One of the most influential factors during a child’s adolescence is maintaining a strong, open relationship with a parent. When parents create supportive and nurturing environments, children make better decisions. Though it may not always seem like it, children really hear their parents’ concerns, which is why it’s important that parents discuss the risks of using alcohol and other drugs.

Suspect Your Teen Is Using Drugs or Alcohol?

Some signs and symptoms you should look out for are:

  • A negative change in grades
  • A change in appearance – clothing, personal hygiene
  • Trying to hide the smell in a room or on the breath
  • New friends — particularly those you suspect may not be a positive influence
  • Secrecy about activities
  • Strange pupils – pinpoint or dilated
  • Missing money, prescription drugs or household items of value
  • Evidence of drug paraphernalia – pipes, balloons, etc.

Start The Conversation

Some ideas you can use everyday are:

  • Talk about the everyday stuff every day
  • Create times for talking (e.g. dinner)
  • Listen first
  • Take concerns seriously
  • Wait by giving your child time and space
  • Anticipate by finding times to talk with your children about little stuff
  • Listen for more than the words
  • Think through the tough conversations
  • Instead of just talking, do something else like incorporating conversations into routine activities
  • Communicate without talking (e.g. leave a caring note, give a spontaneous hug)
  • Give time
  • Be patient
  • Rules and consequences are necessary for children to learn
  • Get involved in activities with your child

10 tips about talking to your kids about drugs

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