How to Talk to Your Teen About Drugs and Alcohol

As a parent, some of the conversations you will have with your teen are not easy. However, communicating with them about substance abuse and its consequences is important to keeping them aware, healthy and safe. Here are some tips on how to talk to your teen about drugs and alcohol.

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Don’t Make Assumptions

It can be tempting to enter a conversation with your teen feeling like you know where they stand and that you’re going to have to fight back. Instead, listen to what they have to say about drugs and alcohol first and don’t assume to know what their thoughts and feelings are.

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Use Media as a Tool

Drugs and alcohol use are more present than ever in media and pop culture. Use the news, TV and music as an opportunity to open up a conversation with your teen. Always be sure to start by asking them what they think about the substances you are discussing.

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Be Honest About Boundaries and Consequences

Setting boundaries and expectations with your teen about what they can and can’t engage with is important. Be sure to make these extremely clear and outline the consequences for not following through. It also helps to explain why you are setting out these boundaries (to keep them safe, because you love them etc.) so that it comes from a place of care and concern.

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Express Concern and Compassion

It helps to show your concern for individuals who struggle with substance abuse. The conversation doesn’t have to be all about your teen, but let them know that you have seen how drugs and alcohol can affect a person’s well-being and life.

Keep the Conversation Open

This topic should not only be discussed once. While it’s great to address drugs and alcohol with your teen when they are younger, be sure to let them know that they can always ask you questions and that you will also bring it up again as they grow and circumstances change.

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