Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council takes your questions, gives advice and shares solutions.
Our conversation starts today with a topic that was very much at the forefront in 2011 and unfortunately figures to reprise that role in 2012: Substance abuse.
What is the right age to start talking about drugs with your children?
The age of which you start talking to your children about drugs is a per child thing I think. Some children are immature and don't have a clue until they are faced with such things other children ask many questions early because they are in tune to many things and pay attention more. I have talked to both of my children about drugs (they are 11 and 8). I have not gone into extreme detail, I have only talked about cigarettes (because that is drug) alcohol and pot. I have mentioned other drugs but only said "other drugs." I talked about peer pressure and right and wrong. With happenings in town lately they had questions for me and I tried to answer them the best I could in a way they would understand it. It is important, I feel, to talk to your kids about these things because it seems now a days these issues are in your face at a much younger age and I would hope I would give them a base of knowledge to help them make good choices or ask more questions. I allow them to ask as many questions as they want and encourage it as much as possibe, so I know what and how theyare thinking. It is a terrible thing to have to talk about under age 13 but a very important discussion that needs to take place!
Each child develops and begins to comprehend issues at different stages. I don’t think there is necessarily a “set” age. My girls don’t necessarily understand what “drugs” are. We speak openly about the legal age for drinking and what being “legal” means. My girls are young so I’ll just make sure we pay attention to clues.
WOULDN’T IT BE NICE TO THINK THE ABOVE IS ALL WE NEED TO DO AS PARENTS?
This question comes on the heels of an overwhelming drug crisis in our communities so we are certainly not protected, but being proactive is the best approach. When asked about protecting my children from drugs a Reading Police officer had this advice to offer “children need a disciplinarian, not a friend. Children need to understand consequences and parents need to enforce those consequences. “He went on to say “don’t keep prescriptions drugs ‘on hand’ in the house, dispose of them properly.” Well the only drugs we have in the house are alcohol, acetaminophen and vitamins. We should be fine, right? I would really like to think so, but the reality is it only takes that one time for something serious to happen. Good kids do try drugs; we can’t keep them in a bubble. I’m one of four children and all of us experimented at some level, some experimented with harder drugs and I’ve been on the receiving end of many dreaded phone calls regarding a sibling I hope to never experience as a parent. My children understand consequences and I just pray they’ll carry a sense to think twice before they venture into unchartered territory.
My kids are seven and 10 and only recently did I discuss the topic of drugs with my 10 year old, and only because she saw something on the news and had a lot of questions. I took the opportunity to explain to her how using drugs can be bad on so many levels and explained some of them. It was an impulse talk, not one I had planned. I think in the back of my mind I had always thought middle school would be the right time to start talking about that sort of thing. We will periodically bring it up to reiterate the message. As she gets older there will be a much more detailed discussion, when she is mature enough to understand. I am glad however that we have at least introduced the topic and I think the fact that it was brought up by her and not me just lecturing, allowed the message to sink in a little more.