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When to Have The Drug Talk

Each week, our Patch moms answer the questions that affect family life. Do you have questions? Tell us!

Question:  When should I sit down and talk about drugs with my kids?

Answer:  This is an important topic that every parent dreads and tries to figure out exactly how to discuss drugs with their kids.

First, drugs will be shown on TV shows, movies and even some cartoons that are on in the evening.  When you see drugs on the TV, ask you kids, no matter what age they are, if they know what drugs are.  If they do know what drugs are, this is a great time to discuss what they know and how they feel about drugs.

Most kids will have some exposure by the age 4 or 5-don't be afraid to talk to them at this point.  Even if it's as simple as “Drugs are bad for you and can hurt you,” any discussion is good.

But, with drugs infiltrating our middle school and in some parts of our country elementary school, discussions need to start ASAP.  Giving names of drugs that are bad, and discussing the difference between what a doctor will give you versus other kids at school or strangers, is important as well.

As kids get older, reaching the end of middle school or beginning of high school, these discussions need to get more in depth.  This is the time frame that drugs are heavily introduced, and peer pressure is even worse. 

Consider showing pictures of drug victims and demonstrate what drugs can do to you.  Show car accidents involving intoxication as well.  Being able to see the things that can happen will make your children understand what really happens if they decide to use drugs. 

If you Google videos for teaching your children about drugs, you will find a variety of videos that have news reports and pictures of people in detox.  Be aware though, view these before you show your children, they can get gruesome.  Bookmark the ones you like and then sit down and have a discussion about what the videos say and how they make them feel.

Some hospitals and treatment facilities have tours for children that will also show people in the area and what can occur if they use and abuse drugs.

A great website that can show you some ways to discuss drugs to your children is:

How to Say It: Drugs and Alcohol

This website gives you ideas for what to say, what not to say, and how can you tell if your child is at risk. 

Overall, start young with discussions, even if they are simple.  But, as children get older you need to get more aggressive with your discussions.  Do not be afraid to show videos and pictures, this will help with your discussions. 

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