In the U.S, drug deaths have now reached record highs.
All over the world drugs wreak havoc on people’s lives They bring with them rampant criminality and untold violence, and they can lead to innocent people getting caught in the crosshairs.
But explaining what drugs are to children is no easy feat. It is particularly difficult if you are not yet educated enough to answer all their questions. Here is how to talk to your kids about drugs.
How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs: Illegal Vs Legal
If you’ve ever given your child medicine or they’ve been admitted to hospital, then your child has probably asked questions about drugs. Most likely they have asked you why it’s ok for them to take these pills but not other pills which are illegal.
The most common retort from parents is that these drugs are legal where others are illegal. Furthermore, it is wrong to break the law. The drugs you are giving your child are to make them well whereas illegal drugs make them ‘sick’.
But a smart child will probably question why it is the case that some drugs are banned and others are given out freely by doctors. They will also question why people take illegal drugs at all if they indeed make you sick.
Remember this conversation is now complicated by the fact cannabis has been legalized in some states.
In order to answer these questions, it is important to be able to offer clear information about the risks of drugs as well as people’s reasons for taking them.
Often these conversations can stem from an experience a child has had. Maybe they overheard a group of men talking or even smoking “weed” on the way home from school. It would be natural for them to wonder what the appeal is of smoking dried grass.
You should have clear information about cannabis and its potentially harmful effects to share with them. Give them advice about what to do if they are offered it.
It is important not to scare your child. The amount of information that you give them will depend on their age. An eight-year-old should not worry about going to jail for getting in with the wrong crowd.
If young children do become addicted be sure to check out a Guide for Parents of Addicted Children and Teens.
Education systems around the world are by no means perfect. It is easy to believe that schools are safe places of education that help to prevent children from going down the wrong path. In fact, they can often become the very place where children and teenagers are led astray by their peers.
To counter this, create a safe and open environment in the family home for your child to talk to you about drugs. If you make it clear your child will be kicked out of the house immediately and disowned if they do drugs, it might backfire. You might cause your child to spend longer periods of time away from home.
This can also lead to secrecy and your child making rash and extreme decisions. It is better to have an open relationship with your child so you can intervene to stop a bad situation becoming worse.
Making the Right Decisions for Your Family
How to talk to your kids about drugs is all about personal preference. It depends on the circumstances but it is important to educate yourself so you have the answers. This is better than offering your child misinformation and hyperbole.
To read more articles about ensuring your family leads an active, healthy life check out more articles in our health section.