Talking about Drugs

How do I talk to my teenager about drugs?

Talking to your teen about alcohol and other drugs can be challenging and it's often hard to know where to start. Keep in mind that the "drug talk" is not just one talk but an ongoing conversation. Here are ten tips to help you:

  • THINK first and talk second. Don't get too emotional and keep an open mind. Give your teen information that is meaningful and balanced, without the drama.
  • KNOW what you are talking about by getting real and up-to-date facts about alcohol and other drugs that your teen may run into. Share this information with your teen by focusing on how drug use affects brain development, sports performance, health and appearance.
  • TALK often. Many "mini-conversations" about drugs are better than long boring lectures. Take advantage of "teachable moments" and keep the conversation positive and upbeat.
  • LISTEN to your teen so they know you care about what they have to say and respecting their opinion. It should be a two-way conversation because the more you listen, the more likely your teen will open up to you.
  • RULES and limits are important so work with your teen to set them and be clear about what will happen if they are not followed. Don't be afraid to enforce them, but be consistent.
  • UNDERSTAND by looking at life through your teens eyes and help them make sense of what they see around them.
  • ENCOURAGE your teen to ask the questions they are afraid or embarrassed to ask and to make good decisions by standing up to peer pressure without the use of scare tactics.
  • TRUST is a must. Make sure that your teen trusts you won't judge them so they are comfortable asking for your opinion on the pressure to use alcohol and other drugs.
  • SHARE your own stories. Let your child know that it is ok to have problems and make mistakes.
  • SHOW your teen that you make good choices in your daily life or they may not take your concerns about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs seriously.