Parenting is not easy, and can be downright difficult at times. There is only so much a parent can do to protect and help their child through difficult decisions and periods in their life. That said, it is very important to communicate well and create a trusting environment where a child feels comfortable asking for advice and help.
Many parents are reluctant to bring up the dangers of drugs with children for fear that they may be opening a Pandora’s box, or they believe that their child isn't the type to experiment with drugs so there really is no need to open what can be a difficult conversation. However a child can never be too young to be educated about the dangers involved where drugs are concerned. Once they are aware that drugs exist it is then time to explain exactly what they are, how they work, and the consequences of using them.
One of the best things you can do for your child is to show them, by example, your own drugs-free lifestyle. By setting the right example at home and dealing with everyday life issues openly without trying to escape from them, you can show your children there is no need to resort to drugs when problems arise. It stands to reason that if you use substances or alcohol every time life deals you an unfair blow it’s quite likely that as children grow older they will emulate that example. Knowing that you, as their parents, have a good grasp of life makes a child feel secure and that is one of the best foundations for preventing a child from experimenting.
As your child grows up and becomes a teenager trust becomes vitally important in order to keep communication open. When a teenager is able to approach a parent knowing they will not be judged and will get a calm reaction to whatever their problem might be they will be less likely to turn to any outside influences in order to fix the problem. Show your teenager all the different options open to them when it comes to issues they encounter, but ultimately leave the decision making up to them. After all, even if they occasionally make the wrong choices they are learning that there are consequences to the choices they make. The same applies to a time when they are offered drugs, knowing if they should say yes or no will be something they are familiar with.
Fear, as previously mentioned, is also a common factor when dealing with children and the issue of drugs. Keep in mind that fear is likely to close down rational thinking and consequently can result in knee-jerk or even violent over-reactions. When the topic of drugs is raised either by you or your child remaining calm and relaxed about the issue will lead to the best outcome. Try to listen and not lecture. Educate yourself about the different types of drugs out there and be honest in your answers.
Remember a child will usually turn to drugs because there is a deeper problem. The drug use itself is a symptom of the problem so it is important to identify whatever issue or influence has caused them to go down this path. Many factors contribute to a person who ends up addicted to drugs, social conditioning is one of them and a lack of problem solving skills is another. Sort out those two issues whilst your loved one is still young and you are already arming them with the necessary tools to avoid drugs. Remember too that sometimes a situation can be beyond your control and you can do more harm than good by trying to resolve it alone. There is help out here. Seek the guidance of a professional addictions councillor should you ever find yourself in that unfortunate position.