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School has been back in session for a few months now, and kids are getting back into the routine of everything. With this routine also comes the stress of class, the stress of sports and practices, and the daily peer pressure to “fit in”; teens are at high risk for taking part in drugs and alcohol. While you cannot be with your kids 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to stop them from making bad decisions, you can equip them with the knowledge to say “no” to bad decisions on their own.

With the opioid crisis continuously rising and new drugs coming out seemingly daily, talking to your kids about drugs is vital.

Before you even start the conversation with your child, make sure you understand the topic you are about to discuss with them. Develop a good understanding of the difference between use, misuse and abuse. Next, you should understand what is commonly used among their age and the terms that they and/or their friends might be using.

As a parent, your first instinct is to hit them with statistics, however, this will do the exact opposite of achieving your goal. When your teenager is overwhelmed with statistics, they will shut down and see you as unauthentic. And once you lose that credibility with your child, it is hard to regain their trust and respect.

Talking to your child about drugs is about approaching it with a relatable attitude. They want to understand that you are not punishing them or being demeaning in your tone. The biggest way to earn their respect is to speak to them as an adult, and just be honest with them.

Believe it or not, our children can tell when we are not being honest.

So, when it comes time to talk to your child about drugs, start by making yourself relatable. Remind them that you were a teenager once, and even present them with some personal experiences, if appropriate. Simple inform them of the dangers and educate them on the potential addiction that lies in the wake of drug and alcohol abuse.

Additionally, make sure the conversation is healthy. Avoid bombarding them and being the only one talking the entire time. Ensure you leave room for them to insert their opinion and to give feedback on what you have said.

Do you have any tips for talking to your kids about drugs? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.