facts are from a reliable source so that they can convey them with confidence to their children.
- Dispel marijuana myths. Part of the goal of a good conversation about drugs is dispelling myths. Despite the seemingly zero health effects of marijuana in adults, recent studies show that teenagers that use marijuana suffer possible side effects that can affect their health for years to come.
- Role play. Some parents have had success using role playing as a teaching device. Act out scenarios where the child has to say no.
- Talk to school counselors. Parents that talk to counselors can get talking points that will stress the importance of staying clean.