Talking with your children about drug and alcohol abuse isn't easy, but having a solid plan will deliver your message with more impact.
News 2 has compiled resources from experts on the best way to speak with children of any age about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
Timetotalk.org has a "Talk Kit" for parents. They provide scenarios for how to have the talk with kids in preschool, grade school, middle school, high school, and even young adults 18-25.
Talking with preschool and grade school age children. Take a lesson from parenting expert, Jen Singer, when your preschooler or grade school age child sees an adult smoking. Here's what to say, "Grown ups can make their own decisions and sometimes those decisions aren't the best for their bodies. Sometimes, when someone starts smoking, his or her body feels like it has to have cigarettes-even though it's not healthy. And that makes it harder for him or her to quit."
Talking with your high school teenager. If your teen is starting high school their chances of exposure to drugs and alcohol increases. Here's how you can help prepare them for risky situations, "You must be so excited about starting high school... it's going to be a ton of fun, and we want you to have a great time. But we also know there's going to be some pressure to start drinking, smoking pot or taking other drugs. A lot of people feel like this is just what high school kids do. But not all high school kids drink! Many don't, which means it won't make you weird to choose not to drink, either. You can still have a lot of fun if you don't drink.
You'll have a lot of decisions to make about what you want to do in high school and you might even make some mistakes. Just know that you can talk to us about anything - even if you DO make a mistake. We won't freak out. We want you to count on us to help you make smart decisions and stay safe, okay?"
Talking with young adults. Young adults 18-25 are at an age where they can make decisions on their own, but even though they may be legally allowed to drink alcohol or smoke tobacco, they can also use some positive encouragement to be safe. When your son or daughter is moving into an apartment or college dorm for the first time, tell them, "I know you're off to start your own life but please know that I'm always here for you. I respect that you're old enough to make your own choices, but if you ever want another perspective on things, give a shout. I'll try my hardest to help you out without judging you for your decisions. Sound good?"
Amelia Arria, senior research scientist at the Treatment Research Institute, also suggests, "There are certain things that you can count on in life and one of the things you're going to be able to count on is me. As your parent, I am always here for you. Remember, I am your support. I'm the one who can guide you."
Timetotalk.org has more scenarios and other great advice in their "Talk Kit" including: Five Teachable Moments, How To Teach Kids To Turn Down Drugs, Answering the Question "Did You Do Drugs?", How Other Adults Can Help. You can download the kit at timetotalk.org.
Timetoact.drugfree.org is a great interactive guide to help you take the next step when you know or suspect that your teen may be using drugs and alcohol.
Timetogethelp.drugfree.org connects you with experts and other parents who are currently helping their child cope with drugs and alcohol abuse. You can also access a range of e-books and other literature to help you prepare for this important talk with your kids.