Red Ribbon Week 2015
While it may seem difficult or feel awkward, it is important that parents have these conversations and keep the lines of communication open. Research shows that talking to your child early and often is key.
According to the National Family Partnership, children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42 percent less likely to use drugs than those who don’t, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.
Almost 90 percent of youth reported that their parents would strongly disapprove of their trying marijuana once or twice. Among these youths, only 5.1 percent had used marijuana in the past month. However, among youths who perceived that their parents would only somewhat disapprove or neither approve nor disapprove of their trying marijuana, 30 percent reported past month use of marijuana.
Youths who perceive that their parents would “strongly disapprove” of their use of illicit substances were much less likely to use those substances than youths who perceived that their parents would “somewhat disapprove, or neither approve or disapprove.”
Here are some tips to get the conversation started:
- Bring it up as dinner table discussion
- Talk about it when driving to or from school or other activities
- When observing drug use on TV, ask what your child thinks
- Use newspaper headlines or TV news as a conversation starter
- If you witness someone smoking or drinking, talk about the negative effects of alcohol and tobacco
Don’t wait until it’s too late! Talk to your child today (and tomorrow).
Office of Applied Studies (2005). Results from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings. Rockville, MD: SAMHSA.