Why You Need to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs and Alcohol

If you've ever tried to talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol, you know it can be a challenge. It's one thing to discuss the dangers of substance abuse with other adults and even older teens. When it comes time to talk with your child about drugs or alcohol, the conversation can feel awkward or uncomfortable. Not only do you have to consider their reaction when broaching this subject, but also manage your own emotions around these topics. Take a look at our list of reasons to talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol.

Your kids are already talking to their friends about it

You may be wondering why you should talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol when they're already talking about it with their friends. But have you ever wondered if your child is getting the most accurate information from his peers?

You should know what they're hearing so that you can compare it to what the facts are, which means being part of those conversations. Whether your kids are successful in school or having any troubles, they will be in a situation where one of their friends says something that makes them question whether or not it is true. Having a foundation of knowledge will help them understand how wrong they were.

There's another reason why parents should get involved in this conversation. Many kids don't feel comfortable bringing up topics like drugs and alcohol with their parents, even though we would all prefer not to have secrets between us. If your child brings up these topics with other people but avoids talking about them at home, then he or she may be afraid of disappointing or upsetting you by admitting wrongdoing.

You have more influence over your child's decision than you think.

One of the most effective ways for parents to prevent their children from experimenting with drugs and alcohol is to talk about them before they’re exposed to them. You have more influence over your child’s decision than you think, and the earlier you start talking to them about drugs and alcohol, the better your chances are at preventing use later on. The more frequently you engage in conversations with your children about these issues, the more likely they are to listen when it counts most.

The earlier you start the better

Here’s why you should talk to your kids about these issues early on:

  • The younger they are, the more likely they'll listen.
  • Talking to them early will lower the chances of them experimenting with substances.
  • The younger they are, the more likely it is that your words will stick with them as adults.
  • When you talk to them about drugs and alcohol before they get this information from other people, there’s more chance they’ll believe what you say!

Teenagers are more vulnerable to the effects of drugs and alcohol

Raising a teenager is everything but easy. One of the biggest reasons to talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol is because they are more vulnerable to the effects. Teenagers' brains are still developing, so their brains are more sensitive than adult brains when it comes to drugs and alcohol. This means that one drink could potentially be more intoxicating for a teenager than an adult who drinks the same amount.

Teenagers also have less tolerance for drugs and alcohol than adults, meaning that even small amounts can affect them more strongly. Finally, teenagers are prone to binge drinking – which increases their risk of experiencing negative effects from using drugs or alcohol in large doses at once. They're more likely to abuse substances such as cannabis (marijuana) because they don't yet realize how dangerous these substances can be if abused over time.

Kids need to learn about the risks of drugs and alcohol

It's important to teach your kids that drugs and alcohol are not good for them. You can use fun examples of how you've seen people act when they're under the influence of these substances. Using stories will help your kids understand that it isn't just Hollywood actors or rock stars who have problems with drugs and alcohol, in fact, nearly everyone does at some point in their lives. Addiction recovery experts from Archstone Behavioral Health advise that talking to young people about drug and alcohol abuse is the best way to prevent it.

You can make having these conversations easier

There are many ways to make this conversation easier. Here are a few ways you can do it:

  • Create a safe space for talking. If you feel stressed or anxious about the conversation, it might be helpful to do it in a comfortable place where you will not be interrupted. Be honest but not judgmental. It's important that you share your own experiences with drugs and alcohol so they can see how different people deal with them.
  • Let your child know that there are different ways of having fun. Tell them that they don’t need to use drugs because of peer pressure or curiosity.
  • Be a good listener. Try not to interrupt when they're talking. Instead, listen carefully and try asking questions back like “how did that feel?” or “what do you think would happen if...” This shows interest in what they have to say and helps teach values such as empathy and respect too!

They should hear it from you first

You can’t expect your kids to make good decisions if you don’t give them the tools to do so. It’s important that they hear it from you first, and not just because of the trust factor. Studies suggest that children are more likely to listen when they know their parents care about them.

This is especially true if they already have a relationship with you because it will be easier for them to open up and discuss things as adults rather than strangers. Don't worry if this doesn't feel natural at first. You will have to teach them about safety, even though talking about drugs and alcohol may seem uncomfortable.

Final thoughts…

We know it can be hard to have these conversations. But the more you talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol, the better chance you have of helping them make good decisions and avoid negative situations later on in life. It’s important that they hear it from you first!