Tough Parenting Conversations Are The Most Important

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of National Institute on Drug Abuse. All opinions are 100% mine.


Something happens to you when you become a parent, beyond the practical aspects of raising your child. It is like a balloon full of thoughts on everything you thought you knew pops up in your mind when you least expect it. Or, at least that is how it happened when my oldest was born. 

 I remember sitting with her on the couch late one night during one of her every hour on the hour feeding times and seeing a commercial that talked about drug and alcohol abuse playing on the TV in the background. That bubble in my brain filled up with 1,000 things I needed her to know about drug and alcohol facts and the dangers of abuse.   


I decided right then and there that I wouldn’t wait to start the conversation until they were older. Instead, I would share it in little bits right away, and I did. It seemed a bit strange to be talking to a baby about these things, but the reality is that it actually helped me feel comfortable as the years went by because I had already found the words I would be using to share with them on this important subject. 

If this is something that you are talking to your kids about, or need to talk to them about, I have a great resource for you. National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM. NDAFW is an annual, week-long observance that brings together teens and scientific experts to shatter myths about substance use and addiction. The observance is being held January 23-29, 2017, 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 MYTHSTM,SM has grown dramatically, with more than 2,000 held last January throughout all 50 states and several international sites. Events link teens with scientists and other experts, creating a safe place for teens to ask questions about drug and alcohol use, without judgment or lectures. <—- I love that part. Teens need to feel comfortable asking questions so that they can absorb and use what they are learning. 


I feel like we are doing a really good job with our girls talking about this subject, and taking the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge – a 12-question multiple choice quiz that teens and adults can take to test their knowledge about drugs – proved that.

We both took it and felt we had a good grasp on the subject. This is a good resource for parents to take and use the results to start a conversation with their teen about drugs and alcohol. One thing that I didn’t know, and neither did Maddie or Ashley, were the names that different drugs are called on the street. We knew them by their regular names, but I thought that it was really good for the girls to both know other names for them so that they can know what people are talking about if they are offered one.     

We found the whole site full of factual information for all of us and I can see this becoming something we use to keep teaching Emmy about this as she grows into her teen years too.

Are you talking to your teens about drug and alcohol abuse?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • They may not be the most comfortable conversations to have with your child but as a parent, they are very necessary. It is so important that kids have all the information so they can make the right choices.

  • It SO important to have these conversations with our kids. Tough or not, they have to happen.

  • We haven’t quite made it to those usually it but I’ve already started talking to my child about it. I want to make sure that he is aware what is out there and how to avoid as much as possible.

  • What a great resource. It’s never too early to start thinking and learning how to talk to your children about important issues.

  • Honestly, it really scares me to think about these conversations! Will I do it right?! Ugh! Thank you for helping to open up this conversation!

  • As a sibling to two drug addict siblings drugs scare me. My parents didn’t raise us to do them and my siblings got mixed up in them. I can only hope my kids know right from wrong due to our many talks.

  • Yes! It’s difficult to talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol, but very important. I like how this starts with a quiz that assesses knowledge. Kids these days know so much more than I did when I was their age.

  • Such great ideas. I always felt it was important to talk about things with my kids as they got older. Like enough to tell them but not over ‘tell’ depending on their age. I was lucky to have 3 kids grow up into awesome adults and they now make choices that they feel are good for them.

    Great article!

  • We made sure to talk about the dangers of drugs and alcohol with the kids often. The conversations would be geared to their ages and casual. It is such an important subject to talk about.

  • I made sure my kids friends knew they could come to talk to me about anything. I was the Mom they could call if they were stuck at a party or needed advice no matter the time.

  • I don’t have kids yet but I do remember having a discussion with my mom about it during my early teens. It’s definitely an important conversation to have with kids.

  • We’ve had several serious talks with my son recently. He’s 10, but he has been asking questions and I don’t want to side step the convos and just jump in and we talk. I’d rather he heard things from me directly

  • I agree that it’s really important to talk about drugs and alcohol with kids. My son is only 6 and he already calls cigarettes death sticks. Some people may think I’m wrong for teaching him that, but considering my grandfather smoked cigarettes and died of lung cancer, I think it is pretty fair. He also knows that alcohol is only for adults, but at some point I will need to talk to him about that as well. We live in a dry county, but you never know.

  • Yes, it’s really important especially when you have teens. Serious talks could really help to raise them as a good listener and children.

  • It can be hard to teach that at a later age so I admire your parenting skills! 🙂 Kids now a days should be thought well about that topic so they won’t lose their way. This should be covered at school too. 😀

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