We all know it is important to talk to your kids about drugs. The question is when to start talking to them and what to say. The answer is probably sooner than you would think and that is because peer pressure starts earlier than you think. This post is sponsored by First Check Family but all opinions expressed are my own.
Teen Drug Use Statistics
The government collects data and reports on teen drug use statistics. I will share a few of those statistics with you here:
In 2015, 11.8 percent of 8th-graders reported marijuana use in the past year.* That is pretty much 1 of 10 8th graders!
34.9 percent of 12th graders had used marijuana during the year prior to the survey.* That is pretty much 3 out of 10 12th graders!
Over 60% of teens report that drugs of some kind are kept, sold, and used at their school.*
64% of teens say they have used prescription pain killers that they got from a friend or family member.*
All of these teen drug use statics are not to freak you out but rather to remind you that drugs are something that you need to be aware of and the best way to confront the drug danger is talk to your child about drugs. I hope these teen drug use statistics help give you a realistic picture of drugs and adolescents. We all like to think our child is immune but I have to realize that peer pressure to do drugs is out there.
The CDC says that your young teen (ages 12-14) might face peer pressure to use alcohol, tobacco products, and drugs, and to have sex and they suggest being honest and direct with your child when talking about sensitive subjects such as drugs, drinking, smoking, and sex.
Talk To Your Kids About Drugs
The best way to protect your child from peer pressure to do drugs is talk to your kids about drugs. According to the Prevention Coalition, “When a parent talks to their teenager regularly about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, they lessen the chance of their child using drugs by 42%. However, only 25% of teens report on actually having these conversations with their parents.” Sort of shocking right?
I think it is a denial issue. My daughter is 11 and she is a perfect angel so do I have to talk to her about drugs? The answer is yes. You have nothing to lose. It doesn’t have to be heavy. Just ask your child what they know about drugs. Your child’s elementary, middle, or high school likely has an anti-drug program so they may already be aware of some basic info. This is a chance to see their reaction, let them ask questions, and for you to tell them how you feel about drugs, and set clear rules. Encourage your child to avoid peers who pressure them and to instead chose friend with a positive attitude.
Don’t risk drug addiction down the road. Talk to your kids and let them know the dangers.
How To Tell If Your Child Is Using Drugs
Hopefully you have the communication door open with your children. If not, open the door. Ask about your child’s day and listen to even mundane details because you care. Meet and get to know your child’s friends and the parents of those friends. Show an interest in your child’s school life and activities they are involved in. Be clear about goals, expectations, and rules. Discussion is a two-way street and with teens you may have to try harder by asking more questions but they will be glad to know you care. Also, it is good for them to know you are paying attention to them, what they do, and who they do it with. If the communication door is open on a regular basis, you will be more likely to notice if anything goes amiss.
If you feel like something is amiss, trust your gut and try to talk to your child about it. If talking goes nowhere or if you are even more concerned after your talk, you may want to check this list of physical and behavioral signs of alcohol or drug abuse. You may also want to check the latest drug slang just so you can listen for it. But most importantly, trust your gut. If something feels wrong, something probably is wrong.
If you want to know for sure, you can get at home drug test kits. First Check Family is the leading provider of at home drug test kits. The company offers a full portfolio of drug testing products ranging from a marijuana home drug test to a prescription drug test. First Check Home Drug Tests provide parents with accurate answers to the difficult question, “is my child using drugs?”, in the privacy of their own home. The at home drug test kits may also be used an effective deterrent. My husband teaches at a private high school and they do random drug test as a drug prevention method and it works very well. It doesn’t replace open communication but it is a great tool know about as a parent. You can learn more at firstcheckfamily.com
I hope this post helps you become aware that your kids will likely be exposed to drugs. When this happens, it will be so helpful to them to already have had a chat with you about drugs so know the dangers and the expectations. Do you talk to your kids about drugs? Do you think you might start now? Which teen drug use statistics did you find most shocking?