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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  1. Hi Rossel,

    Thanks for your insights. My son will soon step into High School and I am rather worried about it. Not that he lacked guidance, in fact my husband and I have been giving our son appropriate attention, particularly when it comes to school matters. I’m just a bit worried as I know that HS tends to be ones wildest days.

    Again, thanks for your advice.

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