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How to Talk to a Child About Substance Abuse

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Child' started by trex, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. cameronpalte

    cameronpalte Active Contributor

    I would just go straight out and talk to him about it - with something like that the longer you wait the more potential problems that occur, and if you aren't direct about it I find it makes them more likely to lie about what is actually going on or it is more likely for them to lie to themselves about it.
  2. cc1001

    cc1001 Member

    I have a sixteen year daughter myself. I started talking to her about drinking and drugs at a very early age .I have family members who are alcoholics and almost became one myself so I didn't want to see my daughter going down the wrong path. When kids become teenagers it's hard because they have so much peer pressure and want to look cool in front of their friends. You want to talk to them about important issues but you don't want to run them away either. I would suggest try to talk to your son in a loving and supporting manner not accusing or scolding and allow him to freely talk to you about the issue when he is ready.
  3. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I agree with cameronpalte, waiting only exposes the child to more drugs or alcohol, and increases the risk of high-risk behavior, accidental overdose, and injury, related to the substance abuse.
  4. platwitt

    platwitt Member

    The thing is that, teenager seems like they do not want to be disturbed but behind that masked is a confused little child shouting for attention. My suggestions: be patient, they will try to escape every time you try to talk to them. No intimidation. This is a No - no. Keep it calm. Don't try to bring it up when his friends are around, they get embarrassed on the smallest things and that lead to their anger.
  5. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I agree, no intimidation, make it personal and private, and be patient. However, when it comes to not wanting to be disturbed, or embarrassment, the truth is, that does not matter. If we're talking about the difference between an uncomfortable conversation, and high-risk behavior, I'm going with the conversation, EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.

    It's the nature of parenting. Sometimes we just have to it. Suck it up, have the hard talk, make the difficult choices, and we do this in order to save our kids from pain, suffering, addiction, and a slew of other things. As I said before, I think it all boils down to knowing your child, how they communicate, what works best for your family.
  6. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I'm not a parent so all I could give is my perspective as someone's child, and what I know would make me retract or recoil or even act out as a teen would probably be being accused irrationally or without merit or if I felt that the reaction I was getting was an overreaction to the degree of my actions. In my opinion, it would be best to ask questions first, in terms of what he is really doing or how much or what he thinks is causing it, etc. We must never underestimate the need of a child to be listened to first and foremost.
    Nick W. likes this.
  7. LostmySis

    LostmySis Senior Contributor

    If it were my child, I would do that scare straight tactic. Kids think they know everything and the parents know nothing. I would find a rehab or AA group where members are willing to talk to him. If a child sees the possibilities, it makes it a reality. Drive to where the homeless people are, under bridges or whatever, and show him what life down that road has to offer. Ask the police for any programs that do education for DUI offenders. We have a program in my state where every DUI violator is shown a movie shot from the actor's perspective. The eyes open, and the doctors tell him is was in a coma, and he will never walk again. You can hear him moan in pain as the doctor rattles off the list of injuries. Then two cops come in and inform him he is under arrest for vehicular homicide. It does seem to scare many who view it, but whether it prevents them from drunk driving, I do not know. There is no way I would allow my child to get a drivers license until I was sure of the situation. Try to remain calm, no matter how defensive he gets. And good luck.
  8. tasha

    tasha Community Listener Community Listener

    You also need to bear in mind that if he is doing it and you forbid him to do so, he will then want to rebel and do it anyway. As a parent, you need to explain the dangers and let him know that it is not acceptable as well as stop the habit before it becomes a problem. I agree with Theens in Crisis, that you are not a friend you are a parent and the foundation is built by you. If you are a single parent then you need to have back up should he be abusing.
  9. jade870

    jade870 Active Contributor

    Some may not agree with me on this but I would tell him that I know he is drinking and ask him if there was anything that he wanted to talk about. If he closes up you will know where he stands on the matter, and know that you need to take a different approach. Some teenagers are different, at the age of 16 they mostly depend on their other friends. Council for my parent is more difficult than you might think. In some cases this may not be true but for the most part it is. What I would do is start off by feeling around and seeing how touchy he is about the subject. This will give you an idea on how bad the Matter is. I know this from personal experience as a 15 and 16 year old I was a big drinker didn't really care too much about any other type of substance such as marijuana. Drinking was my most favored drug a love tell it may be forget the troubles I had at home and other personal things I thought I was going through. My mother tried speaking to me many times about how dangerous drinking could be. At that age I did not want her friendship or her council on anything, I have convince myself that she had no idea what I was going through. I think what made me really see is the day she sat me down and told me that she loved me no matter what I did. A few days later I came to her and told her that I did know what to do or how to bring myself to stop drinking. Things started to turn around after that but I had a very long road in front of me I had no idea how much I depended on alcohol to solve all my problems.
  10. dejanee22

    dejanee22 Member

    When talking to your teen make sure that you listen, this will help you determine what type of help your child needs to understand the consequences of substance abuse. You should avoid lecturing and when given an honest answer try to control your emotions so that your child is willing to share information with you. Also you can consider using media messages to spark up a conversation with your teen. It is also important to talk about ways to avoid peer pressure.
  11. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    Statistically speaking, the scared straight approach hardly ever works. In fact, if often times has the opposite effect on kids in these situations.
  12. Winterybella

    Winterybella Community Champion

    There are so many things I appreciate here as a parent. I hope that Trex has been able to talk to her son and that things are working out well.

    Sometimes we as parents have to be so careful when dealing with our young ones. We don't want to come across as harsh and demanding, yet we don't want to make light of a serious matter. It can be a tricky thing trying to create the right balance when working to assist our young ones.
  13. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    It is a nice thing that you are being observant of your teenager. I agree that better to talk to him in a manner that will make him tell you the truth. It is most often hard to let them tell the truth and that will men you will really need to investigate to find the truth about it for yourself if that will be the case.
  14. leahcim132

    leahcim132 Member

    First rule:
    Don't get mad. If you ever feel like scolding your child, it's time to take a deep breath and clear your mind.
    Honestly, talk to him as if you guys are best friends, but don't push it too far. Just slowly/casually bring in the problem and I'm sure after 5 - 10 min of talking, he'll open up.

    Best of luck.
  15. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think kids at that age are just very curious and thus they want to experiment. I myself am not really that much into alcohol but even at that age I was drinking for one reason or another. I eventually grew out of it after a few years. If you're really worried, though, then just talk to the kid. If he was raised well then he should be able to recognize the value of level conversation.
  16. mikeqin

    mikeqin Member

    Just as you inoculate your kids against illnesses like measles, you can help "immunize" them against drug use by giving them the facts before they're in a risky situation.
  17. mikeqin

    mikeqin Member

    There is no magic bullet for preventing teen drug use. But research shows parents have a big influence on their teens, even when it doesn’t seem that way! So talk openly with your children and stay actively engaged in their lives. To help you get started, below are some brief summaries of marijuana research findings that you can share with your kids to help them sort out fact from myth, and help them make the soundest decisions they can. These facts were chosen because they reflect the questions and comments that we receive from teens every day on our teen Web site and blog—what teens care about. Following this brief summary of research evidence, FAQs and additional resources are provided to equip you with even more information
  18. NikkiDesrosiers

    NikkiDesrosiers Senior Contributor

    I think the best way is to start as early as your child can comprehend the conversation -- and be blunt and honest. Answer any questions they have openly and honestly - talk about the consequences of going down a road of addiction.
  19. s2chenrn

    s2chenrn Member

    Maintain an open communication with your son. It won't be easy, but it does take some time.
  20. Cryyo

    Cryyo Member

    I remember when I was a teenager I always felt that everyone who ever talked to me talked down to me because of my age. It was as if I couldn't have any knowledge or awareness that they didn't simply because they had been alive longer than I have. This made me feel that I had no control. I think it is important to ensure that you treat him as he is an adult, especially since he thinks he can drink like an adult does.