Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Parenting Pointers: Addiction Counselor’s Important Tips for Parents Discussing Drugs with Their Kids for the First Time

Back to school marks a time where many parents face the first conversation about drugs and alcohol that they will have with their children. Knowing what to say, and not say, during this initial ‘drugs talk’ is a stressful reality for parents.

Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse recently said “by the time they are seniors, almost 70 percent of high school students will have tried alcohol, half will have taken an illegal drug…and more than 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose.”  

Board-certified Addiction Professional and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor Lyle Fried of The Shores Recovery and Treatment Center ( wants parents to keep a few tips in mind before this big talk:

1.)  Don’t Try to be the Cool Parent. Being the cool parent by discussing your history with drugs/alcohol certainly seems like a good way to connect with your kid. But, relating your experience can have a negative impact. If you make it personal then that might give the teen a thought process that “dad did it once, so I can.” Fried says it is important to be understanding of your teen’s plight, but don’t use your past as an example as a way to connect with them on the issue.

2.)  What are The Signs? – Although it’s your kids going back to school, this is a time for you to study too. Get to know the common signs of drug or alcohol use if you are not already aware. This also means continuing education is key. Every few years there are new drugs or drugs that increase in popularity. Make it a point to research and remain informed

3.)  Just in Your House is NOT OK – for many parents who may have experimented with drugs or alcohol when they were teens, the understandable belief that “kids will try it, so it might as well be where I know they are safe” is a common one. This is an ineffective way to manage the challenges of teen drug use because it is very likely that getting a pass at home will give your child a sense that outside your home is ok too.

4.)  You aren’t a Perfect Parent – like your kids, you will make mistakes, even during the first drug conversation. Following any discussion about drugs and alcohol, take time to think about how that conversation went. Come back to issues you may have missed and take note of any messaging mistakes so you don’t repeat them. Ultimately, give yourself a break. Conversations about drugs and alcohol with teens are not the only factors as to whether they experiment, use, or abuse.

5.)  No Punishment for First Mistake – It may be difficult, but know that after you’ve had the discussion, your child might drink alcohol at a party or try pot. The first time is not the time to come down hard on them. Understanding is the key to giving a teen the comfort to keep an open mind to discussing tough decisions.

To read Lyle Fried full bio, click here
Lyle is a Board-Certified Addictions Professional, an Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor, an Approved Training Provider for the Florida Certification Board, and a Certified Health Coach. Because of his experience and industry knowledge he continues to be a regular and featured speaker at various industry events,

He has served as the Executive Director, Clinical Director & Program Manager of several Residential and Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities. Lyle was VP of a 6-county homeless coalition and a founding member of the Mental Health Action Team in Miami-Dade County. He has served as a Consultant & Licensure Specialist to numerous facilities and has served as a Drug Court Panel member. Lyle also served as a Primary Therapist in high-end facilities and is a board member of the Alliance for Addiction Solutions (AAS), a board member of the Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR) and Floridians For Recovery (FFR), and a board member of Mont Sinai Ministries orphanage and schooling Bayonnais, Haiti. He is also a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and the International Substance Abuse & Addiction Coalition (ISAAC).

Lyle also continues to work in several areas of advocacy at the local, state, and national level. In 2016 he was invited to meet with senior White House officials including the White House Chief of Staff, the head of the Parity Act Task Force, the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and several Senators to discuss and help shape addiction treatment awareness. 

Facebook, click here
Twitter, @shoresrecovery

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