Talking to Children about Drug Abuse

From a young age, children’s eyes are open. They are aware of much—the good and the bad. Sadly, they begin to see lying, hurtful behavior, fighting, yelling, and more. We do not live in a perfect world, and neither do our children.

Whether or not our own family members or friends are struggling with addiction, it is important that we talk to and educate our children on addiction and drug abuse. They will see it eventually, and as parents, role models, guardians, etc., it is our job to make sure that they are aware of the dangers.

Here are some simple guidelines to follow when talking to your children about drug abuse:

Start early.

We all love and hate the stage when children start to ask a lot of questions. “What is that? Why is it called that? What does it do?” Some children may start to ask these questions over and over as they realize how much the world has to offer. It depends on the maturity of your child, and what they are exposed to, but it is never too early. You simply have to adjust how much you tell your child. You could simply tell your 10-year-old, that sometimes people do things that they are not supposed to. You could use cigarettes as an example, and explain to your child that they hurt your body, yet many people still use it. Tell your child that if they are offered something that they are not familiar with, they should politely decline it and then talk to you about it after. Your child needs to understand the boundary between safe and unknown. Make it clear.


As adults, it’s easy to feel like you completely understand the world, especially in comparison to a young child who is just starting to learn. Nonetheless, it takes listening to understand a person, no matter how much knowledge or understanding you may have already. Listen to your children so that you can know what is going on in their life. If you don’t listen, they may stop talking.

Make rules.

When children become teenagers, they understand that certain things must not be done. There are rules and consequences. Talk to your child to make sure they understand your house rules. Set limits and consequences.

Be affirmative, yet warm.

Don’t let your child doubt your love. Inform your child that you set rules because you care and want them to be safe. Let your rules be a firm discussion, something that becomes a bonding point, not something to fight over. You want your rules to be something you both agree on, so that you can proudly watch as your child follows them. If rules are broken, continue to be supportive and loving as you enforce the consequences.

Be open.

Remember that it is a young child’s questions that start discussion. You need to allow the child to grow up, continually asking questions and trusting you. You want that trust, but really, you need that trust to be there when they may be more consistently exposed to drugs.

Be individual.

Lastly, do not forget to parent individually. If you have multiple children, each child may require a different approach to addiction education. Be aware of the differences, and ready to make a game plan so that you and your child/children will be ready to say no to drug abuse.

If your child asks about recovering from drug addiction, take a look at our website. You can learn how we help people recover from addiction and alcohol abuse.

Four Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Does this sound familiar?

Your loved one drinks alcohol, but you have started to ask yourself, “Are they drinking too much?”

You do not want to accuse them of being an alcoholic, but alcohol can be abused. Your loved one may need help.

Here are four signs of alcohol abuse:

You are worried.

This is the first sign and it’s what led you to look into more signs of alcohol abuse. You get gut feelings for a reason. Whether it’s your mother or your best friend, you know them well enough to detect when things may be getting out of hand. That is why simply being worried is a sign that your loved one may be abusing alcohol.

Drinking occurs just for the sake of drinking.

When adults start to drink outside of common social situations, this may be a sign of alcohol abuse. Of course, there will be parties and social activities where drinking takes place, but drinking outside of these situations may be a bad sign. If your loved one is drinking frequently, just because they can, this can be a problem.

Alcohol has become a frequent stress reliever.

Alcohol can be used to lighten the mood, but if it is used often to relieve stress, boredom or other issues, this may be abuse. If your loved one suffered a major loss and drinking has severely increased, your loved one may be abusing alcohol. Alcohol is not a solution, and it should not be used as such.

Drinking has overpowered life.

If drinking has caused a neglect of responsibilities, or an overpowering of life, it could be abuse. Alcohol can cause negative problems such as stress on relationships, reckless behavior, and even loss of a job. It can also create health problems and endanger lives, especially if drinking occurs while driving. If this has happened to your loved one, or if any of these symptoms or problems occur due to the use of alcohol, you should seek out help.

Alcohol abuse is a dangerous thing, and can even be an addiction. At Steps Recovery Centers, we know how to detect alcohol abuse, but even better, we know how to get back from it and prevent future dependence.

Read more about our alcohol treatment here.