The Heart to Heart with Dad: Talking to Your Children About the Dangers of Substance Abuse

It would be almost impossible to overstate the effects and dangers of drug abuse, so many fathers find themselves overwhelmed with the idea of talking to their children about this sensitive topic. After all, how can you truly convey the impact of something so tragic and destructive while also maintaining an atmosphere of openness and honesty? 

However, while there are many obstacles and this is indeed a difficult conversation, it doesn’t have to be impossible. In fact, with a few simple tips, many parents find that discussing this subject with their children can be easier and more productive than they ever thought possible.


Go with Honesty 

In talking about the dangers of drug abuse with your child, a lot of dads find there can be a strong temptation to attempt to frighten the child out of any curiosity on the subject by giving him or her misleading or inaccurate and exaggerated information. However, luckily, this isn’t necessary. 

Not only are the hard facts themselves often enough motivation to steer clear of drug use, but children and especially teens generally greatly appreciate honesty and forthrightness on the part of their parents. If your child senses that you are being truthful and trying to give the real facts, they will be much less likely to disregard what you’re saying or distrust your advice. 

Additionally, if you yourself used to have struggles with substance abuse, there’s nothing wrong with openly bringing it up in the conversation. Kids appreciate when their parents don’t pretend to be perfect. And while you might worry that your child will see your words as hypocritical given your past relationship with drugs, it’s actually much more likely that they will respect your integrity and directness in sharing with them, and you will be much more relatable to them.


When to Test 

Much anxiety often goes into the idea of having your child take a home drug test, and many fathers or parents in general don’t know when or how to start the process. In this case, a few basic guidelines can be tremendously helpful along the way. 

Typically, if parents get the impression their child has been dishonest with them about their experiences with drug use and isn’t going to open up, they find that a home drug test is an excellent, preventative option to consider. A home hair test, such as HairConfirm, can be a reliable way to detect long-term (90 day) drug use, get accurate results, and raise the accountability bar for your child, all from the comfort of your own home. 

While no parent likes entertaining the idea of asking their child to take a drug test, it may have to be one possible option to put on the table when you suspect your child might be using drugs.


Research the Facts 

The final guideline to keep in mind is to have a firm grasp of the facts surrounding the dangers of drug abuse. These facts will not only help you have this difficult discussion with your child, but they will also help you better understand what issues you should be most concerned about when it comes to your child and drug abuse. 

For example, if you’re concerned about your child being involved in prescription drug abuse, it can be very useful to know that prescriptions drugs have led to more teen deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. In fact, despite only accounting for 5% of the global population, people who live in the US take 75% of the prescription drugs. 

Though facts like these can be disturbing, it’s important to keep them in mind in order to understand the biggest challenges you might face in discussing the dangers of drug abuse with your child.