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[ Opinion ]

Tips For Parents Talking to Children About Substance Use Disorder And Driving

Substance abuse is a crucial topic that as a parent, you need to address with your children, irrespective of how you feel about your child’s susceptibility to the lure of drugs. To prevent the many ill effects associated with drugs, you should communicate with your child in the most effective manner possible.

Thus, to make the most of your conversation, it is important to understand how to go about it so that you may have the best chance of helping your child avoid substance abuse. If you haven’t yet started talking to your child about drug use and driving, it’s time to get going.

Here are some tips for effective conversations with your children about drugs.

Establish Open Communication

Consider starting the conversation by identifying your child’s opinions about substance abuse. You might ask what he or she knows about substance abuse and what are his or her views concerning drug use among children. Listening carefully without interrupting not only helps your child to feel heard and appreciated, but it can as well serve as a natural “lead-in” to initiate the topic.

Keep It Real And Factual

When talking to children about substance abuse, honesty is the best policy. Try not to sugarcoat the negative effects that come because of drug and alcohol abuse. While you may choose to give them your opinions about the negatives of drugs and alcohol, children listen best to facts; thus, you need to have the facts laid out properly and stick to what is real and more relevant to children.

It also helps to show immediate consequences. Through facts, let your child know how substance abuse impairs the body and mind coordination; slows reaction time; and impairs one’s vision, clear thinking, and judgment. Also, to prevent them from driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, let them know that one of the leading causes of teen deaths is motor vehicle crashes involving substance use.

How To Handle Peer Pressure

It is important for you to go an extra step in helping your children figure out how to avoid substance abuse while in pressuring situations. For instance, when your child attends a friend’s party and he or she is offered beer, what should his or her response be if offered a ride home with a friend who’s drunk? That’s why you need to help your child Say ‘No.’

As states, drunk driving cases don’t just come from nowhere, and it helps to prepare your child to make the right decision ahead of time.

Brainstorm together for the most suitable ways that your child might handle such challenging situations, and make them understand how you are willing to offer support. For instance, “If you get yourself in a place where other kids are drinking, just call me and I’ll pick you up and there will be no scolding or punishment.” Hence, it is much easier for your child to say ‘NO’ in high-pressure situations that involve substance abuse and driving while prepared in advance.

Keep It Kind By Controlling Your Emotions

As much as you may want to let your young child understand how much a certain friend can influence them into drug use, or you learn about a wrong decision and want to go ballistic, by keeping it kind, you are more likely to have a receptive audience.

Growing up can be difficult at times; Pressure from home, school, and other obligations can make a child feel confused, hard on himself, isolated or lonely. Thus, if you hear something you dislike, try not to react with anger since you are unlikely to have the kind of open, sincere conversations that are the most effective. Rather, take a few deep breaths and acknowledge your feelings in a constructive manner.

Come Up With A Game Plan

Conversations about substance abuse are not a one-day thing. As you come across real life examples or illustrations of substance abuse in media, talk to your child about them. Continue your conversations with your children, at age-appropriate levels, as they grow and experience new examples of alcohol and drug use in their peer group. Fuel their curiosity with real information as they age, so that by the time they do encounter a friend offering them drugs, they already know how to handle that situation.

Have A “Win-Win” Experience

Make it a conversation and not a lecture by showing respect for your child’s viewpoint enabling him to more likely listen and respect your opinion. If you help your children understand what it means to have a healthy lifestyle, to make good decisions, to feel good about themselves and follow meaningful goals, they will be much less likely to turn to substance use to fulfill those needs. Maintaining a productive conversation with your children helps them build self-confidence and learn how to make healthy and smart choices easier.

Author Bio:

Kevin R. Marciano, Esq is the Managing Partner at Marciano & MacAvoy, Kevin Marciano.Marciano has spent the last 23 years defending the rights of accident victims including drunk driving victims, throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.