If you’re a parent or a teacher this list of topics is likely to sound quite familiar to you. However regardless of your child’s age, if they are going to school, then you need to be talking about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs with them. Drug and alcohol awareness is one of the most important and tricky topics to discuss with children, here are some ways to help address each age level.
Young Children (Primary School)
Though we would all like to believe otherwise, the truth is that even primary school students may be offered or otherwise exposed to alcohol and other drugs. It is essential that we communicate with young children to begin what will hopefully be a long running conversation about the dangers of drugs and ways to avoid them.
- Keep it simple – For example, ask them what they would do if a new school friend asked them to try a sip of beer when no parents or teachers are around. Explain that it is not the right thing to do and tell them it’s ok to say no.
- Don’t overwhelm them – Going into lots of details about the dangers of drugs will probably do more damage than good; while it’s important to educate them it’s also important not to expose them to more than they know.
- Be a good role model – If the first thing you do when you come home is head for the fridge, it’s going to give out the wrong impression. Make sure you drink when they are not around and don’t endorse the fact.
Adolescents (Middle School)
The middle school years can be particularly tricky when it comes to teens, drugs and alcohol awareness. A large proportion of middle school students have either tried alcohol or drugs or know someone who has. So your conversations with your adolescent need to be much more to the point and frank that they will be exposed to drugs.
- Be specific – Explain to your child the significant damage drugs can inflict, that you absolutely disapprove of their use, and that your adolescent needs to be prepared to say no when presented or pressured with drugs.
- Be realistic – Don’t overstate your case, stick with the facts, reality provides plenty of information about the very real devastation that drugs can cause.
- Be supportive – Your adolescent needs to know that you’re on their side. Let them know that they can confide in you without any fear.
Teenagers (High School)
High school is usually a time of increased freedom for teens and increased worries for parents and it’s not likely that your child’s teen years will be entirely complacent ones in your house.
However that does not mean that teen drug and alcohol use is a pointless discussion, or that any teen who experiments is destined for abuse and addiction.
- Stay strong – If your child is going to directly challenge or attempt to disobey your rules about alcohol and other drugs, the teen years are the most likely time for this attempted to occur.
- Be understanding – Your teen may come under fairly intense pressure to use alcohol or other drugs. Conversely, they may actively seek out opportunities to indulge. If they do make a mistake try not to overreact, it will not help them to see that they have done wrong.
- Get help – If your child’s behaviour has exceeded your ability to influence or control, then get whatever help is necessary. From counselling to a recovery support group, you have a number of options. Take advantage of the help that is available.
Drug and Alcohol Awareness Workshops have been created to help children and young people develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to appreciate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. They promote responsibility towards the use of drugs and relate these to their own actions, both now and in their future lives.
2020 Dreams offers workshops across the UK in educating young people about drugs and its misuse. We also act as consultants in development and training programs for your staff to tackle these problems.
Our Drugs and Alcohol Education Services provides youth centres, schools and educational establishments with up to date relevant knowledge understanding and skills in relation to substance misuse.
To book a workshop on peer pressure please contact us on 0800 689 9909 for more information.