Talking To Your Children About Addiction
Drug and alcohol addiction are a real threat to every household in this country. To the innocent ones, growing up in a home where a parent or sibling has substance abuse issues can be frightening. Young ones hear the arguments, see the tears, and they will draw a conclusion based on their ability to cope.
Frequently, kids will act out or become aggressive because they feel the tension in the home. Substance abuse is a tough topic to address, but it’s important to discuss these things with your child.
Talk to A Child On Their Level
You may be unsure of how to speak to your child about addiction. Kids only process information based on their life experiences. While you may think that you have slipped things by them, they are more aware of what’s going on than you may think. They may notice a parent sleeping too much, or a brother that behaves erratically.
The easiest way to start a conversation about these difficult topics is to ask them how they feel. Remember, they won’t be able to articulate the way you can, but if you listen carefully, they will tell you how they feel.
Children Need Honesty
Never lie to a child or make up something to divert the issue. Always be upfront and honest. Kids know when you are lying, and they know if what you are telling them doesn’t match what they observe.
Drugs and alcohol are very prevalent through the internet and social media, so they probably understand more than you think. They don’t need to know specific details, but they deserve honesty.
Use Simple Stories to Educate A Young Child
When a child is under the age of ten years old, they need to be able to speak freely to their parents. They should be able to express their fears without worrying about repercussions. It’s best to use stories or illustrations to help them understand.
Protecting our children is our most fundamental responsibility. Even if it means keeping them safe from a parent or a sibling.
Leveling with Pre-Teens
The preteen years can be difficult. Students hear about the harm of drugs and alcohol in school almost every day. Don’t give them a lecture, but rather stick with the truth. This is a good time to talk about the dangers of drugs and the unhealthy effects on the body. Explain the odd behaviors they may witness.
Reaching Your Teen Without Lecturing
A teenager can better understand addiction. Teens are fickle because they may or may not want to hear what you have to say. Don’t use this as a time to lecture them, instead, talk about it in a way that makes them comfortable.
While you may try to gloss over the situation with other age groups, teens can handle what you tell them. Don’t speak down to them or insult them by not giving them the whole truth.
With the opiate epidemic raging around us, opening the lines of communication with your teenager is essential. They need to know the dangers of opiates and how quickly you can become addicted.
Other Things to Consider When Dealing With Addiction
Children can feel any tension or angst in your home. While you may not want to sit down with them and have this discussion, it’s necessary. Your kids may require therapy to help them deal with the chaos, so seek out a professional.
It’s important to let your kids know that the addiction is not their fault. Avoiding this conversation can aid their feelings of guilt. They automatically feel they are the reason that one of their parents is acting strangely. You must reach out to your child within their ability to understand the situation.