Try the acronym S.A.V.E to remember key components to interacting positively with your child about the topics of alcohol and drugs: “Survey, Act, Validate and Engage.”
Research shows spending time with your children today helps you stay connected tomorrow. 72% of kids in families who don’t eat meals together are more likely to use tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Studies also show that teens who drink with their parents at home are more likely to drink elsewhere, drink more often, and score higher on a measure of ‘problem drinking’ two years later.
The number one way to keep kids from using drugs and alcohol is to eat dinner together as a family. The quality time spent together promotes open communication and trust between you and your child. It provides the opportunity for you to ask age-appropriate questions to accurately survey the situations your child is experiencing.
Trust your instincts. If you think something is wrong in your child’s life, it probably is. Don’t wait to take action. If you aren’t sure how to start the more difficult conversations, talk to us. We’ll be happy to connect you with a professional.
The simple act of teaching your kids the words ‘no’ or “not now” can go a long way towards protecting their health for life. Create a family escape plan so your kids have a way out if they are somewhere with friends, and drugs and/or alcohol are around.
Stay up-to-date on the most effective ways to communicate with your kids about substance use disorders. Talk with your kids, your nieces, and nephews; the more people talking and learning about substance abuse, the better. Listen for clues to the real issues your kids want to discuss.
Create an environment where kids feel comfortable and safe having an open dialogue. It’s important that the conversation validates their feelings and is void of shaming or overly dramatic scare tactics.
Understanding the disease of addiction empowers people to develop healthy coping skills and prevent its onset. Educating kids and teens about the risks of using drugs and alcohol can be as important to their health as good nutrition. The more people talking about substance use disorders, the better chance we have at breaking down the stigma that still comes with the disease.
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