This post brought to you by National Institute on Drug Abuse. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Crystal and Comp.
Teens are faced with so many struggles these days. When I think about the differences in growing up now and growing up during my own childhood I am bombarded with worry. Kids are so exposed these days. They encounter so much more at different ages of their lives that I can not even imagine from my own childhood.
Drugs and drug addiction are often times subjects in which parents and kids do not relate on. It seems like the conversations we are faced with as parents are so difficult and challenging, and searching for a starting point is a must. As a mom or dad we often think our kids are strong, wise, and would never give into peer pressure. However, that is part of our own fear of the situation.
These days we have to SHATTER THE MYTHS that teens are exposed to concerning drugs. This is a real problem and the best way to solve this is to create conversation and awareness. As parents we need to also become in tune with myths surrounding drugs. Teens are hearing all kinds of things and being faced with the pressures of experimenting from friends, television, and the internet. The struggle is real!
Lets face it. Our teens are not going to strike up conversation willingly. They are afraid of judgment and questions put into place by us. Are you looking for help in starting a conversation with your kids about drugs? Are you worried about your child becoming involved in drugs or want to provide some clarity about the subject?
How to Talk To Your Teen About Drugs
1. Approach the conversation as someone who is willing to educate and not judge. Your child is gonna go on lock down if they feel you may be judging their thoughts or feelings. Providing and keeping an open dialogue is highly important for the conversation to remain comfortable.
2. Use open-ended questions. This really helps encourage your child to share their own thoughts or maybe even experiences or pressures they may be having with drugs.
3. Relate the topic with peer pressure. Teens are faced with the concept that “fitting in” means you have to do what your friends are doing. This is certainly another myth! Explain to your child that you do not have to do drugs or drink alcohol to fit in.
4. Talk about the consequences of drug use. Of course the health effects of everything from drugs to alcohol are drastic. Tell your kids the dirty truth including the physical and mental changes that occur from using drugs and the risk of overdose and death.
5. Discuss the probability of addiction. Using or trying drugs is certainly dangerous. It is important for your child to understand that oftentimes “just trying” is not what the situation boils down to. Many people who “just try drugs” develop an addiction to the substances.
Marijuana is a highly popular drug among teens these days. Sharing some specifics about marijuana is a great way to break the ice. Check out some of these interesting drug and alcohol facts surrounding things like marijuana use in teens provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
- It is an addictive substance.
- 17% of kids who use marijuana develop an addiction.
- Judgment, concentration, and reaction time are all impaired by its use.
- A typical IQ decreases by 8 points by mid adulthood from using marijuana.
Check out this awesome printable to share with your kids! With this you can take notes, share ideas, and even print it multiple times to continue talking to your kids about drugs and drug abuse.
National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM (NDAFW) is a really great observance that brings together teens, parents, and experts in efforts to SHATTER THE MYTHS and create awareness about drugs and drug abuse. NDAFW will be held January 25-31, 2016, and is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), both part of the National Institutes of Health. The events created as a part of NDAFW are considered a safe haven for teens and others to ask questions without worry and fear.
One of the key resources for NDAFW is the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge which is a 12-question multiple choice quiz that teens and adults can take to test their knowledge about drugs. Parents can take the IQ Challenge and use the results to start a conversation with their teen about drugs and alcohol.
So remember you are the greatest influence for your children to conquer the fight against drugs. Take the IQ Challenge, educate yourself about what your teen may be facing, become aware of National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week and get involved in conversation!