When I said, talk to your kids about drugs, I meant
D.A.R.E.: “Say that you do not find alcohol and other illegal drug use acceptable. Many parents fail to state this simple fact.”
Y.C.F.: “The exact opposite on both points. We think alcohol and drugs are very acceptable and fun too. And we don’t fail to state this simple fact, often.”
D.A.R.E.: “Explain that drug use hurts people. It can cause AIDS, impaired coordination, slowed growth, and emotional harm such as feelings of isolation or paranoia.”
Y.C.F.: “Drugs help you in everything you do! You won’t feel bored anymore, and everything will seem like fun. When you take drugs you no longer feel lonely.”
D.A.R.E.: “It is also important to discuss the legal issues associated with drug and alcohol use because a conviction for a drug offense can lead to prison, loss of a job or college loan.
Y.C.F.: “Your parents worry about everything. Be cool and you won’t get caught.”
D.A.R.E.: “Talk about positive, drug-free alternatives and explore them together. Some possibilities may include sports, reading, movies, bike rides, hikes, camping and games.
Y.C.F.: “Talk about the positive aspect of drugs! They are cool and a lot less effort. If you aren’t good at sports then this is the true sport for you. And movies, huh? That’s where I learned that drugs are cool! Listen, when you take drugs it makes you a winner.”
D.A.R.E.: “Approach your children calmly and openly and do not exaggerate.”
Y.C.F.: “Well, we agree on the calm and open bit.”
D.A.R.E.: “Talk face to face. Try to understand each other’s point of view. Be an active listener and let your child talk about fears and concerns while not interrupting or preaching. Establish an ongoing conversation rather than giving a one-time speech.
Y.C.F.: “We already do this very, very well.”
D.A.R.E.: “It is also important that you set an example and avoid contradictions between your words and actions. To help your child deal with peer pressure, act out various situations in which one tries to convince the other to take drugs and come up with at least two ways to handle each situation.
Y.C.F.: “We’ve been doing this one for years while you parents have been napping.”
D.A.R.E.: “As parents, be alert to changes in your child’s mood. Drug use may cause your child to become more irritable, secretive, withdrawn, overly sensitive, or inappropriately angry. In addition, your child may become less responsible by not going to school or coming home late. Watch for changes in friends or lifestyles. Physically, drugs may cause your child to concentrate less, lose coordination, weight and create an unhealthy appearance.
Y.C.F.: “Are you slow at catching on, or what? We already do notice, and rather than criticize and bug him for these things (which you parents do) we think it’s real cool and we praise him for it.”
I hope this dialog will help you realize the need for more than just the standard answers to keep your kids safe from drugs.
* The quotes from the "experts" are taken directly and without abridgement from the D.A.R.E. website, click here. The quotes from Y.C.F. are from Getbliss.