Talking About Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention This Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Drug and alcohol abuse prevention and Valentine’s Day may not appear to go hand in hand, but the truth is that they are actually very compatible. When you encourage your children to avoid drugs and alcohol, you’re doing it because you love them. Concern for our children’s health and welfare stems from love, and giving them the tools to prevent substance abuse is a priceless Valentine’s Day gift.

Valentine’s Day and Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention

Get comfortable

There’s no right or wrong time to talk about drugs and alcohol with your children, so Valentine’s Day is just as good as any other. What does matter is the setting in which you choose to have the conversation. It should be comfortable and quiet enough for you to hear each other without distractions. That could mean your living room at home, or on a picnic blanket at the park; it’s up to you. Try to choose a time when you and your children are available to talk, not when one of you will have to rush off at a certain time.

Be open

Your children need to know that you are talking about drug and alcohol abuse prevention because you care, and that it’s a safe topic to discuss. Encourage them to ask you anything that they want to know, and be prepared to answer questions about your own past experiences with substance abuse. Honesty and openness facilitates a good relationship. Your children may not be inclined to talk if they feel judged or that certain areas of conversation are off-limits.

Know the facts

Do some research on drug and alcohol abuse and share it with your children. Better yet, encourage them to do some research on their own or as a family. It can be hard for young people to accept the reality of the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and many brush off the potential consequences. Use real-life examples when possible to reinforce that addiction can happen to anyone, not just celebrities or people in stressful positions.

Keep asking questions

Drug and alcohol abuse prevention is an ongoing conversation. After you have established open conversation with your child, you should continue to ask them questions. Find out where they’re going and who they’ll be with. It’s also okay to ask if there will be substances present. It shows your child that you’re involved with their life. As they get older, they’ll be exposed to different situations, and it’s important to keep talking about how they will handle them.

Offer Alternatives

Children often experiment with drugs and alcohol because they’re bored, curious, or because their friends are doing it. Come up with a list of activities that they can do to stay busy and healthy, like joining a club, starting a business, or setting future goals. You can also talk to them about how they can respond if offered drugs or alcohol. What will they say to rebuff the offer? What are some alternatives if the person persists?

Drug and alcohol prevention starts at home. Show your love this Valentine’s Day by fostering open communication with your children. The effects can last well beyond this holiday and into their future.