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5 Ways to Teach Your Children about Drugs

Drugs can be a difficult topic to broach with your children. If you need a few pointers, here are just five ways to open a dialogue about substance abuse without scaring or overwhelming their young minds.

1. Start Early

Some parents worry about “exposing” their children to drug talk before they’re old enough to understand what drugs actually are. However, this can be the best time to do it. Your child is bound to see or hear something about drugs at some point, and by getting ahead of the curve, you’ll be able to give them a foundation of understanding before outside influences warp their perceptions.

2. Make Examples of Fictional Characters

If you’re ever watching a movie where a character starts drinking, smoking or taking drugs, use their behavior as a teachable moment for your kids. You don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty of drug abuse; just explain that the character is making a bad decision that will affect their health in the future. Your child will absorb the information and move on.

3. Point Out Everyday Hazards and Poisons

If your child is having a difficult time grasping the intangible concept of drug abuse, give them a metaphor that they’ll understand. For example, if you’ve already had a discussion about not drinking the bleaches and drain cleaners under the sink, you can compare these toxins to drugs. Make it clear to your child that all of them are equally off-limits.

4. Prepare Them for Peer Pressure

A child who knows how to say “no” will be ready to turn down drugs and cigarettes that are offered to them illicitly. If necessary, stage a roleplaying experiment where you pretend to be someone encouraging them to take drugs. Once your child knows how to recognize the signs of peer pressure, they’ll be much less likely to succumb to them.

5. Stay Approachable

Communication is the best tool that you have in your anti-drug arsenal. You don’t want your child to think that you’ll panic, worry or judge them for asking drug-related questions, so it’s important to remain calm when they open a dialogue with you. This is especially true if you have a friend or neighbor facing drug charges or speaking to a lawyer about a drug crime. Your child will want answers, and it’s up to you to give them.

These are just a few tips for discussing drugs with your children. Forewarned is forearmed, so don’t be afraid to have frank discussions while they’re still young. A talk in the present could save their life in the future.

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