As a parent, one of your biggest jobs is to ensure that once you’re children leave your home, they’re able to lead happy, healthy, productive lives. But for some teens, the temptation to do things like drink or experiment with drugs at a young age could set them up for a life of addiction.
Luckily, if you’re ready and willing, you can help your children learn about addiction and hopefully steer them away from these types of destructive behaviors. To help you in accomplishing this, here are three tips for talking to your kids about addiction.
Start Earlier Than You Think You Need To
When teaching your kids important principles like how to keep themselves healthy, it’s important that you start speaking with them about these things from a very early age.
According to Lauren Cox, a contributor to LiveScience.com, the earlier you’re able to start speaking with your kids about what’s expected of them regarding their behavior toward addictive substances, the easier it will be for you to help steer them toward prevention. If you wait until your kids have already been exposed to things like drugs or alcohol, you might find yourself fighting an uphill battle.
From elementary school, starting having open conversations with your kids about what addiction is, what are some of the things that they can become addicted to, and how you’ll always be there for them if they want to talk about anything regarding addiction or if they have questions.
When your kids are younger, your conversations with them about addiction can be much more vague and theoretical. But once they gain a little knowledge for themselves and begin asking questions, you’re going to want to be prepared to give them accurate information.
To help with this, Dr. Rupal Christine Gupta, a contributor to KidsHealth.org, recommends that you educate yourself on things like the effects of drug use. Additionally, you should try to anticipate questions your kids might ask. This could range from things like the cost of addiction to the criminality of drugs or alcohol. The more you know, the better you can prepare your kids.
Show The Truth About What Addictions Look Like
As your children become teens and young ages, they will likely be mature enough to see some of the darker sides of addiction. While this isn’t something you’d ever want your kids to experience personally, it can be helpful for them to know just what addictions can look like.
According to DrugAbuse.gov, you may want to share with your kids how addictions can and do negatively impact the lives of those who are addicts. This can include things like losing relationships, getting in trouble with the police, bring harmful to their health and more.
To help your children avoid some of the problems that others experience in their lives, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you know how to speak with your kids about addiction.