Back to school means shopping for supplies, clothes, new shoes and preparing kids for the upcoming year. New classes, new sports teams and new friends are some of the exciting “news” that arrive every fall. Unfortunately, there are also new opportunities for kids to be exposed to drugs.
Thousands of kids experiment with drugs for the first time each year, and the start of a new school year can be a strategic time to talk to them about this topic. This can be an awkward discussion for some parents, and the following recommendations may make talking about this subject easier.
1. Timing Is Everything — Look for opportunities to discuss this topic. This may be on the drive to or from school, or during family mealtime. If there are drug-related events in the news, it can be a great conversation starter.
2. Provide Age-Appropriate Information — For smaller children, “cigarettes are icky” may be adequate information. Pre-teens and teens may require more detailed information. They are also able to understand that reasons to not do drugs may include that drugs are illegal and can make you sick. High school kids who are able to think about the future may choose to avoid drugs because they want to go to college and be successful and know that drugs may have a negative impact on this.
3. Practice What You Preach — It is helpful to have a family stance on drugs and set a good example for young people. Talking about avoiding alcohol (or responsible alcohol use for teens approaching young adulthood) can be pointless if dad is lecturing them on it while driving down the road while drinking a beer.
4. Know Where To Go For More Information — There are many helpful websites which include more information about talking to kids about drugs. Resources like the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can help you and your children learn more about drug and alcohol use and the negative effects that substance abuse can have on someone’s life.
Although talking to kids about drugs may not always be something that parents want to think about, it is much easier to have the conversation before kids gather information from other sources. Providing open information and a safe environment to ask questions can be one of the most effective strategies that parents have in helping their children achieve a substance-free life.
For those looking to achieve a substance-free life for themselves, there are many drug and alcohol treatment facilities that can help. Landmark Recovery is one drug and alcohol rehab in Carmel that has a staff that is dedicated to providing patients with the tools and knowledge that they need to achieve long-term sobriety.
You can learn more about what Landmark Recovery can offer you or your loved one by visiting our website and speaking with a member of our admissions team.
About The Author
Today’s Clinical Column was written by Dr. Sarah Johnson. Dr. Johnson is the medical director at Landmark Recovery. She graduated from the University of Louisville School of Medicine and has worked in the recovery field for nearly half a decade.