Difficult though it may be, it’s important to talk to kids about some of life’s darker elements—including addiction. Using age-appropriate language and seizing teachable moments, parents and guardians might be candid with their kids about what addiction entails, and help to instill in their kids healthy attitudes about the dangers of drug use and the realities of substance use disorders.

Here are a few tips for starting the conversation.

  • Make sure not to cast the conversation in terms of blame; addiction is nobody’s “fault,” and in fact scientists don’t fully understand what causes addiction.
  • Explain to your kids that when people use drugs or alcohol, they lose control over their thoughts and actions, and the way they behave may not be at all normal.
  • Also explain to your kids that people who use drugs or alcohol have a disease, but may not realize it; they may blame their problems on other factors.
  • Make it clear that addiction is a healthcare concern—and that while there is no cure, those who seek treatment from a doctor can get better and live happy, healthy, full lives.
  • Try to be honest with your kids. You don’t necessarily have to go into every dark secret of your past, or of a family member’s struggle with addiction, but it’s also important not to lie or mislead.
  • Note to your kids that the best way to avoid a struggle with addiction is to never get started with drugs or drinking in the first place.

Something else to know is that schools and local addiction recovery centers often have resources that can be used for talking to kids about addiction. Make use of these resources if you need a little extra help talking with your kids.

Contact us today to learn more about addiction recovery.
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