It’s never too early to discuss the use of drugs with your child. Even from teaching them healthy habits from ages 2–4, you can help prevent future drug abuse. Talking with your child can be as simple as a conversation at dinner. Addressing the issue can be difficult, but the main goal of the conversation is to limit the possibility your child will use drugs or reduce their drug use if they are currently doing so.
- Discuss the importance of only taking the number of vitamins you give them. You can tell them that taking too many vitamins is unhealthy and can hurt their tummy.
- Keep all medications out of their reach.
- Talk to your child about how the medicine in your home should be taken only if it has their name on it. Tell them that medicine should be taken only if the doctor prescribes it to them. Also tell them they should take it only when an adult is present.
- Remember to keep all medications out of their reach.
- These ages are during the middle school transition, which is when most children are first offered drugs. Talk to them about the importance of saying “no,” and help teach them good ways to say “no.” One example would be to respond to an offer by saying, “No, my mom wouldn’t let me play basketball if she found out I took drugs.”
- Talk to your teen about the importance of making good friends who make good choices. Remind them the importance of not using drugs. Also ask them about school and how their classes are going. It never hurts to use sarcasm and make them laugh, so they feel more comfortable being open with you.
- Discuss different ways they can say “no.” Talk to your child about how you love them and you would do anything for them. Also remind them that everyone makes mistakes, and they should never be afraid to turn to you if they’re in a sticky situation, because you won’t freak out, you’ll help them.
For more facts and tips about talking to your child, visit drugfree.org/the-parent-toolkit.
(All information drawn from Partnership for Drug-Free Kids at www.drugfree.org.)