Talking with our children as prevention of so many things... A skill that we all must acquire.
Many parents doubt that it is appropriate to talk to their children about alcohol and other drugs. Others of us think that it is not possible for our children to be involved with illegal substances. And others, finally, delay the topic because we don't know what to say or how to do it; or because we are afraid to introduce those ideas in the minds of our children. Source: A Parent's Guide To Prevention, US Department Of Eduction
Don't wait until you think your child has a problem. Many young people who attend treatment programs say they used alcohol and other drugs for two years without their parents knowing. Start talking to them about alcohol and other drugs early, and keep the lines of communication open. It shouldn't scare him to admit that he doesn't have all the answers.
Let your children know that the topic interests you and that you can work together to find the answers. Here are some basic suggestions that will improve your ability to talk to your children about alcohol and other drugs:
LEARN TO LISTEN:
Make sure your children feel comfortable raising questions or problems with you. Listen carefully to what they tell you. Don't let what you hear anger you and end the conversation. If necessary, pause for 5 minutes to calm down before continuing to speak. Also take note of what your child doesn't say. If he doesn't tell you about problems, take the lead and ask him how school and other activities are going. Be Willing to Discuss Sensitive Topics Young people need to know that they can trust their parents to get accurate information about the issues that matter to them. Don't Skimp on the Praise Highlight things your kids are doing right, rather than focusing on things they're wrong.
When parents are more willing to praise than criticize, children learn to feel good about themselves and develop the ability to trust their own judgment. Give clear messages When you talk about alcohol and drugs, you want to make sure your children get a clear message that they shouldn't drink either, so they know exactly what is expected of them. For example, tell them, “Ultralegal drugs are not allowed in our family, and young people are not allowed to drink.” Be a role model Children learn both by teaching and by example. Children model their behavior after that of their parents, so you must be sure that your actions reflect the standards of honesty, integrity and fair play that you expect of your children.
Effective communication between parents and children is not always easy to achieve. Youth and adults have different communication styles and different ways of responding in conversation. Also, the timing and atmosphere can determine how successful the communication will be. Parents should find the time to talk to their children in a calm way, without rushing.
The following suggestions are intended to help you achieve better communication. Listen Pay attention. Do not interrupt. Not preparing the answer while your child is speaking. Reserve judgment until your child has finished talking and has asked you for a response. Look, notice your child's body language and facial expression. Does he seem nervous or uncomfortable? Does he yawn, drum his fingers on the table, tap his foot, look at the clock? Or does he seem relaxed, smile and look you in the eye? Reading these signs helps parents know how their child is feeling.
During the conversation, show that you recognize what your child is telling you. If he is sitting, lean your body forward; if you're walking around, tap her on the shoulder, or nod your head and maintain eye contact. Responding "I'm really worried that..." or "I understand that sometimes it's hard..." are a better way to respond to your child than starting with phrases like "You should...", "If I were you..." or "When I was not your age…”
If a child tells you something you'd rather not have heard, don't ignore those phrases. He does not reply with advice to all statements. It is better to listen carefully and try to understand the real feelings behind the words. Make sure you understand what your child wants to say. Repeat what she thought she understood and ask her for confirmation.
CONFIDENTIAL AND FREE