Get your child talking to you

Ways to encourage your children to talk about drugs with you:

This section includes tips for talking with your children about drugs:

1. Be an active part of their lives.

Spend time with your child. Take an interest in their activities and establish a routine for doing things with them. Spending time as a family is important, like eating together every day. When they go out don’t be afraid to ask where they’re going or who they’ll be with. 

2. Listen to your children.

Show that you're willing to listen. This will help your child feel more comfortable about talking with you. During a conversation, try not to interrupt them or react in a way that will stop whatever you’re discussing. Encourage them to feel comfortable about telling you their problems and ask for their input on family decisions to show that you value their opinions.

3. Be a role model.

When it comes to drugs there’s no such thing as ‘do as I say, not as I do’. If you take drugs yourself you can’t expect your kids to take your advice. It is important not to underestimate the influence your behaviour has on them, particularly when it comes to alcohol, tobacco or misuse of medication.

4. Be honest with them.

You may not have all the answers when it comes to drug information. Be honest with your child and then make attempts to obtain the information they require. If you are honest with your child, they will find it easier to open up to you.


5. Pick your moment.

Make sure you pick the right time to discuss drugs with your child by looking for natural opportunities as they arise. This might be when you’re all watching TV, or when they’re talking about their friends and/or someone at school.

6. Be calm throughout.

When it comes to talking about drugs, being calm and rational is important. Do not overreact, ridicule or lecture as this could make future discussions about drugs more difficult and make your child more resistant to talking about them at all.

7. Avoid conflict.

It is difficult to solve a problem when there is conflict. Try to see your child’s point of view while encouraging them to understand yours. If a confrontation does develop, stop the conversation and come back to it when everyone is calm.

8. Keep talking.

Never stop talking to your child. It keeps the open relationship intact throughout.

9. Set clear boundaries.

Generally children expect and appreciate some ground rules. By actively involving them in setting the rules, you can encourage them to take more responsibility in sticking to them. Once you’ve decided on these rules, enforce them and inform your child of the consequences of breaking them.

Discuss and agree to ways your child will act if they find themselves in situations where drugs are present. For example, educate them to walk away from a situation where drugs are offered to them.

However, advise them not to place themselves in situations where they are likely to be exposed to drugs in the first place.

10. Focus on positives.

Recognise your child's good behaviour and emphasise the things they do well. Encourage them to feel good about themselves and let them know that they deserve respect and encourage self respect.