Even as a parent, there are a few things that can be difficult to discuss with your child. Most of the time, the real key is to listen to what they have to say, even if it’s not what you usually expect from them. When you do that, you initiate an honest connection with them, where they can freely talk about their issues and express their feelings. This connection will also create a positive environment at home where everyone can discuss the topics that they feel to share with others without fearing any judgments, especially from the parents.
Talking about drugs with your child, especially in the teen years, can be quite challenging. Your child may hesitate while talking about such a topic. The situation can be different if they’re already consuming drugs as they may not open up about the actual scenario. It can make it even more difficult for the parents to talk about the topic. No one wants their children to start consuming drugs the moment they step outside the door and guiding them doesn’t guarantee that they won’t. No matter how hard it is, parental guidance on drug consumption is a necessity, especially in the teenage as their brains are still in the developing phase. Here are a few tips to follow while having the conversation:
1. Choose a good time and place
Your child mustn’t feel cornered while talking about his issues. Prefer talking at a time which is not stressful for them. Go for a walk or a drive together and speak to them with an open mind. Making them feel comfortable can help in the situation as they would feel important and try to open up to you. To have an engaging conversation with them, stay calm and curious about what they have to say.
2. Explore the reasons for using drugs
If you come to know that your child is already using drugs, try to explore the motivations behind the same. To keep them comfortable, stay calm, and talk to them about how and why they started to use drugs in the first place. It may be something that you’re unaware of, like any underlying struggles that they’re not able to talk to you about yet. Some teens tend to consume drugs to cope with anxiety, depression, relieve stress, or to adjust in the social environment. Curiosity about these reasons can make them feel less judged and convey your interest in knowing more about their lives and the struggles they’re facing.
3. Talk to listen, not to shed wisdom
Don’t cut them off from what they’re saying. Remember - you’re there to listen to them actively, not to lecture them on how dangerous drugs can be. Don’t kill the curiosity, raise it instead, and let them find the answers for themselves. Respond in a way that makes them feel supported and not judged so that they would want to talk more about it by themselves. They’re only in teenage - they don’t know everything just yet. Be patient and always make them feel listened to, and continually remind them that you’ll always be there for them.
4. Know your influence
Parents have the most significant impact on a teen’s life. Getting to know the risks of using drugs, especially from parents, can significantly reduce the chances of them consuming drugs. Instead of merely telling them the consequences all by yourself, leave a little curiosity in their mind. Asking them about how using drugs can affect their future in the long term can get them into thinking about it. Don’t seek an answer for everything - if they’re thinking about it, that’s enough for now.
5. Is there any family history with drug addiction?
Substance disorder can pass down genetically to the next generation. Exposure to drugs at home due to consumption by any of the parents can also be a risk factor for teens to consume drugs. Being honest about the family risk of having a disorder or addiction can keep the child mindful and smart about the choices in the future. It would give your child a reason to avoid using drugs if they try to understand the same from a real-life example.