We think it is appropriate to start speaking with your kids before they will ever be exposed to these sorts of pressures. This may mean as young as fourth grade. It is important that we educate our children at a young age because if they are in a situation where they are faced with drugs or alcohol before they understand what these substances are all about, they may not know what could be the consequences of using these substances. We want you to educate your children about the biological and social dangers that these sort of substances can present, especially to a person who's body is growing and developing. Children's bodies continue to grow and develop throughout school and if they begin to introduce foreign substances, the effects could be stronger and more addictive for them because of these changes. Also, of course, there are legal ramifications for using these substances, or even just being around them. Inform them of the laws in your area and let them know what happens if they would be caught with drugs or alcohol.
Too often it seems as though kids get the message of stay off drugs and alcohol without being presented the information as to why this is important. Educate, guide, and let them know the consequences of what using these substances will be. Also let them know the consequences at home will be if they are ever found using these substances. These steps will help your teenagers make decisions on their own and also help them in peer pressure situations.
Good luck and take care!
Boys Town National Hotline-A resource for parents and teens
The best time to start teaching your child to make good choices is when they are tiny. From the beginning, talk to your child about choosing healthy foods, and why they are good choices. Extend the conversation to other healthy choices - mommy might have a small glass of wine, but that's plenty, it's not good to drink enough to make you unable to think clearly. Daddy doesn't smoke, because it makes him cough, and it can make you sick. Medicine is only for when a doctor recommends it, and only to be taken the way it is prescribed - all drugs do something to your body, and you want to make sure it's fixing a problem, not changing something that was working okay.
Notice and talk about what's wrong when a motorcyclist doesn't have on a helmet or leather clothing, when someone drives too fast, and everything else that you want your children to internalize. If you can instill values before your child goes off to school, you're ahead of the game. If you wait until they are teenagers, children often don't want to listen to their parents anymore. Get them while they are receptive!