Smoking, drugs and alcohol – what do I tell my teenager?

Teenagers are told often enough, that smoking, drinking and taking drugs are bad for them. 

They’ve heard drugs are addictive but they think addiction won’t happen to them. They’ve been told smoking causes cancer, but maybe grandma smoked and she lived to 83. And drinking is often seen as grown-up behavior.

Yet the older the teen, the greater the likelihood they may have tried all three. It might be because they’re bored, they’re attracted by the danger of it all or they simply want to shock their parents.

You can help your teen resist becoming a regular smoker, taking drugs or binge drinking by keeping communication lines open. Educate them about the risks but don’t overreact when they admit to doing something they shouldn’t.

Peer pressure is influential, but so is family, so talk about your values. 

Decide whether smoking is acceptable at home. Choose if you want to introduce them to alcohol in the safety of your home, or wait until they’re legal age. 

You can help your teen resist peer pressure by coming up with a plan. They might want to say they can’t afford drugs because they’re saving for concert tickets; or they’re worried taking drugs will affect their sport.

Then, help them put that plan into action by rehearsing with them what they will say.