Talking with adolescents is often difficult for us; this may be because the dynamics have changed, that is, the way of relating is different. Normally when our children are younger, they carry out our instructions or advice without much problem or objection; now they have learned more about the world and their opinion has been nourished by different points of view. It is completely normal that everything we tell them is called into question or may sound like a sermon, especially if it is a subject such as drugs and alcohol. So how should we talk to teenagers about this issue? Well, here we share some points that we recommend you take into account when doing it.
1. Look for theory and information: Always from reliable sources.
Many times we want to talk to our children from our experience and although it is completely valid since we want them not to make our same mistakes, the idea is to combine this experience with theory. In this way, your speech will be nourished not only by a moral discourse but also by science, which supports said concern and in this way share with your child a lot of information to which he perhaps did not have access. So, let’s get to work.
Search especially reliable sources, such as science magazines, or newspapers. Of course, you can also find good information in other scientific journals. Whenever you want to know if a source is reliable, you can check if it is supported by a university or association, look for the year in which it was published, try to search for articles that are five years old or a maximum of ten, because the information is constantly is modified. Take care that they are texts that do not reflect a political or religious position because many times the information is not written as it was found; This could help your child take up the information you provide as a moral issue and not as a serious problem.
We recommend you look for research both on a social level and on bodily effects. Even digging a bit of history, you can find very curious and interesting facts about the times when alcohol, marijuana, political reasons, etc. were prohibited. Everything you find is a step to be able to get closer to your child.
In this sense, drugs must be understood as substances that act on our nervous system. They can be divided into legal and illegal, which can vary from country to country. Let us remember that alcohol is also valid as a drug, as well as tobacco, and both are very accepted in society and very often we forget about the consequences over the years. They are even an important engine for the economy. Normally the taste of these two are not so accepted in a first meeting, they are usually bitter, but they are consumed over time, mostly as a product of social interaction, belonging, and even the desire to explore, curiosity, as well as for taking a liking to the flavor or for the desire to escape from reality, etc.
2. Establish a consistent posture
Once you have obtained a lot of information about these substances, you can ask yourself what you think in general about everything you found, not so much if you want your child to consume them or not, surely your answer will be no, but analyze what you think of them: content, dangers, why they are consumed, etc. so that with the information and your analysis it is something that you will share with your child during the talk, so it must be in accordance with your actions.
If you consider it as something that can kill, that practically shouldn’t exist, then it wouldn’t be coherent for them to see you drinking several beers every weekend. It is about having this openness to understand that we do want them to listen to us, and establishing general rules, having to set the example as parents.
3. Be honest and direct.
When a teenager is listening to your speech, he already has an idea of where you want to go. Don’t be afraid, be honest. Talk to him about why you want to talk about this topic and at that time. Maybe he saw something, maybe you had been waiting for him to turn that age or heard that some of his classmates do it, whatever your reason, share it.
You can also talk about your feelings, about the nerves that talking about this topic with him caused you, about what you have done to be able to have a talk about it. That you want to be a support and that it is not a simple sermon, from which you want to escape as soon as you can. Ask him even for a specific time. Ask him about his schedule and find a spot. You can prepare something to eat or something to drink, always the environment will allow you to create an environment of trust.
We recommend that you avoid using moments when you are not in a good mood or when it seems that you impose the moment to chat.
4. Always from listening.
Before starting to share all the data you found, you can ask him to tell you what he thinks, ask him if at any time he thinks that maybe he could do it. Although it is possible that he will start with a short speech or in which he has already done it, in order not to disappoint you, he will not tell you. If you guide the talk to a peaceful listening and a genuine idea to help, as if they were friends, you will learn from everything they know. For example, what was your first encounter with this, what kind of drugs have you seen, etc. Do not pressure to give you names of which friends do or do not, this can break everything you have built.
You can explain in the middle of that talk, that although you do not agree, you will not leave him aside either or your affection will decrease if he has. Try not to offend the people who consume them, such as alcohol, tobacco, or another substance, since you will be making value judgments, a moral issue that can make your child uncomfortable. Imagine that you mention that you’ll still love him even if he tells you that, he’s about to do it, but then you blurt out a comment like “people who drink alcohol are dumb or most of them end up without a future” or something similar, obviously if he was about to share his experiences with you, he will feel awe. In this talk you can tell him about the search you did and the data you found, focus on that. You will see that little by little it will tell you or at least will open a chat space in the future.
5. Express your experiences, emotions, and thoughts.
This is linked to the previous point, sometimes telling our bad experiences is difficult for us, but it could be very helpful to someone else. If you are still afraid of what he will think of you, you can talk about it from an experience of a friend you had or modify some small things, without exalting the stories more than they were to scare him. Talk to him about the feeling or thoughts after what happened, about the impact and importance of knowing how to act against substances. Also, you can include what you are worried about happening to him.
6. Agreements and tools.
Let’s put aside that taboo of believing that if we touch on the subject, now it will make them curious. It is not like that, this type of talk can be preventive and help a lot to the development of adolescents. Before closing the talk, ask him what he thinks, both of the talk and the topic. Talk about agreements. If, for example, during the talk, you came to the idea that when you drink alcohol, the ideal scenario would be to drink but with measure, it is valid, then establish agreements, with the theory and with your body: How will you realize that It is the indicated measure to be well and not overload your body. How will you know that something is wrong?
It is also the time to reach out, to establish that all you want is that if at some point, which we hope will not happen, something goes wrong, you take too much, someone places drugs on you without realizing it, what if one of his friends is in bad conditions, what if his friend is drunk and will be the one to drive or some other scenario even outside of drugs, the first he can call is you. That you will believe him and go for him or her. It is not about pampering them, but rather about avoiding more serious accidents. It is evident that it will be under very specific situations, where the idea is that you know how to take care of yourself but if something goes wrong, you will be there. Do not promise that you will not get angry or there will be no consequences, but do promise that your affection will not be at stake. The main thing is their protection.
This talk, maybe it’s not so nice or maybe it is, you’ll only know it by carrying it out; but surely taking into account some of these points, you will feel more confident to approach the subject with your teenagers. We hope this post will be very helpful.
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