Talk to Your Kids about Drugs
Children are told that drugs are dangerous, but family medicine cabinets are often full of prescription and over — the-counter medications. Music, TV, movies, and other media make drug and alcohol use look acceptable and even desirable. Everything about drugs is confusing to children and teens today. It's your role as an adult to give your kids the facts about drugs.
Start talking to your kids early; at age six or seven, a child is able to understand concepts of staying healthy. Continue to answer any questions with short simple comments that are factual, not preachy. Increase the amount of information as children get older, and never stop telling your kids that drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol are harmful. Kids don't understand concepts well unless they are reinforced over and over, and with the constant barrage of media and other input they receive, you need to counter those messages with the truth and with facts — that drugs and alcohol can hurt your body, make you sick, and sometimes even kill you. Emphasize that you don't want them to have the problems that come with experimenting with things that will keep them from having a happy, successful, and healthy life.
Start talking to your kids when they are very young, because studies show that many kids first try alcohol at age eleven, and marijuana as young as age twelve. Student surveys also show that when parents are available to listen, their kids are more likely to talk openly and to stay drug free.
Be a good example for your kids by not indulging in things that you are telling your kids not to do. Kids learn by your example. So if you need to take medication, do it when children are not present. Remember, they are following your lead.