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Five ways to talk to your teenager about drugs

 It is your responsibility as a parent to talk to your child about drugs use and abuse (Photo: Shutterstock)

As unfortunate as it sounds, many young people think taking drugs is cool. We can blame it on different things: influence from celebrities, peers or the rush that comes with doing something forbidden, however, in many instances, if you don’t smoke or drink, you’re likely to be ostracized from the ‘cool’ kids club.

The reality is that drug addiction roots itself at a very young age and there comes a time when a parent must talk to their teen about drugs before it is too late.

Considering how early kids are engaging in drug use and abuse, it is paramount that you as a parent step up.

Here are some guidelines on how you can approach them and lay down the law on drugs. 

Don’t shy away

Don’t wait until it’s too late to have that discussion with your teen. Teenagers are generally curious and they can easily get involved with drugs when they have no real guidance from their parents. So if you’re struggling to have that talk with them, get someone to back you up. Go that extra mile if you need to but never shy away from having that discussion about drugs. You’re the parent so act like one and stop putting too much thought about how your teenager may feel or react because this is a serious matter that cannot be swept down the rug.

Create a good rapport with them 

You’re more likely to have a productive discussion with your teen when the bond between you is secure. They are at that stage in life where they’re seeking independence so they might be a little stubborn when the approach is wrong. You should talk to them without coming across as judging or assuming the worst so they’ll open up and take your advice. Otherwise, the message will enter one ear and leave the other and could even trigger some form of rebellion.

Choose the right location

Talk to them when there are no distractions. They need to see the gravity of the matter and that won’t happen when you allow them to be on their phone or when your attention is shifting between the discussion and the movie you’re watching. This is a life-changing discussion because it will equip them with the right life skills for a productive future. You should give it the seriousness it deserves.

Open-up to them 

The conversation should be about open and honest communication. This can even help you find out what they know already and whether or not they’ve experimented with any drugs at any point. If you’ve had your own experience with drugs in the past, be honest with them but don’t encourage it in any way. They need to have a deeper understanding of the negative impact of taking drugs so that they make wiser decisions.

Check-in occasionally 

Talking to your teen about drugs is not a one-time thing. It’s actually something that needs to be done many times as they grow older. The pre-teen discussion won’t be the same when they’re in their late teens which is why you need to adjust accordingly. You’ll also show that your sentiments still stand as far as drug abuse is concerned.

That said, parents need to warn their kids about drugs from a very young age. Children as young as six are already dealing with addiction which is sad. The worst part of it all is that there are drug peddlers who are willing to sell to children and teenagers. This shows that it’s never too early to have the talk with your kids for their own safety and good.

What ‘old person’ things do you do?

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