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A resource to start the conversation
about drug use and abuse.
Advice for Parents

.::: Tips for Talking to Your Kids

Talking to your kids:

Knowing your child's friends:

  • Makes your opinions crystal clear.
  • Shows them you are paying attention to what they're doing.

When to start talking

Having the "drug talk" with young children can seem scary and way too early.

But with some kids starting to drink by Grade 6 it's important to start talking early and keep talking.

Even if you don't use or believe in using alcohol and drugs, sooner or later your child will be offered some of these substances. Talking often about the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol will prepare your children before they're faced with making a decision.

Best advice:

Use these modern methods plus good, old-fashioned phone or face-to-face conversations to trust your kids are where they say they are.

Focusing on safety can make the discussion a lot easier.

Keep talking: they're listening

Some kids tell their parents everything. Others keep information and opinions to themselves.

Talk to your children, even if they don't always respond. Just because they're not talking doesn't mean they're not listening.

Mealtimes and other opportunities to talk

Many families' schedules are very busy, making it hard to eat together every day. But more and more studies show that when families share mealtimes, kids are less likely to use drugs.

  • Eat meals as a family whenever you can. Use this time to talk about experiences and opinions.
  • Concentrate on eating and communicating during mealtime resist the urge to watch TV, answer the phone or respond to text messages.
  • Reserve at least one evening a week for a family meal.

Also take advantage of other opportunities to talk, such as driving to soccer practice, watching TV, or shopping for school supplies.

Praise and encourage

Encourage your children to stand up to peer pressure, be kind and caring and communicate well.

When they make a good choice, are kind and considerate or behave well, praise them in different ways.

If you're disappointed by a poor choice or action:

  • Assure them that you know they can make good decisions.
  • Keep your high expectations.

Cell phones, e-mail and texting: pros and cons

For many kids, cell phones, e-mail and texting is the preferred way to communicate.

E-mail and texting:

  • Makes checking in easier and less embarrassing for kids because they don't have to make a big deal of calling home.
  • Is an easy way for parents and kids to contact each other.

Keep in mind, however, that sometimes kids don't want you to know exactly where they are, or they think they can handle anything that comes their way.

Cell phones, e-mail and texting make it easy for kids to say they're in one place when they're really somewhere else.

You can't:

  • Be sure your kids are where they say they are.
  • Read the signals or clues that something is going on, such as body language or a different tone in your child's voice.

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Revised: April 22, 2016

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