Saturday 18 November 2017

A parent's guide: What to do if your child is using drugs

Chrissie Russell

Worried about your child and drugs?

Don't panic and over-react. Not all young people get involved with drugs and although many might experiment, not all experimentation leads to continued use or misuse.

The strongest resource in dealing with any difficulty is the strength of our relationship with our children.

When responding to a young person's drinking or drug use the most important message to get across is 'I care about you'.

Don't demonise drugs or give exaggerated messages – it makes young people not believe you and may affect trust.

Instead explain your concerns and LISTEN to what they have to say.

It's critical to understand why your child is taking drugs. Does it help them cope? Feel better about themselves? Fit in with friends? Changing behaviour depends on understanding what motivates it.

Communicate with your child, build their confidence and self-esteem – children who feel good about themselves are less likely to get into trouble with drugs.

Parents who are concerned about their child's relationship with drugs see for more detailed advice and guidelines.

Irish Independent

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