The subject of drug addiction can be a tricky one for parents to discuss. You may worry about lecturing your kids or making them feel uncomfortable. However, it’s important to educate them from a young age about how addiction can impact their own life, as well as others around them. Maybe you have played out the conversation numerous times in your head but just can’t think of the right words to say, or perhaps you’re struggling to make the discussion age-appropriate?
If you’re unsure about how to raise the conversation with your children, here’s how you can do so with ease.
Before the age of 10
You may think that talking to your child about drug addiction below the age of ten is far early, but you don’t have to be too direct about the matter to get the point across. Rather, some gentle hints at the subject are all that’s needed at this stage.
As you may well know, when little ones want something, they want it now, even if they’re fully aware it’s wrong. Although it’s common for your child to have these thoughts, you could alert them that adults also have the same cravings but have learnt to say no for their own health and wellbeing. If your child has ever been affected by a family member with a drug addiction, raising this conversation at the first opportunity is even more crucial for their personal development.
Once your kid has started secondary school, they’ll probably be surrounded by discussions about drugs but with little awareness that addiction can occur if the substance is abused. It would be wise to talk to your ‘tween’ directly about addiction without coming across too informative or lecturing, as they’re likely to switch off or get defensive. If your child has noticed any drug-related events that are likely to have stuck in their mind, tie in these instances to make the conversation more relatable.
If your child is at teenage age, now would definitely be the time to hit the nail on the head and give an in-depth talk about the consequences of drug addiction. Without the correct knowledge being communicated to them, they may be at risk of giving in to peer pressure which will lead to a downward spiral. Of course, some teens will use addiction to rebel, while others seek comfort from substances to take them to a happier place if they’re struggling mentally. If you think your teen is suffering from addiction, it would be wise to seek the assistance of a professional institution. You can see here for more information on where to go if you believe your child’s addiction is out of your hands.
In order to give your child the best insight into the dangers of drug addiction, do a little bit of research before you approach the subject and work together as a family on how you can structure conversations to make them age-appropriate. Being too lax may become a serious regret in future, so be sure to talk openly about addiction in your household and be clear that you’re always willing to listen to your child’s worries, fears or questions about drugs.