The following tips are courtesy Ronn Jeffrey of Youth Alternatives.
This is a really scary situation for most parents. All of us want to see our children lead healthy lives and the use of drugs and alcohol is really frightening for parents.
Hopefully, the following tips will help parents deal with this scary and awkward situation:
1. Don’t Overreact!
• If you catch your kids using drugs don’t panic. You’ll handle the
situation better if you stay calm. First take a deep breath, relax
and make sure your in control of your emotions and your actions.
• You know your kids best. Is this an unusual behavior and
inconsistent with past behaviors? Think about what worked
best with your child in previous situations.
• Stay Focused: It may be hard...but try to stay focused on the
current issue. Try not to bring up past mis-behaviors that are
unrelated to the issue.
2. Be Honest and Clear!
• Don’t overreact but it’s important to be clear about your feelings.
• Parents, we often give conflicting messages to our kids. For
instance, your kid may call you a hypocrite. How can you
complain about their drugs when you smoke and drink.
• It doesn’t work to just say “Im and adult. I can do what I want.”
It’s ok to make the distinction between what’s legal and what’s
not. But, it may also be helpful to admit to wanting to change the
behaviors that are unhealthy for you even though they might be
3. Know Your Kids!
• Mom, Dad ask yourself; What’s your child’s favorite music?
What’s their favorite class? Who’s their best friend? Where do
they like to hang out.
• What makes them angry. What makes them happy.
• Kids don’t like parents to pick their friends, but remember kids
want to be accepted and that sometimes this gets them into
trouble. It won’t be easy, but help your kids make good choices.
The loudest voice in your kids lives needs to be the parents.
• It’s hard to talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol at 16 if you
haven’t talked to them at 6. You have been living with your kids
for years and it’s important that you know what they like and
don’t like. That you know what’s important to them
4. Do Something About It!
• Complaining is not the same as doing something
• Get involved in your kids lives. Let them know you support them.
• Don’t be afraid to set clear rules, limits and consequences.
• Talk with your kids....Listen more
5. Get Help If Needed!
• Nobody said parenting would be easy. Parents don’t have to go
it alone. There is help out there. At the schools, churches,
mental health centers and community agencies. Even on the internet.