Research shows (SAMHSA, 2021) that one of the most important factors in healthy child development is a strong, open relationship with a parent. It is important to start talking to your children about alcohol and other drugs before they encounter them. Per SAMHSA (2021), parents can use these five goals when talking to kids about alcohol and other drugs:
1. Show you disapprove of underage drinking and other drug misuse.
More than 80% of young people ages 10-18 say their parents are the leading influence on their decision whether to drink. Send a clear and strong message that you disapprove of underage drinking and misuse of other drugs.
2. Show you care about your child’s health, wellness, and success.
Young people are more likely to listen when they know you’re on their side.
Reinforce why you don’t want your child to drink or use other drugs. The conversation will be more successful if you’re open and show concern for their health and safety.
3. Show you’re a good source of information about alcohol and other drugs.
You want your child to make informed decisions about alcohol and drugs
with foundational information about their dangers. Establish yourself as a trustworthy source of information so they can come to you with any questions.
4. Show you’re paying attention and you’ll discourage risky behaviors.
Show you’re aware of what your child is up to, as young people are more likely to drink
or use drugs if they think no one will notice.
5. Build your child’s skills and strategies for avoiding underage drinking and drug use.
Even if you don’t think your child wants to try substance use, peer pressure is a
powerful thing. Having a plan to avoid alcohol and drug use can help children make better choices. Talk with your child about what they would do if faced with a decision about alcohol and drugs, such as texting a code word to a family member or practicing how they’ll say “no thanks.” Remember, keep it low-key. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get everything across in one talk. Plan to have many short talks. “Talk. They really do hear you.”
If you, or someone you know, would benefit from learning more about “Talk. They Hear You,” start by contacting Charlotte Reeves, Surry County Office of Substance Abuse Recovery Community Outreach Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our website at surrycountycares.com for more information about substance use disorder and the many resources in our County.
Charlotte Reeves is the Community Outreach Coordinator for Surry County Substance Abuse Recovery Office. She may be reached at 336-401-8218 or email@example.com.