Are you going to encourage them to be open about maintaining a healthy relationship with substances such as alcohol? Is there a certain age you think is best to bring up this topic for the first time? What are your thoughts on having your children who are of age engage in using alcohol/drugs?
To all the people who have kids or someday want to have kids: how do you want educate your kids about substances?
I hope we have made strides forward in the knowledge base we can draw from. I would love to see a world in which we know the effects of all drugs and how to use them in healthy doses and what happens when that balance is overturned.
I’ll tell them the benefits. I’ll tell them the downsides. I’ll tell them when to be worried and how to be careful if they are using.
I’ll tell them that at the root of substance use disorder is a disconnection with community, and I will strive to teach them how to connect deeply with humans around them.
@polly I totally agree with your approach; knowledge is power! I think people tend to worry that being open about the effects of alcohol/drugs from an early age makes kids want to use/experiment , but this isn’t the case! Kids are bound to experiment no matter what (and to me, it’s super scary to think about my future kid experimenting), so it’s best that they are empowered to do so in a safe way. I know I can’t make my future kid’s decisions, but I know that I can have an impact on how much safety and forethought is incorporated into these decisions… through knowledge!
Ditto on the terrifying idea of kids experimenting! But they will!!! The war on drugs said ‘hey let’s get rid of drugs and the world will be better’ well that just pushed them into the black market making them stronger in dosage and more dangerous in quality control. It will be so much better if we and our kids are empowered with solid information!
Yes, yes, yep!
My husband and I have had this conversation. We’re not sure yet if we want kids - but if we do end up raising children, we’ve talked about how early we’d like to expose our kids to substance (we haven’t settled on the appropriate age, but definitely while they’re still “in the house!”) and how open we’d like to be in dialogue about use. We think that if we open up lines of open/honest/non-judgmental communication early about anything/everything, then our kids will hopefully always thinks of us as safe people to stay connected to as they grow older.
@ashleykm3 Maybe you can speak to what communication was like in your household growing up? Sort of generally, and as it relates to substance use…
My husband is a recovering addict, and my son is only 4 right now so thankfully he has not understood the chaos that has been our home the last few years. He didn’t know his daddy went to rehab or that our trip to my sister’s house was really me having to temporarily leave the situation in our home. The scary truth is: addiction is a family disease, and my son will be growing up in a home where recovery is a part of our everyday. My husband and I have talked about how we will educate our son about addiction. We haven’t really thought about how we’ll address substance use specifically, but rather, how we will address addiction and mental wellness. We want him to have the connection, support, resources, education and awareness needed so if and when the time comes for him to choose to smoke or drink or whatever - he will hopefully not need to turn to those substances as a kind of escape, isolation, self-medication, or coping mechanism for something else happening in his life. I feel like that’s all I can do - just provide him with love and support, because in the end, I cannot control anyone’s choices but my own.
@momentsandlight it’s so nice to hear that you want to educate your son about mental wellness (and addiction falls into mental health)! Also wanna send a kudos to you for planning for when the time comes to have ‘the talk’!
THE MORE YOU KNOW!
All of the information and knowledge we are currently gathering can help us prepare for any conversations we will need to have now or years down the road regarding substances. I agree with you 100%, @ashleykm3:
Experimentation will happen, so I think it’s about shifting how we communicate about the topic. I don’t have children, but I think a big reason I have a ‘healthy relationship’ with substances is because my parents were always willing to talk about everything with me. They never judged me, created a safe space for me to be honest, and were realistic about what to expect from me in my teens.
Some information that could be helpful:
Typically this is the way someone could go from non- use to having a substance use disorder:
non-use initial contact (first time trying the drug) experimentation integrated use excessive use addiction.
There are three types of Prevention we can look at (this is not all inclusive and I’m sure could include a lot more, but it’s a good start when thinking about this type of conversation):
- Primary Drug Prevention: stopping them before they’ve even touched drugs. This looks like professionals going into schools and teach parents warning signs, early detection, as well as parents becoming educated on their own.
- Secondary Prevention: signs of experimentation and the individual has been introduced to substances but no clear problem of addiction or abuse. This could be a good time to create a dialogue about the benefits and the downsides of using substances, how it could impact their future, and drive home what @polly mentioned about teaching them how to connect deeply with those around them.
- Tertiary Prevention: the substance use has become problematic and the intervention is to get them help.
A note from Village : Our Coaches are trained in the leading evidence-based methods. If you’re interested to learn more about Coach Erica, click here. Contribute 5 responses to the community to get a complimentary call with me!