Why it is important to discuss Drugs with your child

A study from the Addiction Research Institute in Ontario, Canada revealed “the earliest risk of the onset of alcohol (ages 10 and 11), is followed closely by the illicit use of prescribed drugs (age 11) and the use of hallucinogens (age 12). Children begin to face high risks for experimentation with marijuana and hashish between 13 and 14 years. Risks for the initiation into crack/cocaine begin at ages 15 and 16.

Start early in laying the groundwork for effective communications about drugs.

Beginning in preschool, take advantage of “teaching moments”. You can help immunize your child against drug abuse by giving them facts about the proper use of medications before they are tempted. For example, as you are giving your child medicine for a cold, explain when and how much medicine should be taken. Read up on the drug or antibiotic so you have the facts and can explain the danger of misuse.

When watching a TV show or movie and a character lights-up a cigarette, it is a good time to talk about what nicotine addiction does to the body. This can lead to other conversations about drug abuse. Just be sure to keep the discussions relaxed. Because of these conversations, as your child grows older, they will likely be comfortable coming to you with their questions about drugs.

As they reach 8 to 12 years of age, begin asking them what they think about drugs in ways that are open-ended and nonjudgmental. Between the ages of 13 to 17, your child probably knows kids who use drugs. Listen carefully to their questions, thoughts and feelings. Because their teen friends may driving, talk about the dangers and illegalities of driving under the influence. Promise to be available to pick them up when they need safe transportation on a moment’s notice.

Tips About Talking to Your Kids

It is best to prioritize conversations with your children on subjects they show interest in. This way they are more likely to retain what they learn. It is also a good way to know they are ready to discuss it.

They may not be old enough or mature enough for certain topics such as drugs and sex, for example. To discover their level of interest in a subject and the appropriateness of having the conversation at this time, ask them a question about it, and listen to their response.

Pick a topic that is in the news, or when it comes up in a TV show or movie, for example. Proceed only as far with the discussion as their interest indicates. Keeping the lines of communication open with your children throughout their lifetime will ensure that when their interest grows, they will feel comfortable asking you for more information. Reassure them they can come to you at any time with anything that is on their mind.

Disclaimer: The suggestions and methods put forward are the opinions of the individual authors, and are not necessarily shared or endorsed by Urban Light Ministries, Inc., its staff or individual members of the board of
trustees.

Read these Bible Verses to help your child understand

Ephesians 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

Proverbs 23:31-33 Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly;
32 at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [g]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Here are additional resources that will be beneficial for further discussion

Drug Prevention Tips for Every Age

Why You Should Talk With Your Child About Alcohol and Other Drugs

The Ultimate Do’s and Don’ts Guide for Talking to Your Kids about Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Preventing Drug Use: Connecting and Talking with Your Teen