Talking Tips: Ages 18+
Their ID says full-fledged adult, but you know better. Don't let them leave the nest without sharing your knowledge.
Talking to your young adult ages 18-25
Now that your child is a young adult, it can be harder to talk to them about substance use. The important thing is to maintain your relationship and allow that relationship to change naturally. Conversations should be just that, two-way dialogues where you are listening to each other’s points of view and sharing your perspectives.
Here are some tips for continuing the conversation with your young adult.
Take a balanced approach
Ask them about the latest research they are hearing about and what you are reading. Talk about how you vet the information you hear. Talk about the pros and cons of the decisions you are making. Talk about what healthy use means.
Talk about goals and what the realistic expectations are for their career path
Young adults are building their career path and building their resumes. Help them research what is expected of them and if they will potentially have to face drug tests in the workplace. Talk to them about how they want to be perceived.
Talk about safety
From sexual assault to driving under the influence, helping your young adult have a safety plan is important. Talk about how they think about and handle the potentially dangerous situations they may end up in.
Share a little more of your story
While you don’t have to give them all of the details, as your child becomes a young adult they can handle more of the stories from when you were their age. Share with them from your perspective what you did that was and wasn’t wise and how it impacted you.
Maintain family time
It is still important to have time together as a family. Make sure you take the time to keep your relationship strong by spending time with your young adult. This fund family time gives you more credibility to have an opinion about their choices.
Knowing the signs and symptoms and getting help
Watching changes in your young adult can be hard. It is important to watch for the signs of substance misuse and addiction. If you notice lying, unexplained financial hardship, troublesome social media posts or if your young adult is in college, slipping grades, it is time for much harder conversations. Not all signs point to substances misuse, but ignoring the signs can mean you miss opportunities to get your young adult any kind of help or support they need.
Did you use drugs in your past? As a parent, you wonder-“Do I tell my kids about it?” Sharing experiences is important, but what about this experience.
What should you say?
The key is to root the conversation in what your family values are and what you want for your kids. Leave out specific details. Instead focus on lessons learned, why your choices were not the healthiest, and what choices you would make if you could go back. Talk with them about what their values are, what their goals are, and what choices will help them reach their goals.
Whether it is your recovery, their recovery or the recovery of a friend, talk to your young adult about how to know if they or someone they know needs help for a substance use disorder. Share the impact of addiction and why getting help sooner rather than later is so important. Also, share how hard recovery is and how long it can take. For more information on recovery resources, go to mirecovery.info.