How To Really Talk To Your Kids About Drugs & Alcohol
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of National Institute on Drug Abuse. All opinions are 100% mine.
If I've learned anything from being a parent, it is that the tough talks are some of the most important ones, especially when those talks include discussions about drugs and alcohol. Because this is such an important topic for our family, we have been talking to our daughters about drugs and alcohol since they were young.
It was one of those things that I tried to work into discussions as soon as they were old enough to understand. A great resource and reminder each year has been National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW). This is an annual observance that brings together teens and scientific experts to shatter myths about substance use and addiction. This year it will be held January 22-28, 2018, and is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), both part of the National Institutes of Health. The week-long observance was launched in 2010 to counteract the myths about drugs and alcohol that teens often hear from the Internet, TV, movies, music, or friends.
Since its inception, the number of community-based events held to SHATTER THE MYTHS® has grown dramatically, with more than 2,000 held last January throughout all 50 states and several international sites. These events not only link teens with scientists and other experts, but they also create a safe place for teens to ask questions about drug and alcohol use, without judgment or lectures.
One of the key resources for NDAFW is the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge – a 12-question multiple choice quiz that teens and adults can take to test their knowledge about drugs. We as parents have taken the IQ Challenge and have used the results to start and continue the conversation with our teens about drugs and alcohol.
One thing that this quiz opened our eyes to is that it provided deeper information for us to share with our kids than to just tell them not to take drugs. I personally had no idea how long it takes certain drugs to reach the brain or what are the most common drugs teens use.
Both of those are important for me to talk to my daughters about. I only scored a 50% on the test and that is down from past years. I highly recommend taking the quiz even if you think you already have a good understanding.
Another really valuable tool is the “Family Checkup” resource, which provides parents with research-based skills to help keep their children drug-free.
- What to do if your teen has a problem with drugs. I'm hopeful I won't ever need this help, but it is good to know where to go if I did.
- Drugs: Shatter the Myths booklet helps teens and parents alike breakdown some misinformation on the subject.
- There is also a timely guide called Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know. With more attention and legalization of marijuana, this is something that I will be referring back to when my girls have questions or when I do.