Tips For Parents Talking With Kids About Drugs

As a parent, it can be difficult to talk to your children about drugs, yet it is a vital part of promoting their health and safety. It’s important that you broach the subject early and often, so that kids and teens understand the potential dangers of drug use and are prepared for any conversations they may have with their peers. You may feel anxious or unsure of what to say and how to say it especially if you’re unfamiliar with the subject. We get it! To help you get started, here are some tips on how to talk to your kids about drugs

How Do You Tell Your Kids About Drugs?

Start Early but Stay Age-Appropriate 

Experts recommend that parents start having conversations about drugs as early as possible. For younger children, this may mean explaining a little about what drugs are, as well as why these substances are off-limits. This will help lay a foundation for more serious conversations when they become teenagers. With teens and young adults, the explanation should be more in-depth and direct, covering the risks associated with drug use and techniques for avoiding peer/social pressure.

how do i tell my child about drugs

Be Honest 

It is essential that you provide accurate information when talking about drugs with your child. Don’t shy away from tough questions or difficult topics. While some parents may think it’s best to “just say no,” research shows this approach is not effective in preventing drug abuse in teens. Instead, be honest about the risks associated with drug use and explain why making smart decisions is so important for their well-being. 

Be Open to Questions About Drugs 

When discussing drugs, it’s important to maintain an open dialogue with your kids and make sure they feel comfortable talking openly with you. Avoid language or tones that could come off as judgmental or shaming, instead focus on understanding the facts and helping your child make informed decisions. Try to stay open-minded when it comes to answering any questions your child may have about drugs and alcohol. This includes questions about addiction, peer pressure, treatment options, or anything else related to substance use. Answering these questions honestly will help build trust so that they feel comfortable coming to you for advice in the future. 

Discuss Consequences of Drug Use & Provide Resources 

Having access to resources can be incredibly helpful for both you and your child when it comes time to discuss drugs. There are numerous websites that provide useful information on different types of drugs and their effects. It’s also important for kids to understand addiction and the consequences that come with substance use (both short and long term). Together, explore information on where individuals can find treatment options if needed. One such resource is right here on We provide informational resources on substance use, as well as a quick online quiz for your child to take if you are worried they have a problem with drugs or alcohol. If necessary, this drug screening tool matches the individual with appropriate nearby treatment. Providing these resources can give both you and your child a better understanding of the issues at hand and lay the groundwork for future conversations about drugs. 

Set Clear Rules Around Substance Use 

It’s important for parents not just to talk about drug use but also set clear rules around it as well. Make sure your child knows the consequences for breaking these rules and enforce those consequences if necessary. This will help ensure that your child understands how serious this issue is and may make them less likely to engage in risky behavior involving drugs because they know there will be repercussions for doing so. 

Drug Resources for Kids & Teens

Talking about drug use with your children can be difficult but it doesn’t have to be intimidating! With some research into what kind of substances may exist in your kid’s environment and honest discussions around why substance use should be avoided, you can help equip your kids with the information they need in order to make smart decisions when they encounter drugs in their lives. Setting clear rules regarding drug use will set the tone for how seriously this issue should be taken by everyone. These meaningful conversations will provide them with all the tools they need in order to stay safe and healthy when faced with the temptation of drugs now or later.