How to inform your children about drug and alcohol addiction

words Alexa Wang

There are a few reasons why parents should definitely talk to their children about drug or alcohol addiction. The first reason is that D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Reinforcement Education) programs that were at schools some time ago didn’t have any positive results. You can find a statement from the National Institute of Justice Research Brief about this program (1998) and its low efficiency.

What can we do if there are no more alternative programs at schools? What are truly effective ways to prevent and to teach find the best way to beat alcoholism? The latest studies show that the main reason for kids to drink is their parents and relationships with them.

Don’t waste a minute

Once you find out that your kid was drunk, there are no reasons to wait to do something. Some researches prove that quitting alcohol is much easier at a younger age. A vice president of the Phoenix House Foundation states that in case of smoking or drinking among teenagers, there’s a much higher risk of becoming obsessed in comparison with the people that start drinking after they are 20 years old.

The first try of alcohol or drugs may be a personal desire of a young person, but no one knows for sure if the next one will be not because of addiction. The more times your kid smokes or drinks the harder it will be to give up. There are no recommendations to rush but waiting for more than a week or two may be too much.

Talk to you kids when they’re 8-10 yo

It’s good to have at least a few talks with children before they get a chance to try any kind of spirits or drugs. Studies show that teens start drinking full portions of spirits at the age of 15 on average. Having the first few talks about alcohol and its influence on health should be before its age. You can start doing it when the kid is 8-10 years old.

When parents start early, they prevent any chances to get their kids misinformed by others. Other kids may start playing around with alcohol and drugs too early and share their so-called positive experiences with your kids. Such information has nothing to do with real facts.

Express your worries and opinions

A bigger part of today’s teenagers are aware that their parents will not be happy if they try smoking or drinking even once. Experts have noticed that adults hesitate whether to start a conversation or not. However, there’s a need to deliver a clear and precise message to the kids about the worries and opinions of the parents.

If kids live in another household, adults should make a deal on what to say and how to react to any cases of taking alcohol by their kids. One more issue to consider is giving medications without a doctor’s prescription. It often happens when kids suffer from pain.

Stay on the bright side

Parents shouldn’t always be strict to warn kids about alcohol or drugs. Being on the bright side means encouraging children not to try or quit as soon as possible. Shifting the focus from negative to positive may be more effective in your family. As there’s still a bigger number of teenagers that neither smoke or drink spirits at all.

Kids should realize that they will be encouraged after they quit drinking. It means that parents will show trust and care rather than express their worries that kids will take alcohol one more time. If parents choose the latter way, this may lead to negative consequences.

Pay attention to emotions and feelings

There’s not always a need to talk about drugs or alcohol. Parents can teach their kids to deal with emotions, feelings, and stress. Researchers state that those kids that have various mental health issues or the ones that don’t get enough emotional support in their families have higher risks to get obsessed in the future.

For example, parents can make dinners and eat together. Support is crucial for teens as its lack leads to the consumption of alcohol or marijuana about twice a week. Besides having dinners together, adults can organize mutual walks for a long distance, cycling, doing sports, taking care of pets and so on.

Show the real consequences

Providing theories about the harmful impact of alcohol and drugs is good but not to the full extent. There should be real examples of life. If you don’t know such addicted people, you can google any accidents that have happened to obsessed people in your location.

Parents can find volunteers who teach people how to quit alcoholism and help them overcome this obstacle. Kids will see the precise cause and consequence. There will be a picture in mind every time they face an opportunity to smoke or drink. It will be easier to refuse.

Try not to shame

Shaming any experience of taking drugs or drinking alcohol is not so effective as treating such cases as health issues. Parents sometimes refer to the future of the kids, their education and their future career. This seems logical and evident that addiction will have a negative influence on these issues.

Kids cannot connect today’s addiction with a mere education at a college or even work after it. So it’s good for parents to use more efficient ways like treating it as a disease and look for the best way to stop drinking. And this should happen here and now. Convincing children that it’s a severe disease that you will fight against all together will have a positive outcome and help a positive outlook towards any addiction treatment programs.


Parents may influence what decisions their children will make regarding taking drugs or refuse to do it. Regular talks at an early age will become efficient preventive measures. If there are already cases of drinking or smoking marijuana, adults shouldn’t waste time and have talks with their kids to provide them with rules and support at the same time.


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