The uncomfortable truth is that your teen is likely to come into contact with drugs in one form or another at some point during their adolescence. Teenagers who feel like they can talk openly and honestly with their parents about these things are far less likely to want to experiment with drugs than the children of disciplinarians who lack this type of relationship with their parents. The same can be said for families who make a point of discussing the effects of drug and alcohol misuse. In short, you need to open a rapport with your teens surrounding this issue, and this is how you can do this.
Obviously, the first thing you need to do is to prepare. Why do you feel this talk is necessary? Is it pre-emptive, or do you have reason to think that your child has already begun experimenting? After you have thought this through, you need to decide what your stance is. Do some research and find out the facts. Do you want to take a hard stance and reject drug taking in all its forms, or are you going to include the nuances and make distinctions between the different classes of drugs? It might even be worth exploring your options in terms of at-home drug tests like AlphaBiolabs’ hair strand drug test.
Your teen is going to be far more receptive to conversations if you remain calm and open. It should be a relaxed conversation. Try to ask open-ended questions which prompt more of a response than a one-word answer. As they open up to you, it will be really tempting to react to the things that they tell you, especially if it is shocking to you; however, you should make an effort to respond thoughtfully as opposed to simply reacting.
Encourage An Ongoing Dialogue
If the first conversation has gone well and you have managed to remain calm and non-judgmental, then you are likely to find that your teen might come back to you in the future when they have other questions or other things to share. Do your best to always be available to them and encourage this dialogue. You also do not necessarily need to wait for them to bring it up again; if you have read something or seen something, then this could be a natural way back into the conversation.
It is deeply important that your children know that you are always going to be there to support them, even if they have begun to experiment with substances. Some parents confuse supporting their children with condoning their behaviour, and it is not the same thing. You can be unhappy with their choices and behaviour but still support them. This ensures that they will always feel like they can come to you when they need you, and you are then able to help them and encourage them back onto the right path.
Teenagers have always sought ways to rebel against their parents and push the limits. However, teens today have more access than ever before to the less-than-reputable aspects of life. Mind-altering substances continue to hold an allure to teenagers – and, indeed, a lot of others in society. If you want your teen to make the right choices and come to you, then you need to think about your approach to the issues that they face today. Creating a safe space in your home is key here.