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It’s a common dilemma for parents who have had their own struggles with addiction in the past, especially if those difficulties occurred prior to parenthood or so early in the child’s life that the child doesn’t remember the details. At a certain point, it becomes important to begin talking about the dangers of drug use and how best to handle difficult situations where a kid may be exposed to drugs or alcohol, or feel pressured or tempted to experiment with their use. Eventually, your child will ask: “Did you ever try drugs?”
Throughout the course of your child’s life, you will find that there is a balance between being completely transparent with your child and phrasing things in such a way that you are being honest but still protecting their innocence. That is to say, if you lie to your child, you will break their trust when they inevitably find out, and you will have a hard time trying to rebuild that trust, especially on the important issues like drug use and abuse.
But how do you find that line that allows you to be honest with your child without going overboard? Here are a few tips to help you:
You may have some solid ideas about what should and should not be said to kids about substance use based on your own experience, or you may feel like you had little guidance yourself and therefore don’t really know where to begin with your own children. Here are some tips to help you stay on track and relay the message that will be most helpful to your child:
How did you handle the issue of talking to your kids about your history with substance abuse? Do you feel like it worked well? What, if anything, would you do differently a second time around?