After years of declines in the number of teens using drugs and alcohol, a recent study has provided what officials are calling a "warning sign" regarding attitudes and behaviors about substance abuse.
The government’s annual Monitoring the Future survey of about 46,000 teens found that about one-third of high school seniors, a quarter of high school sophomores and about one in eight eighth graders had used marijuana in the past year. Alcohol use remains high as well with 43 percent of twelfth graders, 29 percent of tenth graders and 16 percent of eighth graders reporting they drank in the past month.
Parenting experts say dads and moms should talk early and often about the dangers of drugs and alcohol with their kids. If you create an environment where your children feel comfortable talking with you about dangerous things, they’ll do so and you’ll have more opportunities to explain how harmful these behaviors can be.
Teaching kids how to deal with peer pressure is important as well. Role-playing what to do and say if he or she is offered drugs or alcohol may be helpful.
Great advice. One talking point that a parent who has been down the road of kids and drugs offered me is to be honest about that fact that drugs can make you feel good, but be sure to counter that with the reality that the long term consequences of taking drugs are disastrous. I think that a brutally honest and constant conversation about the reality of drugs and how to not cave to the pressure to do drugs is so important.
Research from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America shows that kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use. The Partnership’s “Time To Talk” is an online resource for parents that provides free, easy-to-use, research-based tools and tips to help start the conversation with their kids about the risks of drugs and alcohol and keep it going over the long haul. Visit timetotalk.org for more tools and talk tips.