How to Talk to your Kids about Drugs

Talking to your kids about drugs is never easy.  You run the risk of embarrassing both parties, and being viewed as desperately uncool by your children.  The world is a different place from when you were a kid, and your confidence wanes as you wonder how much of an impact your talk will have on your street savvy modern child.

The key to not only having the big drug talk, but having your child listen and respond as well, is to not worry about being cool and worry more about being honest.  The one thing kids today can do very well is smell a scam from a thousand paces.  It is not easy admitting to your kids that you are not the perfect parent, but if there was drug experimentation in your personal history, it is better to ‘fess up.  This will give you credibility. 

Don’t glorify it; just be honest about feelings of wanting to fit in or being curious. Curiosity is natural in children, and you do not want to deny them that.  If they ask about what a drug feels like- don’t lie and say it doesn’t feel good.  To understand why drugs are bad, a child must understand why someone would want to do them in the first place.  However, it is important to also explain that the good feelings do not last, and are eventually replaced by bad feelings and addiction. 

Explain that drugs can cause horrible physical effects like rotting teeth, heart problems, and even death.  They must be taught that there are social repercussions as well.  Addictions can drive people to do bad things, and result in being arrested and thrown in jail.  Make it personal by sharing stories you relate to personally.  It doesn’t have to be from your life, but maybe a friend of a friend, or a celebrity that had an impact on you. 

It is critical that you are truthful with your kids when it comes to drugs, but you must also be truthful with yourself as a parent that your children will eventually encounter drugs of some kind.  However, if they know why drugs are dangerous, and that they can trust you on this fact, they will be less likely to try drugs or experiment.  You want your children to make the right decisions in their life.  Make sure you do by offering them information, honesty, and a place for open dialog.