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Parenting is not any easy job – in fact it is most likely the most difficult job you’ll ever have. There is no manual to differentiate from right and wrong. Good parents must do their research and be proactive when it comes to important topics such as drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try to isolate our children from the tough situations and adversities that exist in the world, it’s impossible. Therefore, as parents, we must equip ourselves with the knowledge about these important issues so that we can keep our children safe.

Utilize Important Moments: Whether something happened within the news or to a fellow classmate, seize these opportunities as a platform to speak. When things are relevant, it’s easier for teens to grasp the bigger picture without feeling accused or confrontational. During the conversation stay focused on the issue at hand and remain calm. Don’t act like you have all of the answers – ask your teen questions and allow the conversation to be a discussion rather than a one sided opinion.

Partake in Your Child’s Interest: Watch TV shows and movies with your children and ask them questions when controversial topics surface on the screen. It’s important that a teen find their parent relatable. If a parent isn’t grounded and well rounded, then a teen won’t feel as if they can approach their parents with real life questions. Furthermore, if you partake in your child’s interest then you’ll know ahead of time where your teen stands on a variety of issues.

Educate Your Teen: Don’t leave topics like drugs and alcohol untouched. Be proactive and educate your teen about drugs and alcohol. Visit www.drugfree.org and learn the statistics. Yes, it’s evident that drugs and alcohol are terrible and addictive elements however just saying and knowing that isn’t enough. Know the statistics associated with each – drugs and alcohol. If you’re knowledgeable about the information your teen is more apt to talk to you and entrust during future conversations.

Share Stories of Recovery: Instead of only sharing the dark stories, make sure to discuss the recovery stories as well. Yes, addiction is a dark and trying time however there is recovery – which is the opportunity to grow from one’s mistakes. It’s very important that your child understand the entire picture by learning about recovery options that addicts have. Whenever you paint a dark picture, you must also shed light as well.

Know Who Your Teen’s Friends: It’s important to know who your teen’s friends are. While you don’t need to know every single detail, it’s important to stay up-to-date on their circle. If you sound interested in your child’s friends and school then your teen will feel comfortable bringing up questionable topics that may arise. Keep in mind that getting to know your teens’ friends means that you should ask questions. While the parent shouldn’t be interrogating, there should always be a dynamic of engaging curiosity that will let the teen know their parent’s involved.

Talk About Other Stuff: Talking to your teen about normal every day stuff is the first step towards engaging in serious talks like drugs and alcohol. You’ll find that if you only talk to your kids about heavy issues then odds are they won’t talk to you. Every day make it a point to talk about their day, light hearted topics and other things that they are interested in. Having an open relationship with your children will serve as the platform for future conversations that arise over time.

Keep in mind parents, every teen is different. Sometimes what works as a gateway for a conversation one day for your oldest may not work the same for your youngest – or perhaps vice versa. It’s also important to keep in mind that a safe, drug and alcohol free environment is another crucial element. If your child witnesses the abuse of drugs and alcohol then they’ll be likely to replicate what they’re viewing as valid behavior. Parenting is not an easy job and along the way you’ll make mistakes. However, learn from your mistakes and utilize these six ways to talk to your teen about drugs and alcohol whenever possible.

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