Despite what you may think, your children are listening to you, and they want to please you. Striking up a conversation about drugs and alcohol isn’t always easy, but doing so, as well as putting into practice some guidelines that will keep you in the loop of your child’s life while being supportive, will reduce their risk of developing a drug or alcohol problem.
“Kids listen to their parents whether they admit it or not. They can be that little bird on their shoulder,” said Melissa Dotter, drug free communities program director for the Marathon County Health Department.
Dotter recommends you talk early and often and be sure they know why you’d like them to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
“You can’t make kids’ decisions for them, but if they know why you want them to make these decisions they may be more likely to hear you,” Dotter said.
She says locally, some children are trying alcohol or drugs before they see their tenth birthday. Much of it has to do with what is available to them at home. If there is alcohol in the liquor cabinet, they may be tempted to swipe some. If there are prescription pain kills in the bathroom, they’re easily accessed.
The Partnership at Drugfree.org has six parental guidelines that experts agree will reduce your child’s chance of developing an alcohol or drug problem. Parents have power.
For more detailed information and a guide on how to talk to your child about drugs and alcohol at any age, go to drugfree.org.