It’s not always easy to talk to youth about drugs, but parents and caregivers are one of the best sources for youth to find answers. If you aren’t talking to them about drugs, chances are, they are hearing about drugs from somewhere or someone else.
Tell Them What Drug-Free Looks Like
Help guide them toward drug-free hobbies, like sports, after-school programs, or an internship or job. And when you can, show up to support them.
Share what you know about drugs with your youth when they ask. When you can, share personal stories of how drug use affected the life of a family member or friend. If your youth has seen you using drugs, make sure you let them know why it’s not OK for them to do the same.
Share Your Story
If addiction runs in your family, explain this to your youth and help them understand they are at a greater risk of developing an addiction to a drug.
Set the Rules
Rules help youth stay safe, set expectations, and teach self-control. Let them know when, where, and how late they are allowed to be out.
Trust, But Ask Questions
When your youth hits their teen years, they need space. Give them some freedom, but make sure you check in with them to make sure they are safe and following the rules.
Check In When You Can
Take advantage of everyday activities like watching TV or eating dinner. You can ask about interests and activities. If you work nights, call and check in with the youth you care for around bedtime, or ask your spouse, a family member, or a friend to do an in-person check-in.
They may not always show it, but it means a lot to youth when parents and family members give praise, encouragement, and support. Positive reinforcement can reduce stress and boost confidence.