Parents & Carers
Visit the young persons’ services page on the Addaction website to find out more about how we work with young people, their parents and carers.
Use the service finder on the main Addaction website to find your nearest Young Addaction service.
Talking to young people about drugs and alcohol. Some do’s and don’ts.
Do – listen carefully to what the young person is saying. If you don’t understand some of the terms s/he uses, ask for an explanation.
Do – focus on the person, not just on the use.
Do – try to use open questions which will enable the young person to talk and explore ideas.
Do – be positive. Giving warnings such as ‘X is very dangerous’ may backfire by making ‘X’ sound exciting or glamorous. Highlighting positive images of health and promoting self-esteem may be more productive.
Do – check your facts – ensure any information you give is accurate.
Do – keep things in perspective – remember that for most people, experimenting is a phase they pass through and come out of without suffering serious harm – there is no inevitable progression into addiction and all its related problems.
Do – accept the limits of what you can hope to achieve. Many young people will not immediately give up using whatever you say or do. Encouraging less harmful drug use may be more effective than trying to persuade them to stop altogether.
Don’t – overreact or panic – don’t assume that anything drastic has to be said or done in the course of the conversation.
Don’t – try to talk in-depth to someone who is intoxicated.
Don’t – lose sight of what you aimed to achieve when you began.
Don’t – be judgmental. Attitudes and values regarding drugs and alcohol vary enormously – don’t assume that young people will share your point of view.
Don’t – try to use slang terms or jargon you are not completely familiar with.
Don’t – make blanket generalisations, moralise or sensationalise.