It might be challenging to talk to your youngster about Peer Pressure, drugs, alcohol, smoking etc. But don’t dismiss these issues. At an early age, children learn about these drugs and are pressured to use them.

If your child is over the age of five, or if he or she begins to inquire, begin discussing drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes with him or her. Here are some tips on how to start talking and how to assist your children to avoid substance abuse.

Start early

Experts recommend that you start talking about drinking, smoking, and doing drugs with your child when he or she is between the ages of 5 and 7 and that you keep the conversation continuing.

Look for teachable moments wherever available. Discuss why family members drink wine with dinner, for example, and what it means to drink responsibly. Alternatively, if your younger child is watching TV and a beer advertisement comes on, address how, while the individuals in the commercial look to be having a wonderful time, consuming too much alcohol might lead to poor judgments. It can potentially lead to you injuring yourself or others. Talking with your child at a young age is especially vital if other members of your family have alcohol or drug issues. Children who come from a household of substance abusers are more likely to become substance abusers themselves.

Continue to discuss drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes with your child as he or she grows older. However, do so in a manner appropriate for your child’s age. Make your point of view clear and repeat it frequently. If you don’t approve of smoking or drinking, make sure your child understands why and how you feel about it. Your youngster must learn that drug usage is never appropriate and that there are no safe street drugs.

Understand the facts

Learn more about how to educate your child. Learn about the most common medicines that children experiment with first:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana (smoking and edibles)
  • Nicotine (cigarettes, e-cigarettes or vaporizers, and chewing tobacco)
  • Inhalants (glue, paint, hair spray, and correction fluid)

The more you understand about drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, the clearer you will be when explaining to your child why he or she should not drink alcohol, use tobacco, or use drugs.

Discuss the following facts:

  • Drunkenness impairs judgment. It can cause people to take risks they would not take if they were sober. Warnings for younger children may include traveling in automobiles with a drunk driver (including, unfortunately, parents). Or being in the presence of violent individuals. Warnings concerning lack of judgment may include the following for preteens and teens:
  • Riding in the company of a drunk driver or driving drunk
  • Having intercourse against their will or prior to their readiness
  • Having unprotected intercourse at any moment, which might result in the transmission of a sexually transmitted illness such as HIV
  • Using drugs in conjunction with alcohol

Loss of inhibition may lead to drug use or the risky habit of sharing needles. Finally, teen females may be beaten when inebriated, while their boyfriends are drunk, or while both are drunk.

  • Marijuana impairs short-term memory. The child’s capacity to function in school is harmed by continued usage during the school years. It might lead to bad academics and problems with social interactions. It’s also against the law. If a youngster is caught, both the child and the parents will face legal consequences.
  • Thousands of young fatalities are caused by alcohol. These fatalities include car accidents, killings, alcohol poisoning, and suicides.
  • Spice and other marijuana substitutes are no safer. In fact, they may pose additional dangers. These alternatives are widely available. They’re even sold in stores as incense. This is not to say they are safe or lawful.
  • Salts for bathing (not to be confused with bathing soaps or perfumes). These are man-made crystalline medications that include trace quantities of stimulants or other psychoactive chemicals. These medications are widely available and may even be sold in retail establishments. They are neither legal nor safe.
  • Nicotine is very addicting, and smoking is harmful to your health. It also stinks up your clothes, breath, and hair. It is also costly. These immediate repercussions may be more persuasive to children than the possibility of future health concerns. However, it never hurts to remind them that smoking causes serious lung illness, cancer, and an increased risk of a heart attack. It causes over 500,000 premature deaths in the United States each year.
  • Inhalants are incredibly harmful and can kill you. Even a single usage might result in asphyxia or cardiac abnormalities. The solvents often breathed harm the liver and other organs. Certain chemicals can raise the chance of developing leukemia. Use can result in long-term (permanent) brain damage.
  • When children or teenagers drink or take drugs, their brains are affected differently than adult brains. This is because the brain is more prone to alterations and harm induced by alcohol and drugs during childhood and adolescence.

How to be helpful

When you bring up substance usage with preteens or adolescents, you may receive a number of answers. If your child is already active in these activities, you may receive replies such as, “You’re making a big deal out of this,” “I’ll quit when I’m older,” and “You did it when you were a kid.” It is critical that you remain cool, be objective, and express the facts. Making threats or losing your cool will not help you in the long run. What will work is as follows:

  • Make your point. Be clear about what you believe regarding drug, alcohol, and cigarette usage. Explain your stance calmly and concisely. For example, “No amount of smoking, drinking, or drug usage is acceptable to me.” Be honest whether you now smoke, drink, or take drugs, or if you have in the past. Explain why you don’t want your kid to make the same mistakes you made.
  • Provide direction. To deal with powerful emotions or feelings, preteens and teenagers may use drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes. Discuss with your teen various ways he or she can cope with emotional pain, stress, or loneliness.
  • Listen. Take note of what your youngster says. Try not to get defensive. Discuss your child’s viewpoints without condemning or blaming him or her. For example, if your child claims that smoking makes him cool, ask him to explain why one person is cooler than another.
  • Describe the message. Discuss the messaging in cigarette and alcohol advertisements with your teen. Describe how businesses utilize marketing to promote their products. Nobody enjoys being duped or deceived.
  • Role-play. A newspaper item about a drunk driving accident or a drug incident at your child’s school might provide a nice opportunity to chat. Pose questions to your teen, such as, “What would you say if someone gave you drugs?” Then assist him or her in coming up with confident, helpful responses.
  • During a crisis, be open and approachable. Make a formal agreement with your adolescent. Include a part noting that if your kid is in a dangerous position, is drunk or high, or is given a ride by someone who is, you will pick him or her up without inquiry. Inform your kid that, while you do not condone drug use, you do not want him or her to take unsafe risks.
  • Limit access to prescription medications and alcohol. Keep drugs and alcohol in safe places.
  • Discuss the usage of social media. Parents disagree on whether their children’s social media use should be restricted or monitored. Talk to your teen about it and come up with a plan that works for your family. According to some research, kids spend an average of 9 hours each day on digital gadgets. They may be unaware of the dangers of peer pressure, predators, mental health hazards, and cyber-bullies who may wreak havoc in their life via social media platforms.
  • Allow your youngster to express their feelings of grief and depression. Substance addiction, depression, and suicide ideation are frequently seen combined. According to the CDC, suicide is the second highest cause of death among teenagers aged 10 to 24. Tell your kid that if they are sad, have suicidal thoughts, or if one of their friends exhibits suicidal thoughts, they may and must talk to you immediately away.

It is critical to be supportive and to communicate openly with your children. This may inspire them to seek you out rather than drugs, alcohol, or smoking. This is one of the most significant gifts you can offer your children as a parent.


Article by

Rose .A. Milani,

Parent Coach and Registered Mental Health Counsellor

Based in Melbourne, Australia

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