When it comes to parent / teen conversations, drugs are likely second to sex on the list of topics you’d like to avoid. Though you may find the subject taboo or awkward to speak about, it is important that the job be done in a calm, educational and positive manner. By taking the time to plan ahead, you can actually make the experience a fun and interactive discussion, providing each party with the confidence and peace of mind they deserve. In this entry, we will outline a few tips and tricks to help you through the conversation.
Step 1 – Ask your teen to put aside some time to speak with you. Tell them that there is something you’ve been meaning to discuss with them, while communicating the fact that they are not in any trouble. Starting the dialog in this manner puts the ball in their court, and will likely peak their interest in the conversation.
Step 2 – Begin by telling your teen about your own encounters with drugs. If you do not have any personal experiences with drugs, you can recall stories of friends or relatives who do… but be discreet. There is not right or wrong in this conversation. By opening yourself up to your child in an honest way, you will likely gain their respect and confidence. Avoid the horror stories and glamour and stick to the facts.
Step 3 – Ask for feedback and find out what they think about your experiences. Opt for open-ended inquiries that will allow them to open up to you about their feelings and thoughts on the matter.
Step 4 – In a calm and loving manner, simply ask your teen about their drug experiences. Make sure to declare the conversation punishment-free and hope for the best. In order to have an open dialog with your teen, they must feel comfortable communicating with you. A swift punishment for admitting to past drug use will only close them off in the future.
Step 5 – Do your best to react with compassion and empathy. If your teen does not have any experience with drugs, commend them for it in a calm and positive fashion. If they do, your reaction should remain composed. Discuss the circumstances behind their usage to find out more about their interest and history.
Step 6 – Get the facts. Going into these types of conversation without a grounded education will only serve in making you appear silly. Treat this situation as you would a business meeting; with preparation and a healthy dose of respect.
Step 7 – Whether or not your teen is taking drugs, it’s important to offer your support. Outline the potential consequences and ways to avoid future use. If you suspect a real problem, it’s important to consider the possibility of treatment. The quicker you can nip the problem, the better chance your teen will have of a healthy future.
If you’re interested in learning more about your teen’s available alcohol and drug treatment options, Above It All is here to help. Give our addiction counselors a call to find out about our drug treatment plans, philosophies, and financing options. Raising a teen is hard enough without the presence of drugs and alcohol. Get the facts and help you deserve today!