- Avoid these two words: “Let’s Talk.” It seems natural to parents, but it sets off alarm bells in our children, and, more often than not, the walls go up. Instead, hang around your child in a non-demanding way, be patient, and look for a chat “window”– your child may even start the conversation!
- Respond from your heart. Empathize with your child rather than lecture or reprimand. When we show empathy, children won’t feel blamed, shamed or judged.
- Show disapproval of underage drinking/drug misuse – As the #1 influence in your child’s life, send a strong message of disapproval through short, frequent talks.
- Show your child you care about their health and well-being – Let your child know you’re on their team and the goal is for them to be happy and safe.
- Become a good source of information – Stay informed so you can share reliable information with your child; if you do, they will view you as a trustworthy source.
- Build your child’s skills for avoiding drinking/drug use – Provide your child with tools to gracefully exit a pressured or uncomfortable situation, like texting a code word to a family member or practicing ways to say “no thanks.”
Sources: samhsa.gov and ideas.ted.com
For additional ways to talk to your child, please see CTAD’s Resource Guide or visit Partnership for Drug Free Kids.
It’s not one 60-minute conversation.
It’s 60 one-minute conversations.