10 ways for encouraging young people to speak with you about drugs

1. Be part of their life
Always have time for your children. Be interested in what they are interested in and have set time for joint activities. Do not fear to ask where is your teenager going and with whom. It is important to spend time together, as a family. For example, try to speak and eat together every day and find other possibilities to enjoy in shared time, as family.

2. Listen to them
Show willingness to listen to them and your children will feel more comfortable with you and they will listen to what you have to say more carefully. Ask them for opinion when family decisions are being discussed and decided. That's how you will show that you appreciate their opinion. Try not to interrupt them and not to react in a way that might prevent further discussion (e.g. nervous, impatient, lecturing, undermining etc.) Give them support so that they can feel free to speak about their problems.

3. Be behavioral example
When illegal drugs are in question, saying “do as I tell you, and not how I do” is not valid. If you are taking illegal drugs, you can't expect that your child will take your advice in account. Do not underestimate possible influence of your behavior on your children. Specially if you are using tobacco or misuse alcohol and medicines.

4. Be sincere
It is important to be informed, but do not pretend to know everything. Be prepare to say: “I do not know, but I'll try to find out and I'll look up for answer”. Be sincere and clear in articulating your attitudes so that it is easier for your children to be sincere with you.

5. Chose right moment
Chose right moment to talk on this subject, use situations that occur naturally. It can happened while watching TV, while talking about someone from school or when you are responding to something that was difficult to talk about as well.

6. Be calm
To be calm and reasonable is very important. Do not over react. Remember that anger and explosive, impulsive reactions can only close door for further communication and make your contact with child impossible. Explosive reactions are sign of weakness and are not good starting position for successful influence on young person.

7. Avoiding conflicts
When there is a conflict, it is difficult to solve problem. Try to understand their attitude and encourage them to understand yours. If the conflict occurs, stop further conversation and continue when you are calmer. Do not hesitate to say – I am sorry.

8. Continue to communicate
When you started talking it is important to do that again. Be ready to talk about drugs with your children and start that as soon as possible.

9. Set the limits
Most young persons expect and appreciate some basic rules. If they are involved in setting the rules, they will feel encouraged to be more responsible when respecting rules. When rules are set once and you agree on consequences of breaking those – then implement them.

Create and agree on way how young person should react in situation when they are exposed to drugs. For example, tell them that you are ready to come to pick them up if that is needed even though it might be very late.

Nevertheless, explain them that you would prefer if they could avoid getting in situation where they would be exposed to drugs.

10. Concentrate on positive things
Try not to react only on mistakes of your children and on things that you are not satisfied. Praise your children when they behave well and specify things which they are doing well. Support them in having good opinion about themselves and treat them with respect.