Studies have indicated that some children are already abusing drugs and alcohol as early as ages 12 and 13. This can be very scary as a parent, especially if you haven’t opened up a conversation with your child about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
But, if you suspect that your child may be abusing drugs or alcohol, what can you do?
It is crucially important for you to talk with them about it, but that can be easier said than done.
Here, we’ll break down some of the most important steps to discussing drugs and alcohol with your child, no matter what their situation may be.
Start the Conversation Early
As mentioned, children can get involved in drugs and alcohol as early as 12 years old (and sometimes even younger), so it’s important to start a dialogue as early as possible. It’s always better to start talking to your child about this topic before they are exposed to drugs and alcohol rather than after the fact.
If you suspect your child may already be abusing drugs and alcohol, it’s important to address the issue sooner rather than later. Not talking about alcohol and other drugs can send the wrong message to your children.
Address Issues Calmly and Directly
Once you decide to address the issue of drugs and alcohol with your child, it is important to start the conversation in a calm and direct way. You should be prepared to get a strong reaction, but that does not mean you need to mirror that emotional energy.
Lead with empathy in your conversations. After all, as a parent, what’s most important is the health and wellbeing of your child. Be specific in your language, especially if you suspect your child may be abusing drugs or alcohol.
What made you think this in the first place?
Be Prepared With Resources
Unless you are a licensed drug and alcohol counselor, you probably do not have all the resources necessary to help address addiction and abuse with your child. It’s important to have some resources available to aid in your discussion.
There are tons of helpful articles and studies out there that can help you to better understand drug and alcohol abuse in young people. You might even consider checking out drug and alcohol evaluations and treatment facilities near you.
Opening a Dialogue About Drugs and Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol can be a scary topic to talk about with your children, but doing so is important. Whether your child has never been exposed to discussions of drugs and alcohol, or you suspect that they may be abusing substances themselves, it is never too late or too early to make your stance on the topic heard.
At the end of the day, we want what’s best for our children. Opening up a dialogue about drugs and alcohol can help you to achieve that and create a healthy relationship between the two of you.
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