It is never too early to talk with you children about alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. Start when they are curious and begin to ask questions. Parents have more influence on their kids’ decisions BEFORE they begin to use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.
As children get older, keeping communication lines open is essential. We, as parents, can look for openings or common ground so that our conversations do not turn into lectures. You may want to share a fact you learned about alcohol and the brain in our e-learning course. You may want to do some parts of the e-learning course with your son or daughter or look at the booklet together.
If our children feel comfortable talking openly with us, we will have a greater chance of guiding them toward healthy decisions. The more we learn together, the easier it will be to keep the lines of communication open.
Research shows that parents have a powerful voice when it comes to helping children make good decisions. Here are some guidelines we can use:
- Discuss healthy foods, healthy habits and fair play.
- Begin to talk about harmful substances.
- Discuss medicines and their purposes.
- Communicate the differences between foods, poisons and medicines.
- Discuss activities that help bodies continue to grow healthy and strong.
- Identify adults who can give medicines.
Middle and High School
- Discuss immediate effects of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs on the body.
- Discuss who might offer tobacco, alcohol and other drugs to our kids and ways to say NO.
- Identify the characteristics of true friends and discuss some of the people our kids know and trust.
- Begin to discuss what addiction is and how it affects a person’s future.
- Discuss places our kids know where it may be more likely they would be asked to use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.
- Discuss legal consequences of use.
- Discuss negative physical and mental consequences of use.
- Discuss how alcohol affects the development of adolescent’s brains- in particular, learning, memory and addiction.
- Discuss alcohol poisoning and binge drinking and let them know that someone who is passed out from drinking could die.
- Identify signs of problems, when someone has had too much to drink, and how to get help.
Helping children understand why they should avoid alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and ways they can protect themselves, but still have fun, is a most important task. Our booklet, “A Parent’s Guide for the Prevention of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use“, and our “Online Parent’s Guide” e-learning course can provide further help to you.