GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) Talking to kids about hard topics like drugs is never easy, but communication will always be key to help keep kids away from dangerous behavior.
Jon Weeldreyer, a psychologist with Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, says it’s crucial for parents to have the difficult conversation about drugs because kids want to know things and will seek our answers from someone else if they can’t find it at home. If parents build a solid relationships with their children, the children will trust them.
How to talk to your kids:
- Have conversations, not lectures.
- Do your homework. Don’t depend on what you’ve heard. There are vast quantities of information on the internet.
- Stick to respected sources – .gov sites are a good place to start. If you haven’t heard of the website before, don’t spend your valuable time there.
- There is a very large quantity of web sites that are pro-marijuana and substance use. They often avoid talking about peer reviewed research and instead use anecdotal cases where people report positive effects from use. This often results in inaccurate information.
- Don’t exaggerate the negative parts of cannabis use. If you give false information or exaggerate, you’ll lose your credibility.
- Schedule time with your kids – one at a time or in groups, depending on your family structure and traditions. Don’t spring it on them.
How to answer tough questions:
- Most importantly, “I don’t know” is a really good answer when you don’t know the answer. Let them know that you and they can look that up, together or separately, and then get back together to discuss it.
- Remember that this is a complicated issue. Our laws, culture and even the medical community are very divided on many issues about marijuana.
- BE HONEST! You’ll likely get caught in any dishonesty, and you’ll lose credibility.
- If kids ask you personal questions about your own substance use, you always have the ability to defer that answer. You can say something like “I’d like to think about that before we talk about it.”