This isn’t intended to frighten you.
However, it might.
Actually, thinking about it, it definitely should. Consider this for a moment.
The latest stats from the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reveal that:
- Binge Drinking: Approximately 13.4% of those aged 12-20 reported binge drinking in the past month, and
- Heavy Alcohol Use: About 3.3% of that same age group reported heavy alcohol use in the past month
The consequences of this underage alcohol abuse, for example? Interfering with normal adolescent brain development, increasing the risk of developing Alcohol Abuse Disorder (AUD), increasing the likelihood of serious drug abuse, physical injuries, sexual assaults, and even deaths (this includes those from fatal car crashes).
You may be thinking, “Not my child.” You may be right. However, many parents thinking the very same thing will be attending morgues, rehab facilities, prisons and psychiatric wards at some point in their near future. It’s unthinkable, but it happens.
Talking to our young children and teenagers about drugs and alcohol has never been so important, especially with the U.S. in the seemingly unshakeable grip of the opioid epidemic. It’s not just opioid painkillers and illegal drugs either – other prescription drug abuse has seen a huge surge in recent years, such as the teenage abuse of Adderall, Xanax and Valium.
So, be positive and speak to your kids. It will seriously diminish the chances of issues later. Here to assist you are 7 Great Tips for Giving Your Kids the “Drugs & Alcohol” Talk, all of it sound, up-to-date advice devised by professional addiction treatment specialists.
The Early, The Better
Talking to your children early, around the age of 8-10, and preferably before they can actually experience substances, is by far the best option. Knowing the risks is important for them to make their own choices and decisions.
If you suspect that one of your youngsters is using drugs or alcohol, don’t wait to speak to them about it. Waiting is simply no good. NSDUH data shows that 12.8% of people tried marijuana at age 14 or younger developed “illicit drug dependence or abuse.” Only 2.6% of those who tried marijuana at 18 or older developed the same level of dependence. Talk to them now.
If your child is becoming addicted to a substance, always deal with it quickly once you know. Detoxing from alcohol or drugs and further treatment is not the end of the world.
Always try to focus of the positive aspect of issues. For example, NSDUH data also shows that around 93% of 8th Grade students don’t smoke marijuana. The chances are that your child’s peers don’t do it, making it more socially unacceptable for your child to do so.
Substance Abuse is a Health Issue
Always keep your conversations with your children about drugs and alcohol centered firmly on their use as a health issue. Devoid of interrogation, and shame, your conversations should be neutral, informed and open.
It’s very important to establish the clearest possible boundaries for your youngsters regarding the use of drugs and alcohol. Most kids understand their parents would probably disapprove, but actually defining what you will disapprove of creates necessary trust around the issue.
Avoiding Stress in the Home
Many people who abuse drugs and/or alcohol do so for the purpose of self-medication, as a way to ease the problems in the life. From an early age, it’s important your child understands their family is a supportive one, one that solves problems by talking openly about them. By doing this, your children will also build up their own resilience to things that are troubling them.
Examples of Real Situations
Your children are going to have their idols – pop and rock stars, celebrities, and so on. Examples of these, such as Prince, Whitney Houston, Demi Lovato and Eminem, show that everyone is susceptible to addiction issues, regardless of wealth.
If you think your child is using or even abusing alcohol or drugs, please don’t leave it too late. Get them help now, but, first and foremost, speak to them, and let them know they are not alone.