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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Talking to Kids About Drugs

With the current opioid crisis and increasing legalization of marijuana, parents need to talk to their kids about the dangers of drugs more than ever. But how do you get started?

Experts say open, honest and ongoing communication is best and that parents should look for “teachable moments” in daily life. And your kids will listen. According to research, kids want their parents' advice about drugs and children who hear the facts from their parents are significantly less likely to use. 

Here are some tips from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on making drug prevention part of your parenting strategy: 
  • Give the facts. Explain why taking drugs can hurt their health, friends and family and future.
  • Set clear rules and consequences. Rules help kids learn what is safe and what can get them in trouble. Research shows that children are less likely to use tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs if their parents have established a pattern of setting clear rules and consequences for breaking them.
  • Be a part of their lives.  Give your child your full attention. This means putting away your smartphone or computer and really listening. Similarly, make a point to know where your children are and what they’re doing – and get to know your child’s friends and their parents. 
  • Teach your children how to refuse drugs. Kids often do drugs just to fit in with the other kids. Help them practice how to say no if someone offers them drugs. Give some examples: "My mom (or dad) would kill me if I smoked pot," for instance, or "No thanks, I don’t do drugs.”
  • Be a good example for your children. Always try to be a good role model. Your actions speak louder than words. Show them how to deal with stress in a healthy manner and how to care for your mental and physical health. 
  • Make your home safe. Know the people you have in the house and avoid having people who abuse drugs and alcohol there. Lock away any painkillers and keep track of medicines and cleaning products you have in the house.
Did You Do Drugs?
If you choose to tell your kids about your past drug use, here are a few things to keep in mind, according to NIDA:
  • Don't give a lot of details about your past drug use.
  • Point out the problems your drug use might have caused. For instance, are there things you don't remember because you were on drugs? Did drug use keep you from saving money, getting better grades or getting a better job?
  • Talk about how we now know more about the bad effects of drugs, especially how drugs can hurt the developing brain.
  • Tell your kids that you want them to avoid making the same mistakes you made.
  • Be open to responses that your kids may have to your past drug use.
Getting Help for Drug or Alcohol Abuse
The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care that includes medical detox, residential programs for men and women, partial hospitalization, and outpatient programs. If you or a loved one is showing signs of a substance use disorder, call today: 805-202-3440.