When it comes to drugs and alcohol, the parent/child discussion is not one to be taken lightly. Rather, the “talk” should serve as an opportunity to create and support ongoing dialogue between both parties to ensure enhanced communication, trust and respect. In this entry, we will discuss some tips and tricks to utilize when confronting the topic.
1 – Clarity is key. Make certain that your child understands the importance of the discussion at hand, and that they, under no circumstance, are permitted to use drugs or alcohol. Avoid leaving any room for misinterpretation. Teenagers are crafty devils…
2 – Revisit the discussion regularly. Talk about the dangers associated with alcohol and drug abuse at the dinner table, during family outings, and whenever else the opportunity presents itself. Avoid forcing the topic, with an emphasis on casual conversation. Nobody likes to be bombarded with unwarranted lecture.
3 – Listen! Ask questions, and encourage the same. Paraphrase the ideas that your teen conveys to you, and follow up on topics that may pose more serious issues. The more available you make yourself, the more comfortable your child will be discussing these topics in an honest and proactive manner.
4 – Be honest! Many parents who have dabbled with drugs and alcohol in the past attempt to hide their indiscretions. In doing so, they risk diminished credibility in the eyes of their children if and when the truth comes out.
5 – Do NOT react to your child with anger or hostility. If your teen provides information that challenges or upsets you, it’s in your best interest to keep calm. Yelling or punishment will only serve to hinder further discussion. Use the opportunity instead to connect with your teen in a positive and supportive manner.