Your child will, unfortunately, be exposed to drugs at some stage throughout their life and it seems that this.
is happening to children younger and younger. So how can parents help support their child to have the strength and courage to make their own informed and hopefully right decisions?
Here are a few tips to help you navigate, what can be, a very tough subject:
1. Listen to your child
When your child is sharing with you about drug use, try not to interrupt them. Let them say what it is they wish to discuss about the matter. Interrupting them may cause them to close up and shut the door to further communication.
2. Always remain calm
Getting angry when talking with your child about drug use may discourage them from talking with you further on the subject.
3. Talk with them, not to them
Moments will arise though discussions with family and friends in which you can talk about drug use. Show your child that you are interested and encourage them to share any concerns they may have regarding the issue.
4. Encourage your child to form healthy support group within the community
For example, church youth groups and sporting activities may help your child’s self esteem and provide healthy peer support.
5. Be apart of your child’s life
Ensure that you know where they are ‘hanging-out’ and who they are with. Get to know your child’s friends and their parents – as they will likely supervise your child at one point or another.
6. Live your life by example
Never underestimate the influence your behaviour can have on your child.
7. Seek out information for yourself
Do some research by contacting Teen Challenge and other drug information services in your area of the ‘facts’ on drug use.
8. Establish clear boundaries with your child
Encourage their involvement in this process. Once you have established ground rules, ensure your child knows the consequences of breaking them.
9. Encourage and praise good choices in which your child makes
For example, left a teenage party due to being offered alcohol.
Remember it is ultimately your child’s choice as to whether or not they use drugs. It can be devastating when a parent discovers that his/her child is experimenting with or using drugs. There is help available for you as well as your child.