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Addressing Drug Abuse With Your Children

>> May 9, 2019

By now, your children have probably heard about the opioid epidemic on the news, in school, or from a friend. They may even have a family member fighting addiction. Regardless of whether they have personally been touched by substance abuse, it is important to talk with them about it.

Contrary to the popular, but misguided belief, talking to your children about drugs and alcohol won't make them start using any more than talking about the quadratic formula will guarantee they will become mathematicians. The chances are high that your child has already heard about substance abuse and having the conversation with them lets them know that the doors are open to future conversations about drugs and alcohol.

Keep Things Age Appropriate

While any age is the right age to start talking with your children about substance abuse, the conversation you have will change as your child gets older. From the time your child is a toddler, you can take the time to discuss making healthy choices for your body. Each time you give your child medication to treat an illness, let your child know what the medicine is and why the medicine is taken. If the medication is prescribed, show your child his or her name on the bottle and talk about how only he or she should take this medicine.

As your child enters elementary school, ask your child open-ended questions about what they know about drugs and what things they've heard from their friends or on tv. By starting the discussion and allowing your child ample opportunities to speak and give their opinions, your child will be more willing to continue the discussion as they get older because he or she understands that you're willing to talk about the issue.

By truly listening to your child about drug abuse, you also are teaching your child that you are a safe person to share their concerns with. This makes them more willing to come to you when he or she is facing peer pressure or substance use of their own.

Set Clear Boundaries

As your kids grow into teens, they may face pressure to use drugs or alcohol or they may have friends that use. At this age, your teens need clear and consistent boundaries that reflect your family's values. If you do not want your child involved in any drugs or alcohol, you need to make that clear. Let your child know that you will not allow drinking, smoking, or drug use in your home.

At this age, it is also essential to help your teen develop an emergency plan for if they are offered drugs or alcohol or find themselves in a situation where their friends are drinking or using drugs, especially if they are also driving. When helping your teen develop his or her emergency plan, remind your teen that you are a safe person to come to with concerns. Emphasize that even if it's 3 AM, you promise to pick your teen up if he or she is in a bad situation, no questions asked.

Finally, if your family has already been touched by substance abuse, it's important to emphasize to your child that addiction is treatable. Many rehab facilities today focus on addiction as a disease that impacts the entire family. The best rehab centers in California understand the importance of healing as an entire family and work with people and their family members to move past the damages that addiction has caused.

Simply knowing the signs of substance abuse in your child or teen is not enough to make sure they don't use drugs or alcohol. However, having open, honest, and factual conversations with your child can help him or her know that there is a safe place to turn to when they have questions or need help.

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Welcome to my blog. I'm a home maker, a stay at home wife. I'm just an ordinary woman who has interest in reading, working at home and learning to write. We live in Bogor, Indonesia.
This blog contains articles in family topic.
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