Don't Leave it to Drug Prevention Posters - Talk to Your Kids Honestly About Drugs and Alcohol Addiction
Your children see drug prevention posters up in their schools, churches, and the local community centers. This doesn't hurt anyone, and can be a reminder to them to make healthy choices. The final responsibility lies with you, however, and a talk about drugs and alcohol use is up there with the sex talk in matters of importance.
Rather than simply banning any kind of drug use and having that be an ultimatum, it is best to discuss why it is unhealthy with your children. Simply telling them it's because drugs are bad or because "I said so" is an open invitation for them to push those boundaries, something they are probably doing on a daily basis anyway at that age. Parenting adolescents is hard.
It is much better to explain why you feel that way. If your family has a genetic predisposition to alcohol and other drug dependence, you need to be honest with your kids about it. Silence and secrets are the cornerstone of any drug use, and alcoholics have been misrepresented by well meaning family members for ages.
Tell the truth. If you had a problem in the past, tell them about it. Tell them that you are scared for them and show them any research you have done on the effects of alcohol and other drug use on the body, mind, and spirit. (Do your homework and be able to actually show them the research.) Research other articles about parenting and alcohol use for more ideas.
Teenagers are not stupid, and if you are honest and discuss this with them like adults, you will have a much better chance of helping to avoid the pitfalls of social and peer pressure. Help them to understand that they can talk to you about it anytime. Creating a taboo around the subject will do more harm than good. If you have questions as to how to begin a conversation about drugs, you can go online and get some excellent ideas from the prevention sites, just type in alcohol and drug awareness on your search engine. The drug prevention posters are no substitute for a real talk with someone whom they trust.