How to Discuss Drug Addiction with Older Children

How to Discuss Drug Addiction with Older ChildrenOlder children, tweens and teens are greatly influenced by peers. During this age children become increasingly social and want to be a part of a group or several groups. Older children often measure themselves against their peers, and they look at appearance, clothing, grades, popularity and other social factors as ways to evaluate themselves and others. They may react to this evaluation by doing the following:

  • Feeling inferior and developing low self-esteem
  • Feeling isolated or lonely because they are not in a particular group
  • Feeling failure and not knowing how to increase their personal success
  • Feeling frustrated about not knowing how to overcome their perceived insufficiencies

These negative emotions can cause an older child to be more receptive to taking chances, making poor choices, succumbing to peer pressure and seeking relief from their negative feelings by self medicating.

Helpful Hints for Talking to Your Older Child about Addiction

It is important that you speak with your older child about your addiction and the dangers of drug use to ensure his or her understanding. As you become more open and vulnerable in front of your child, you may be setting the stage for your older child to become more open and vulnerable to you. The following are hints and tips for talking to your older child about addiction:

  • They know more. Older children think they have all the answers, and this perceived knowledge may come with many misconceptions which you will patiently have to address.
  • They expect more. You let your children know what you expect from them, and they have come to expect things from you. Speaking about your addiction may not match these expectations, and you will need to help your children find balance that incorporates this information.
  • They resist more. You will have to find the time, space and atmosphere for these conversations with your older child, and they will resist engaging in a meaningful talk.
  • They accept less. This age group questions more, challenges more and pushes the boundary further. Patience and persistence are going to serve you well when discussing your addiction with your older child.

Get Help Explaining Addiction and Addressing Addiction

Addiction is a difficult concept for most adults to understand, and helping a child understand addiction requires even more care and attention. We can help by giving you resources for sharing addiction with others or for helping yourself overcome drug use. Please call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about substance abuse and addiction. We are here to help.