Drugs, alcohol, and addiction can be complex topics for parents to discuss with their kids. But it is crucial to have open and honest conversations with your children about these things so they can be prepared and better protect themselves. Here are a few conversation starters that you can use to get the discussion started.
The annual National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week that occurs from March 20th to 26th, sometimes known as NDAFW, is a health awareness week that encourages discussion about the science behind teen drug use and addiction. To progress science and address juvenile drug and alcohol use locally and nationally, it offers a chance to bring together scientists, students, educators, healthcare professionals, and community partners. (NIDA)
Children and the Dangers of Alcohol
Children who drink alcohol risk serious consequences such as low blood sugar. (This rarely occurs in healthy individuals who consume alcohol.) Due to insufficient glucose delivery to the brain, low blood sugar can result in seizures and coma. Too low of a blood sugar level might be fatal. Alcohol also has an impact on the nervous system. Children who consume alcohol may behave intoxicatedly, much like adults. They could appear tired, stagger when they walk, or speak incoherently. Because alcohol might irritate the stomach, they might vomit. The pace of breathing and heartbeat could become dangerously low. Reduced blood pressure. Too much alcohol can cause a child to faint or can even be fatal. (Poison Control)
Children Struggling with Addiction
Nearly one in four 18 to 20-year-olds, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), took an illicit drug in the previous month. The best advice for parents of addicted kids is provided in the list below. By employing these techniques, you can give your child the security and knowledge needed to support their therapy and recovery.
- Strengthen the Relationship: Despite the adverse effects on themselves or others, someone addicted will frequently employ dishonest methods to obtain and consume more of the drug. The relationship you have labored to establish with them will suffer significantly due to these activities. Effective communication can help you identify issues early and take the proper action. To facilitate a fruitful discourse, assertive communication comprises a balance of questioning and attentive listening.
- Promote healthy habits and treatment: A child’s confidence, self-esteem, and sense of personal control will suffer when too much emphasis is placed on their errors and bad decisions. These outcomes may encourage continuing drug usage. Instead, highlight the good and promote positive actions. While lowering friction and negativity, using encouragement and optimism fosters a sense of teamwork and cooperation.
- Construct and Strengthen Consistent Instructions: Setting rules will help your youngster understand acceptable and inappropriate behaviors. Addiction treatment outcomes are said to be improved by clear, consistent regulations. Not only will practices benefit your child, but they will also help you decide how to respond to events as they arise. The best rules are those that are created with your child’s help. This gives everyone a voice in the outcomes of their actions before they are actually carried out.
- Practice Self-Care: Self-care, which involves prioritizing your needs, is a helpful strategy for parents of addicted kids. Your stress levels rise to the point of exhaustion as you try to provide for your child’s needs throughout an extended period of unrest. If you are suffering from the negative consequences of stress, taking care of yourself will improve your ability to take care of your child. You may provide a positive example for your child by practicing good self-care.
For people and families dealing with mental and/or substance use disorders, SAMHSA’s National Helpline 800-662-HELP  provides free, confidential treatment referral and information services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Talking to your kids about drugs, alcohol, and addiction can be difficult. But having these conversations about protecting your children from the dangers of substance abuse is essential. By following our tips on how to talk to them and using a few conversation starters, you can make sure that your kids are well-informed and better prepared.
“Alcohol: A Dangerous Poison for Children.” Poison Control, www.poison.org/articles/alcohol-a-dangerous-poison-for-children#:~:text=The%20Bottom%20Line,coma%3B%20they%20could%20even%20die.
Eric Patterson, MSCP. “Tips for Parents of Addicted Children: Child & Teen Drug Addiction.” DrugAbuse.com, 19 Jan. 2023, drugabuse.com/guide-for-families/parents-of-addicted-children