Learn to Communicate

Do you know your kid's favorite music group? What's cool at school? The more you communicate, the more at ease your child will feel about discussing drugs and other sensitive issues with you.

1. Be clear with your kids that you do not want them using drugs. Ever. Anywhere. Do not leave room for interpretation. And talk often about the dangers and results of drug and alcohol abuse. Once or twice, a year won't do it.
2. Be a better listener. Ask questions and encourage them. Paraphrase what your child says to you. Ask for their input about family decisions. Showing your willingness to listen will make your child feel more comfortable about opening up to you
3. Give honest answers. Don't make up what you don't know; offer to find out. If asked whether you've ever taken drugs, let them know what's important: that you don't want them using drugs.
4. Use TV reports, anti-drug commercials, news or school discussions about drugs to help you introduce the subject in a natural, unforced way.
5. Don't react in a way that will cut off further discussion. If your child makes statements that challenge or shock you, turn them into a calm discussion of why your child thinks people use drugs, or whether the effect is worth the risk.
6. Role-play with your child and practice ways to refuse drugs and alcohol in different situations. Acknowledge how tough these moments can be.


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