Consider these possibilities:
Be clear with your kids that drug use is not acceptable in your family.
Look for opportunities to discuss the physical dangers to your child’s health that result from drug use. You may also want to discuss the risks and possible catastrophic consequences from poor decisions made while using drugs. You may also want to consider setting rules and defined consequences for breaking each rule. Some families write a contract to be sure both the parents and child clearly understand the expectations and consequences. Consistency with respect to enforcing rules and consequences is cited as a key factor in shaping behavior. Rewards for honoring rules are a great way to reinforce good decision-making. Acknowledging rule following with positive words goes a long way with kids.
Listen to your child.
If possible, ask your child an open-ended question to create a two-way conversation about drugs. For example, you may begin with “I received this drug test kit at school tonight, what do you think?” Remember that your tone and the length of your response will impact the discussion. A kid may perceive a long response as a speech not a dialog. Showing your willingness to listen will make your child feel more comfortable about opening up to you.
Ask your child what he or she knows.
Ask a question like, “What have you heard about drugs that is good?”, in a non-judgmental, open way. Let you child answer the question in its entirety. Thank them for the information then take the opportunity to start two-way discussion providing them with correct information. Be sure to have educated yourself prior to this conversation so you can answer all of your child’s questions. If you don’t know an answer to a question, don’t guess, as you will lose credibility with your child. Offer to find out or look for the answer together.
Use daily events, such as television shows and news reports, as a conversation starter.
Sharing a local incident with your child, such as an automobile accident resulting from someone under the influence, may open a discussion and create a way for you to provide your child with information. You may want to raise an open-ended question about an individual you see on TV who is taking drugs, such as “How would they feel if they were in an accident because they were using drugs? How would their life change?”
Give your child words to use with their friends if asked to use drugs.
You may consider giving your child words to have in their mind to use if situations arise where drugs are offered. It will be easier for your child to respond if they have a few planned phrases and a strategy for leaving the situation. One possible response is “I can’t, my parents will drug test me when I get home, and if I test positive my parents said they will call your parents.”
Signs of Drug Use