It's never too early to talk drugs
IT'S the talk no parent wants to have with their teenage son or daughter but there is no escape if you suspect that they are experimenting with drugs.
- Pick a good time -- don't do it before they rush off to school. Or, if they are using drugs, don't confront them when they're high.
- Take the opportunities to talk when they arise -- it may help to do it when the subject comes up during TV programmes or in the news.
- Let them know your values and boundaries -- it's important for your children to know where you stand on drug taking. Be clear about your opinions on drugs so that they know your boundaries.
- It's never too early to talk about drugs.
- Avoid scare tactics -- your teenage children often know more people who take drugs than you do, so there's no point in saying, "Smoking cannabis will kill you."
- Know their friends -- peer pressure is the single most powerful factor in determining whether or not your child will take drugs. Get to know their friends.
- Let them know you're always there for them -- that way they can be honest with you about what they're up to and they won't just tell you what they think you want to hear.
- Listen as well as talk -- when discussing drugs, don't preach or give a speech and don't make assumptions about what they know or do. Let your child tell you about his or her experiences. It's often easier not to talk face-to-face, but to have a conversation side-by-side, such as when you're driving in the car, washing up together or preparing food.
- Make sure they know that the responsibility for their actions rests with them -- you're trying to help your child make good choices in life about drugs but only they can say no to drugs. Be sure they know you support them, but emphasise that it's up to them to make the positive decision to be drug-free.
- Don't panic -- if you find out that your child has tried drugs, your first reaction may be anger or panic. Wait until you're calm before discussing it with them, and do so in a way that shows your love and concern rather than anger.