1. Talk to your kids early and often about the risks of drugs including addiction, learning problems and impared driving. Encourage school or community groups that can provide a positive impact on your childs life.
2. Even if you are using or have used in the past, you need to think about your childs future and use your past experiances to educate them to make the right decision. Todays drugs are rapidly changing and they are stronger and more dangerous then when you might have used them.
3. Don't ever feel hypocritical! You are a major influence in your childs life and have a responsibility to educate them. Your kids will listen more to you then to someone they hardly know in school.
4. Try to keep the lines of communication open. Talk to teens about what is going on in their lives and remind them that you are always there for them to talk. Do not become a broken record either. Keep a steady pace if they are pushing you away.
5. If you have not talked about drugs with your child then maybe now would be a good time to consider. Here are some conversation starters and tips that may help.
- You may expect that the first talk may be a one way conversation, but try to ask their opinions about drugs or what they think about celebrities using drugs. Keep asking questions and listen to their answers.
- Always stay calm and do not raise your voice.
- Reflect on your past culture with drugs whether you lived in the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's or 90's. You may have lived through many time periods where you saw a lot of negative outcomes due to drugs.
- If you did drugs you may want to say something like: "Everyone makes mistakes and trying drugs was a mistake that I made. It made me do some dumb things and I love you too much to watch you repeat the bad decisions I made." OR "My experiance with drugs is no guarantee that yours will be the same. If I learned anything is that drugs affect everyone differently. Even if drugs didn't ruin my life, I have seen them ruin other's lives and I don't want one of them to be yours."
6. If you learned or susspect your child has started using drugs, intervene quickly and don't be afraid to ask for help. It may be tricky with teens on different signs if you should be worried or not. Some signs that are more frequently associated with drug use may be: - becoming secretive or paranoid - starting to hang out with a new rough crowd of friends - losing interest in activities - frequently asking for money or you notice money is dissapearing - grades start to decrease more than normal.