Tips on Discussing Drugs and Alcohol with Teens

There are specific topics that parents find hard to discuss with their teenagers, such as drugs and alcohol addiction. As parents, there is no pro-forma approach to discussing sensitive topics with your kids because every child is unique and their reaction will be different from one another. Here are some tips to help you discuss the subject positively and productively.

discussing drugs and alcohol
Let your teens express themselves and talk to you
about the things that are important to them.

Be Prepared to Answer Questions

When you talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol, expect a lot of questions to be raised. Learn the different kinds of drugs, their street names and their effects – long term and short term. You have to realize that some drugs available during your younger years may not be the same as the ones being abused by teens now. Teens will likely be curious and ask about your experience with drugs and alcohol, and how you will handle this is up to you. Though it is important that you are truthful with teens, it might be better to keep some things in private for now.

Engage Teens with Questions

Ask your teenager what they know about drug and alcohol addiction. Study show that about half of high school students claim to have at least one friend who abuses substances such as ecstacy, cocaine and meth. Talk to them about their friends and encourage them to talk to their friend involved in drugs. There is a good chance that your teen has been offered drugs on some occasion and on how they have handled the situation.

Brace Yourself

Crossing your fingers, you won’t have to hear your teen’s confession about drug and alcohol use, but if they do confide about experimenting it is very important that you stay calm. Freaking out, yelling and lecturing them will only end the conversation and probably wedge your relationship with them. If they do trust you enough to talk about something grave as this, it is a good thing – you have an honest and open communication between you. However, you should also calmly bring up the consequences of their action. Be realistic and discuss about the legal, financial and relationship trouble that may arise from such experimentation. Gently remind them that this can lead to addiction and that addicts struggle with all aspect of their life and often end up being broke or in prison.

Do Your Best to Listen

If possible, listen to them and do not interrupt them when they talk about drugs and alcohol, school stress and friends. Let your teens express themselves and talk to you about the things that are important to them. Avoid giving advice unless they ask for it. Teenagers oftentimes hear advice as a lecture or you telling them what to do. Listen, encourage and let them know that you will always be there for them.

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Bonding Activities Your Teenagers Will Love

Teenagers can be a bit sensitive when the topic is about their age. They no longer wanted to be treated like children and want to be seen as grown-ups. So perhaps it is high time that you treat them like responsible young adults as they tend to shy away from activities that make them feel like kids. Some games and activities such as children’s parties, going to the zoo and playing super hero may be fun for them last year, but they can start making them self-conscious now. And if you insist on having kiddie activities with them, you might find yourself unintentionally pushed away. Teenagers fear being ridiculed by their friends for doing something childish.


For you and your tweens to spend time together, you need to adjust your idea of having a good time and treat them more maturely. Suggest bonding ideas that they won’t be embarrassed about such as travelling, food tripping, watch blockbuster movies together and others. After school or over the weekend, you can take your kid over the latest pancake or donut joint and then take the opportunity to ask what they have been up to lately. You may also try watching the newest movies and they sure won’t feel any insecure when they’re so engrossed on what’s playing on the screen. While you’re at it, stop yourself from being too affectionate so they won’t shy away and will want to spend more time with you.

Teenagers love to explore and learn new things the cool way. Even if it’s not vacation time, you can take your kids away for a weekend and head somewhere you haven’t been to before. Turn family trips into an adventure worthy of Tomb Raider movies and your young adults will surely love the activity. Just avoid taking too much family pictures so your kids won’t be embarrassed to upload them online. To keep them grounded and if they’re so inclined, you can teach them new skills such as cooking or how check the car. This way they feel that they are trusted, responsible and grown up. Another is participating in volunteer works and fun runs that donate to charity. Doing something for a cause is a great bonding activity that will not only teach your kids to care about others but will also make them proud to be part of.

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