As a parent or caregiver, you know that talking to your teens about drug use can be tricky. Promoting zero tolerance and the health consequences associated with using drugs is key.
Consider these four do's and don'ts for talking to your teens about drugs, and then get the conversation started:
- DO explain the dangers using language they understand.
DON'T react in anger -- even if your child makes a statement that shocks you.
- DO explain why you do not want them to use drugs.
For example, explain that drugs can mess up their concentration, memory, and motor skills and can lead to poor grades.
DON'T expect all conversations with your children to be perfect. They won't be.
- DO be there when your child wants to talk, no matter the time of day or night or other demands on your time.
DON'T assume your kids know how to handle temptation. In fact, you may want to consider role-playing with your teen to educate them about real-life risks and alternatives to temptations so they can make healthy decisions.
- DO praise your children when they deserve it. This builds their self-esteem and makes them naturally feel good.
DON'T make stuff up. If your child asks a question you can't answer, promise to find the answer so you can learn together. Then follow up.