What’s the best way to keep your kids from drinking and using drugs? It could be as simple as “Talk Early, Talk Often” which is a campaign being spearheaded by the Sherburne County SUP Coalition to help educate and empower parents and other caring adults to have ongoing conversations with the young people in their lives. Research shows that although it may seem like kids aren’t listening – they really are. Make talking about drugs and alcohol a part of your general health and safety conversations – starting as early as elementary age and continuing on from there.
5 Conversation Goals:
Show you disapprove of underage drinking and drug use. More than 80% of young people ages 10-18 say their parents are the leading influence on their decision to drink or not drink. So they really are listening, and it’s important that you send a clear and strong message.
Show you care about your child’s happiness and well-being. Young people are more likely to listen when they know you’re on their side. Try to reinforce why you don’t want your child to drink or use drugs – not just because you say so, but because you want your child to be happy and safe.
Establish yourself as a resource. You want your child to be making informed decisions about drugs, with reliable information about its dangers. Use facts and not fear.
Show you’re paying attention and you’ll notice if your child drinks or uses drugs. You want to show you’re keeping an eye on your child because young people are more likely to drink or try drugs if they think no one will notice. There are many subtle ways to do this without prying.
Build your child’s skills and strategies for avoiding underage drinking and drug use. Even if your child doesn’t want to drink or try drugs, peer pressure is a powerful thing. It could be tempting to drink just to avoid looking uncool. To prepare your child to resist peer pressure, you’ll need to build skills and practice them.
Don’t just have “the talk”, have many small talks.