When should I start talking to my kids about drugs and alcohol?

I have a 4 year old, and a baby on the way. I am always wondering what I can do as a parent to keep my kids from drinking/ doing drugs. Sure, there is a ton of advice out there.. that is not what I am seeking here. I have a question and I want to know what parents of kids around your kids' age think about this:
Do you think it would make an impression to take your kids to an AA and substance abuse meeting, so that they can see the struggle that so many people suffer from the addictions they have? Maybe talk to one or two of the people there and get their stories? It seems that we just tell kids NO, they are bad for you.. but I am not sure they REALLY understand why??

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 9:23 AM on Nov. 3, 2008 in Teens (13-17)

This question is closed and filed in the CafeMom Encyclopedia.
Answers (22)
  • My kids have seen first hand what drugs can do to a persons life.. They are 15 & 19. Their father is an crack addict. So, they know first hand about drugs. I have no doubt that they will NEVER touch drugs in their life.. I think its a good idea what you have to take your kids to AA meetings, substance abuse meeting, etc.. Let them hear first hand.. You still have plenty of time to do so.. Good luck to you!
    honeys_sugamama

    Answer by honeys_sugamama at 9:35 AM on Nov. 3, 2008

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  • I would not do that. I have an open relationship with my children and they know all about drugs, drinking and smoking. I think that if you talk to your kids honestly and let them ask questions you should be okay.

    You are right that you can not just tell your kids NO and never explain things to them because then they will just want to try it more.

    cornflakegirl3

    Answer by cornflakegirl3 at 9:35 AM on Nov. 3, 2008

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  • I think it starts when they are 4 or less. Not the discussion about drugs and alcohol, but the establishment of a very strong foundation where they grow up feeling loved confident, with dreams and goals, and the belief that they can reach them and are supported, and the ability and skills to stand up for their beliefs. I have relatives who have very bad addictions to alcohol and drugs, We did not expose them to that on a regular basis because i just didn't want them to see it as an acceptable way of life, however they have met and can clearly see the health hazards as well as the difference in lifestyle. We also don't drink at all at so they don't see it. I have a 16 year old who has friends who have started down that path and he is opposed by his own choice not just the threat of punishment.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:37 AM on Nov. 3, 2008

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  • Well, yeah, I think having an open relationship and really talking to your kids about it is key... but I still think seeing it from people who are struggling with the consequenses cant hurt. I have lost 3 friends to drugs. I plan on telling my kids all the details of what happend to these people, when it started, etc...... I want them to know that it really sucks, and that most people dont ever recover and struggle their whole life.. because most times, they do... or it kills them.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:39 AM on Nov. 3, 2008

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  • You can't, all you can do is teach them and educate them to the best of your ability. My dd is 17 and has been raised in a Christian home while she is not doing drugs or drinking she has experimented. One of her friends called one night saying I should go pick her up from this party because she was drunk. I'm very cautious about where I allow her to go and was told parents were going to be there. Yeah they were there alright, I was told they knew nothing about the liquor that was there. While I wish she never experimented I'm proud that she has made the decision not to continue and is aware of parents who allow their children and others to partake in such activities and avoids those households. Keep the lines of communication up this is so important, Some people don't I feel this is foolish, because you can't talk to them, or help them.

    Peace, <>
    JoyceTN

    Answer by JoyceTN at 9:40 AM on Nov. 3, 2008

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  • Yes, I agree that a strong foundation, etc is very important. But I think people also have to realize that every kid is different, and will make very different choices, regardless of their upbringing. My sister became a 'rebel' at 14.. drinking/drugs/sex/stealing cars.. you name it. I never once got in trouble as a teen, knew how to make the right choices, and already knew the dangers of drugs/ drinking. We were raised by the same parents, but yet we are two extremely different people, who made different choices, despite how we were raised, and what we knew...
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:42 AM on Nov. 3, 2008

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  • My daughter has seen what drugs can do to people and she still tried it. It's like coming from a alcoholic family either will follow and do the same or be repulsed and not go there.

    Peace, <>
    JoyceTN

    Answer by JoyceTN at 9:43 AM on Nov. 3, 2008

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  • I wouldn't take a young child, even a teen to a AA meeting, its not the place. Especially if it's a smoking one, though there aren't much of those anymore. My DH has been sober for 8 yrs. There are so many walks of life at these places. Sometimes, people come high, they want to stop, they just need help. I wouldn't take the chance to expose my children to that. I remember yrs back when my BIL received his 10yr chip,his teenage children didn't come.It might make other members uncomfortable too.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:47 AM on Nov. 3, 2008

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  • To answer your question, I think about this stuff, my oldest is 6. I think, just lead my example. Adults that drink openly at family functions and parties, I don't think is a good idea. Its probably half the reason I first tried it. You need to talk about it and be honest. You cant approach this as do as I say, not as I do. If you drink at family parties or out to dinner and then drive home. Your children will eventually have their eyes open to it. They'll either learn it's okay or not from you first.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:47 AM on Nov. 3, 2008

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  • I don't have kids in thier teens, I too have young kids 5 and 7 months. As I remember growing up anytime an adult said what could happen on drugs I just laughed and thought they were funny. I actually had friends who did drugs while saying things like "that won't happen to me" The best you can do and (I plan on doing this)is educating your kids about drugs, and keep an open line of communication with your kids. Telling them no isn't enough, arming them with information and hopeing they make the right decition based on what you have givin them.
    Izzyscrazymom

    Answer by Izzyscrazymom at 10:08 AM on Nov. 3, 2008

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