It's October, and most kids are at least a month into their new school year. With a new school year comes new opportunities to learn and grow. Unfortunately, it can also come with exposure to peer pressure and dangerous matters, including substance use.
Many parents fear talking to their kids about the dangers of substance use because they don't want to scare them. Some parents simply don't know to explain a topic like this to a child. However, putting off this conversation can put your child more at risk of falling into peer pressure and experimenting with something that could hurt them. The good news is that there are ways that you can inform your child about the risks of substance use without causing unnecessary fear.
Why Should I Talk to My Kids About Drugs and Alcohol?
It's never too early to start talking to your kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. This is because the older they get, the more likely they will be exposed to these things. Parents can do everything in their power to protect their children, but dangerous things can still happen, and you want your child to be prepared for them. You want to make sure you have this conversation with your children before the day comes that they are exposed to drugs or alcohol and have to choose whether or not to experiment.
Another reason why you should talk to your kids about drugs or alcohol when they are still young is that there is a lot of misinformation out there. You don't want your child learning about drugs or alcohol from other children who may be misinformed or who have learned from the bad examples of others. You want them to know the truth so that they can be equipped to make good decisions.
How Do I Talk to My Kids About Drugs and Alcohol?
Wait until you feel that your child is at the age where they are capable of understanding the basics of this type of conversation. Then, sit them down and make it clear that what you're about to tell them is very important for their safety and their future. Start by talking about what alcohol is. This is typically the first substance children are exposed to because it is often the most accessible. Explain to them that alcohol is only for adults and that while it may look fun and exciting, it can make them very sick. It can also get them into significant legal trouble and, in some cases, even destroy their future.
You can then discuss some of the most common drugs that children may come across in schools, locker rooms, or social gatherings. Let your child know that these drugs are dangerous. Using just one of these substances could cause significant health problems and even death.
You don't want just to tell your child not to do drugs, as this may raise their curiosity and cause them to want to experiment more. You have to tell them why they should not do drugs. This involves talking about addiction. Let them know that although they may think that trying a drug once will be ok, "just this one time" is all it takes to become addicted. This can destroy their hopes for the future and hold them back from accomplishing their dreams. When you explain to them all that is on the line here, it can deter them from wanting to do anything to jeopardize those things.
How Do I Talk to My Kids About Peer Pressure?
Peer pressure and substance use often go hand in hand, especially when a child enters their teenage years. Help your child understand that peer pressure involves someone trying to force them to do something they don't want to do. They have the power to say "no" and remove themselves from the situation.
Let them know that it's not cool to drink or do drugs, regardless of what others may tell them. Explain to them that they don't have to prove themselves to anyone. You should also remind them that if they are ever in a situation where they are being pressured, they should not be ashamed of coming to you, their teacher, or another trusted adult and explaining what is happening.
Ideally, your child will never drink alcohol or use drugs. However, you also want them to know that if they do become intoxicated, they can call you, and you will come to get them. This is better than your child putting themself in danger by getting behind the wheel.
No matter how much you want to protect your children from the dangers of this world, you always want to prepare them for the future. This is why it is crucial to talk to your children at a young age about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. You don't want them hearing about it from another child who may be misinformed. It is possible to inform them about the risks involved with substance use without scaring them. Simply explain what substance use is and how engaging in it can not only change their lives but adversley affect their future. You'll also want to explain how to say "no" to peer pressure. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, our team at The Ho-Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today to learn more about our range of services.