Connect & Protect: Talking to Your Child About Drugs and Alcohol

teens and substance abuse, talking to teens about drugs and alcohol, parent resourcesWe understand that it’s scary to think about the extremely widespread use of drugs and alcohol among today’s adolescents. As experts in the substance abuse treatment field, we can tell you not to be lulled into thinking it can’t happen to your child. The fact is a wide variety of drugs and alcohol is available to your child if he or she wants them.

Conversations are one of the most powerful tools parents can use to combat a child’s drug and alcohol use. The truth is adolescents do listen to their parents when it comes to drinking and smoking, particularly if the messages are conveyed consistently and with authority. In fact, research suggests the majority of teens – around 80% – feel parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol.*

Keys to Driving Meaningful Conversations with Your Kids
Click to View Gateway's Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families

Click to View Gateway’s Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families

Figuring out how to approach the issue with your kids can be tough. Realize this issue cannot be adequately addressed in a “one-and-done” talk, instead it’s an on-going conversation you will revisit and reinforce many times over the years. Consider these helpful tips:

  • When you talk with your child about drinking and drug use, listen and respect what he or she has to say. If your child feels judged they are less likely to turn to you with concerns.
  • Make your expectations of no drinking or drug use clear to your child, and let them know you will enforce those expectations.
  • Teach your child about the dangers of drinking and drug use. Discuss laws, potential repercussions and health-related outcomes.

For more information on teens and substance abuse, click to view our Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families.

      *National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Parenting to Prevent Childhood Alcohol Use.

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/adolescentflyer/adolFlyer.pdf. July 2013

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