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Talking Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking with Teens

Like so many of these crucial conversations talking drugs, alcohol and smoking with your teenage can be awkward making it tempting to become the preacher, not the parent…

When discussing drugs, alcohol, and smoking with teenagers, it's important to approach the conversation with care, honesty, and a non-judgmental attitude. Here are some guidelines to help you have an effective conversation:

  1. Choose the right time and setting: Find a calm and private setting where both you and your teenager can have an uninterrupted conversation. Make sure there's enough time to talk openly and without distractions.

  2. Start with open-ended questions: Begin by asking open-ended questions to gauge your teenager's understanding and perceptions about drugs, alcohol, and smoking. This will allow them to express their thoughts and concerns.

  3. Provide accurate information: Offer clear and factual information about the risks and consequences associated with drug use, alcohol consumption, and smoking. Explain the impact these substances can have on physical and mental health, relationships, academic performance, and legal consequences.

  4. Address peer pressure: Discuss the influence of peer pressure and the importance of making independent decisions based on personal values and well-being. Encourage your teenager to assertively say no to situations that make them uncomfortable or involve substance use.

  5. Listen without judgment: Be a good listener and avoid jumping to conclusions or being overly critical. Create an environment where your teenager feels comfortable sharing their thoughts, experiences, and concerns honestly.

  6. Discuss strategies to resist peer pressure: Help your teenager develop strategies for dealing with peer pressure, such as suggesting alternative activities, finding supportive friends, or seeking help from trusted adults.

  7. Set clear boundaries and expectations: Clearly communicate your expectations regarding drug use, alcohol consumption, and smoking. Discuss the consequences they will face if they break those boundaries, but also emphasize that your main concern is their well-being and safety.

  8. Be a positive role model: Model healthy behaviours by avoiding substance use yourself and practicing responsible alcohol consumption. Your actions speak louder than words, and teenagers often learn from observing their parents' behaviour.

  9. Encourage open communication: Let your teenager know that they can always come to you with questions or concerns about drugs, alcohol, or smoking. Maintain open lines of communication and be available to provide guidance and support.

  10. Seek professional help if needed: If you suspect your teenager is already involved in substance use or is facing challenges related to drugs, alcohol, or smoking, seek professional help from counsellors, therapists, or support groups specializing in substance abuse.

Remember, the aim is to have an ongoing dialogue that promotes trust, understanding, and informed decision-making. By fostering open communication, providing accurate information, and being a supportive presence, you can guide your teenager toward making healthy choices regarding drugs, alcohol, and smoking.

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