How To Talk to Your Teen About Drugs and Alcohol
By Space Coast Daily // September 29, 2023
Drugs and alcohol can be quite dangerous, especially to the developing mind of a young teenager.
They may want to experience the thrill of trying certain substances, but it’s up to you to speak to them about it in a way that isn’t going to make them feel like they’re being attacked. Before you go with your gut instincts, here are some things to consider when speaking to teenagers about using drugs and alcohol.
Have Goals For The Conversation
No parent looks forward to the day when they have to help their child in the process of detoxing from heroin. That’s why you should know how to start the conversation before it happens. Think about what you’d like to achieve before you have the conversation. Do you want to express your concerns and offer some support? Do you want to understand how your teenager feels about drugs and alcohol? Going in blind will not lead the conversation in a good direction.
Finding the Right Place And Time
You should pick a place where you can both feel comfortable about having a conversation about sensitive topics. Being out in public might not be the best as emotions can get high. You should also pick a time when you are both free to talk about things. Keep in mind that the conversation doesn’t need to be rushed; if things start to get uncomfortable, you can always come back to it another day.
Engage in Active Listening
When approaching the conversation, be casual about it. You should also take note of your body language and that of your teenager so that you know how to better approach things. Listen openly without judgment when you ask your teen a question and don’t interrupt them. Your teenager is more likely to be open to conversations with you if they feel respected and understood. Allow your teenager to ask any questions they may have so that it’s more of a two-sided conversation than a lecture.
Keep An Open Mind
The best thing you can do is to remain open, calm, and positive. If your teenager admits to you that they’ve used drugs and/or alcohol, try to understand the reasons why instead of giving a lecture. If you have a history of drug or alcohol use, then you should be honest with them about that too, and answer all of their questions honestly.
Gather The Facts
It would help to do your research about certain drugs or alcohol beforehand so that you know what information you can provide to your children. This helps you to ground the conversation in facts instead of giving in to your emotions. Ensure that the conversation is age-appropriate too so that you’re not divulging information that your child doesn’t understand.
At the end of the conversation, be sure to remind your teenager about the laws surrounding drugs and alcohol, as well as explain that some drugs they might take could be deadly since they might not be exactly sure of what they’re taking. Speak to a counselor or a therapist if you still need further help talking to your teen about drugs or alcohol.