You may or may not know that parents who talk to their children about the dangers of using drugs give their children a much better chance to say no when they are faced with peer pressure. In fact, cutting loose on the drug talk and telling it like it is will place your child where he or she is at least 50% less likely to experiment with illicit substances.
So, how and when do you begin talking to them about this difficult subject? You can take a lesson from the D.A.R.E. program which is a drug abuse awareness presentation used by police departments across the nation. They start teaching kids about drug dangers starting in the 5th grade. This is logical because it prepares 11 year-old children for their middle school experience the following year, where many unsuspecting kids get suckered into peer pressure and start using drugs.
Start by asking them if they know anything about the dangers of drugs. Sometimes, you’d be surprised at how well-versed they actually are on the subject! Tell them it’s important for them to be aware of drug activity occurring in their school as well as in the neighborhood and explain to them why people resort to using them.
Explain how addictive drugs can be and how it can easily ruin someone’s life forever. Give examples of people you know of whom have used illicit drugs and the consequences for their actions whether it be going to prison, becoming an addict, losing their job, hurting their loved ones, etc. The point is to be truthful and direct so they can see and almost feel the impact it would have on their lives as well a their family members and friends.
Tell them they need to be prepared for possible peer pressure and express how comforting it is to know you are certain they will make good decisions when the moment of truth arrives in the form of someone offering them drugs. A child needs reassurance as well as trust and support from a parent; they want to feel mature enough where they can do the thinking for themselves.
Make your children understand how everything they do now will shape their future down the road. If they arrested for a felony drug possession, even though in many states they can expunge their criminal record by the age of 18-19, there is a possibility that the blemish will stay on their record throughout their lives!
Explain to them what types of drugs are floating around in schools and in neighborhoods so they don’t get caught by surprise, causing them to make a bad decision. This one’s a touchy subject because many parents feel if you demonstrate what kinds of drugs there are out there, it will give their children ideas and potentially be detrimental to them. However, if your child is educated on what to avoid, you are giving your kid the best chance to stay clean and not fall into the drug trap.