How do I talk to my child about drugs?

How do I talk to my child about drugs?
How do I talk to my child about drugs?

You have to find the right words, choose the right moment, the right examples… How to inform your child about drugs without frightening him or encouraging him to try?


Your child will learn about drugs sooner than you would like; in fact, as soon as they enter school, children risk being exposed either to the substances themselves or to information that is often biased and not necessarily accurate. So it is better that they learn what they need to know from your mouth. This is why specialists recommend to approach the subject of drugs from the age of 5 to 7 years. Do you think it's too young? However, its age will work in your favor since children are more receptive when they are younger.

By the way, don't think that bringing up this delicate subject will make him want to taste banned substances. Studies show that there is no link between information and possible consumption. In fact, it's quite the opposite: knowing that you're ready to openly discuss this subject with him, your child will be reassured and less likely to try the experiment on the sly.

The right words in the right way

To begin with, it is better not to flood it all at oncetoo much information and advice. Ask him to tell you what he knows first, so you know where to start. Encourage him to reveal more about the comments he has heard and then you can give him an accurate picture of the world of drugs and alcohol.

The document Drugs… Let's talk about it? from the Ministry of He alth and Social Services of Quebec contains a lot of information that can help you feed your discussion according to your child's age.

  • Bringing up the subject in a particular context can make it easier for you. Take advantage of a film, a news item, a family situation to show what happens in practice when you are under the influence of a drug.
  • With this in mind, you can talk about it in a role play. You can ask him, “What would you say if someone offered you drugs? Then help him find the answers to these questions.
  • Avoid using an authoritative tone when discussing this topic with your child.
  • Of course you have to convey your message of caution and beware of drugs, but it is just as important to listen to what your child has to say about it.
  • Without minimizing the possible effects, don't be alarmist when talking about the consequences of drug use.
  • Make clear rules about drug use (this advice applies especially to mothers of pre-teens, of course)
  • Lead by example!

On the other hand, it is better not to dwell too much on the anecdotes of your past. These little stories can deflect the discussion and interfere with its flow. On the other hand, if you used drugs on a regular basis, be honest with your child and explain to him that you do not want him to make the same mistakes as you.

If he wanted to try: why?

Young people who start using drugs do so for a variety of reasons.

  • Do like the others and impress your friends
  • Have fun
  • Try a new experience
  • Challenging authority and provoking adults
  • Combat your shyness
  • To let off steam or overcome boredom
  • Imitate adults

What if he tried: how do you know?

Certain indices combined with each other can reveal drug use, whether regular or not. Here are a few:

  • Redness of the eyes
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Dry, mushy mouth
  • The frequent sniffles
  • The drop in school results
  • Going to places where drugs are trafficked
  • Coming home often later
  • More frequent removal of the teenager to his room
  • Presence of unusual objects in his belongings

And if he had really tried: what to say?

Despite your concern and perhaps even your anger, do notdo not attack him by criticizing him, calling him names and threatening him with the worst punishments! Your bond of trust must survive this ordeal, you don't want it to close in on itself even more and hide what it is going through. The choice of words and the tone used could have consequences that you are trying to avoid, so try to be as calm as possible in the circumstances and choose your words carefully. The MSSS document suggests this approach: “Listen, I have the impression that there are certain things that you are not telling me, and that worries me. I want you to feel comfortable talking to me about it. I'm not trying to lecture you or punish you. However, I would like to know what is going on so that I can help you make good decisions.”

Further reading

  • Tobacco, drugs and alcohol: talk about it with your children
  • Canadian Public He alth Association
  • Drugs… If we were talking about it,Ministry of He alth and Social Services (MSSS)

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