What happens when you're suddenly asked by your child, "Hey Dad (or Mom), did you ever do drugs when you were younger?" What next? How do you answer, especially if you did experiment or had substance problems? These tough questions can really catch you off guard, but you need to be ready for them. After all, there is a right way, and a wrong way to go about answering. One thing's for sure, you need to be sure you handle it with your child's needs in mind. They're asking you this important question for a real reason, and more than likely, the reasons go beyond random curiosity.
Today's post is going to try to help you figure out the best ways to deal with a question like this so you can give your child the proper guidance that they'll need to continue down a sober path. If you, or someone you love and care about is suffering from addiction, Call Legacy Freedom today. We offer holistic and alternative drug treatment and alcohol rehab in Columbus OH in an outpatient setting. Contact us for more information.
When you get approached by your child with a question like this, treat it like an opening to have a real conversation about the dangers of substance abuse, and how drinking and using drugs can negatively impact their future. When a child asks a parent or guardian a question like this, it's more than likely the result of something either happening to them directly or indirectly. They're probably now wondering what the right choice for them is and are confused about what to do next. Naturally, children approach their parents for clarity, so being prepared beforehand will help you deal with the situation in a controlled manner instead of shooting from the hip.
Your biggest concern should be to probe why they are asking and find out what has sparked their curiosity. Dr. Janet F. Williams, professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the head of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on substance abuse, agrees. She stated that parents need to take the approach of “why are you asking, what’s going on around you?” so they can have a better understanding of what is happening exactly. Dr. Williams also said that, “What you think they want to know may not be at all why they’re asking,” so it's important to figure it out.
Diverting the conversation back to your child, by asking these questions, is a great psychological strategy to use before forming your answer. Heck, it's one of the benefits of being a parent and will help you guide your child down the right path.
Take this opportunity as a blessing. Do not hide from it; especially if you have used in the past. Do not worry about giving up the moral high ground to your child. Do not have any fear that just because you made some mistakes, it will be thrown back into your face in the future, or that your child will use your answers to justify their own bad behavior. Dr. Sharon Levy, Director of the adolescent substance abuse program at Children’s Hospital Boston agrees.
Dr. Levy recently stated, “That comes up all the time when I’m counseling parents,” and that “They say, ‘Well, what should I tell her — or not?’” Research has been somewhat limited, but thanks to a study by the Hazelden addiction treatment center in Minnesota in 2009, evidence suggesting that parents who better inform and take a more active role in early positive modeling with children reduces their kid's risk of substance abuse. The study found that many teenagers believed that parental honesty about alcohol and drug use was a big positive influence for them. We understand that every parent-child situation is different. Therefore you don't have to tell them everything from your past. Just be sure to take into account your child's developmental stage when answering. For instance, they way you answer a 13-year-old is different than they way you answer a 23-year-old.
Also, when explaining your own history with your substance abuse, don’t lie about it. Dr. Levy says that you should, “Tell them without glorifying it,” and that “if you think you made a mistake, tell them that too.” Using your own personal experiences as a teaching tool is as old as mankind itself.
Personal Experiences are Great Teaching Tools
Whether you did experiment, or have never used a single drug in your life, you can still pull from personal experiences. This is important because if you've never used, and you answer with a stern "NO", your child might then ask you how you really know it's dangerous, or why you're saying it's bad for them. The way you answer these questions is crucial. Here's your chance to prove your point.
Most people know someone that has been in some sort of trouble from either drinking, drinking and driving, or drug use. Whether it be from your college days, or a troubled family member, these experiences make for great real world examples of what can happen when you make bad choices. You can also use data and facts to back up your claims. Get on the internet and show them what happens to people when they abuse drugs and alcohol. There are some pretty graphic images available, so make sure you child is old enough to handle the visuals. Even though you'll see some terrifying things, this sort of real-life pictures can be really impactful.
You can also use examples of how you showed good judgement to avoid bad situations. Tell them about any time that you did not fall to peer pressure. Explain to your kids that you did not feel the need to take that drink when you were underage, because you knew it was wrong and against the law. Discuss how being brave, and not following the crowd, has helped you all throughout life. Make as many positive examples as you can, as this shows wisdom and honesty.
If you have used before, then your own negative experiences are great for sharing with your children; only if you're being honest though. Examples of how you could have done better in life, made better grades, gotten a better job, had more money, etc., if it were not for your addiction problems. Talk to your kids about the bad side of peer pressure, how you fell for it, and what happened afterwards. Make it clear that it was a huge mistake and that you regret these decisions immensely. Focus on how you've turned your life around and that you now understand how harmful these substances can be to your health.
Holistic Drug and Alcohol Rehab in Columbus OH
If you need dependable drug and alcohol rehab in Columbus OH, please make your first call to Legacy Freedom Treatment Centers. Calling us today could save your life, or the life of someone you love and care about. We offer outpatient treatment programs using only holistic techniques to cure your addiction problems. We do not use any drug substitution treatment programs. Make today the day you get your life back. Call Legacy Freedom right now.