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Talking to Your Children About Drugs

Talking to Your Children About Drugs - The Bergand Group

Talking to your children about drugs is important, as an open dialogue between parent and child can prevent drug use from starting. When a child feels they can speak to their parents, they are less likely to engage in dangerous and secretive behavior. In fact, “research shows that children who hear the facts about drugs and alcohol from their parents are significantly less likely to use them.” Talking to your children about drugs from an early age will not only lessen the chances of drug use, but it will help strengthen the parent-child relationship.

Television, magazines and merely going out in public, expose children to drugs and alcohol How many times have you walked past people smoking outside and had to explain to your children what they were doing? Due to the fact that children are exposed to drugs and alcohol at such early ages, parents can begin talking to their children about these substances at an early age.

Talking to Your Children About Drugs at Every Age

In the article Talking to Your Child About Drugs from Parents Magazine, they suggest ways to discuss drugs and alcohol with your children. Breaking it down into age groupings of 3 to 5, 5 to 8 and 8 and above, Parents Magazine provides parents with ways to introduce this discussion.

Ages 3 to 5

Talking to your children about drugs when they are between the ages of 3 and 5 doesn’t have to include explanation of hardcore substances. At this age Parents Magazine suggests broaching the subjects of healthy living. Allowing your children to make decisions about their own healthy lifestyle will allow them to feel in control, and therefore will feel empowered about the choices they make. This is also a good idea to point out warning labels and poisonous substances. Introducing them to the idea that not everything is healthy for their body will alert them to the fact that there are some things that should not be ingested.

Ages 5 to 8

When your children are between the ages of 5 and 8, the discussion will expand into the use of drugs and alcohol. It is important to begin the discussion at home so that they will not have the chance to be swayed by older children and/or the media. Talking to your children about drugs at this age is crucial, as children between the ages of 5 and 8 are starting to really identify who they are and what they like and don’t like. Discuss your opinion on tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs with them, “let them know, for instance, that being high on alcohol or drugs makes it harder to play ball, finish a puzzle, or do other things they enjoy, and that smoking causes bad breath.” Connecting the negative consequences with their own lives will prevent them from being overly curious. It is also important to discuss the mixed messages they may be receiving from the media.

Ages 8 and up

Talking to your children about drugs when they are 8 or older is very important. It is this age group that is heavily pressured into doing things so that they are part of the “cool” group. Many times this pressure can include smoking cigarettes, trying alcohol and, worse, the use of drugs. Discussing self-esteem and the importance of being an independant thinker will heavily influence your children’s decision-making abilities. While discussing the facts don’t use fear-mongering techniques, as this can sometimes incite curiosity with children. Make sure to discuss the facts as they occur in the present tense. Children aren’t too worried about their distant future, they’re more concerned with what is happening now. Encouraging healthy activities is a must for children in this age group. Whether that means enlisting them in their favorite sports, signing them up for a children’s yoga course, or bringing them on weekly hikes, keeping your child busy and excited about life will steer them away from using drugs and alcohol.

Talking to your children about drugs and alcohol strengthens family bonds and creates an open dialogue that is often necessary for a healthy parent-child relationship. If you fear that your child has begun to experiment with drugs or alcohol, enlisting them in therapy sessions, whether individual or family, is a way to nip the problem in the bud. For more information on treatment for your child, get in touch with The Bergand Group today.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehabilitation and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.

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