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Health & Parenting

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Talking to Your Kids About Drugs

Tips for Talking to Your Kids About Drugs continued...

5. Repeat the message. Answer your children's questions about drugs as often as they ask them. Initiate conversations about drugs with your children whenever you can.

6. Listen to your kids. If you listen when they speak, your children will feel more comfortable talking with you and are more likely to stay drug-free.

7. Set a good example. Children often follow their parents' examples. If you pop open a beer after a tough day at the office, they're likely to emulate you. Try to offer guests nonalcoholic drinks in addition to wine and liquor. Don't take pills, even aspirin, indiscriminately.

8. Encourage choice. Allow children the freedom to make their own choices when appropriate. As they become more skilled at doing so, you'll feel more secure in their ability to make the right decision about drugs.

9. Provide children with weapons against peer pressure. Peer pressure plays a big role in the decision your child will make about taking drugs or drinking alcohol. Talk with them about what a good friend is and isn't. Role-play ways in which your child can refuse to go along with his friends. Praise him if he comes up with good responses. Offer some suggestions if he does not.

10. Build self-esteem. Kids who feel good about themselves are much less likely than other kids to turn to illegal substances to get high. To help build self-esteem, assign your children jobs they can accomplish, praise them for accomplishments, and spend quality time with them. And say "I love you" as much as you can.

11. If you suspect a problem, seek help. If your child becomes withdrawn, loses weight, starts doing poorly in school, turns extremely moody, has glassy eyes, shows more than the usual adolescent difficulty getting out of bed in the morning -- or if the drugs in your medicine cabinet seem to be disappearing -- talk with your child immediately.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on February 15, 2014
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