Hypocrite. Judgy. Liar. Sometimes our teens have harsh words when the topic of drugs/drinking
is raised. Talksooner’s `Mom Squad’ to the rescue for those pesky questions our teens are asking.
Q: My 19-year-old son who lives at home, vapes constantly with no plans of stopping. I’m worried that my younger children will see this behavior as acceptable and normal. How do I handle this before I have a household of vaping teens!
A: The trick is finding a balance between starting a dialogue, so your child continues to be open and honest with you, while also giving the message that the vaping needs to stop.
An effective approach is to focus on the immediate downsides, like the cost of vaping, what’s inside the vape, how addiction can set in especially fast with nicotine, or the recent cases of sudden lung failure associated with THC oil.
If you can approach the conversation with curiosity rather than lecture, it will help your child be more honest, giving you better information for what to do next. After talking about it, partner with your teen to come up with a plan to stop. If a teenager feels involved, the more likely they will be to follow through. Throughout the process of talking about it and crafting a plan together, you may uncover that your child is experiencing issues more serious such as depression or anxiety. In this case, seeing a therapist is a good next step, or if you feel your child is addicted, a specialist in teen addiction is a great resource to support all of you.
Q: It seems like every week there are new slang words for drugs, with teens talking in “code.” If I hear my son or daughter use this drug slang, should I be concerned that they are using? Help me keep from freaking out.
A: As a parent, it’s so hard to keep up with all trends that are important to our kids. It’s a great idea to go to the expert you have in your own house- your own kid- to get the scoop on any new fads. So, if you hear words like “snow” [[slang for pain meds]] or “skunk” [[slang for marijuana]], being used and it’s not winter time, ask them to what those words mean. Or Google those terms together so that you can both learn more; using the opportunity as a teachable moment. And just because your youth is using a slang term for a drug, don’t assume it means anything more than your kiddo is trying out a new word. Again, by asking questions around the word and its meaning, you can find out how much they actually know or if they are just trying out a cool new fad.
Q: I always get caught up in finding the right time and place to talk to my kids about drugs. Honestly, not knowing when and where makes me pretty anxious and I find myself avoiding the topic altogether.
A: It’s absolutely normal to feel this way! Today’s “drug talk” isn’t a lecture or a one-time conversation. It really works best if you approach it like an ongoing, informal conversation. It can be as simple as asking your son or daughter, “What have you heard about vaping?” This type of question can be asked virtually anywhere...on a walk, while traveling together in the car...having a snack together. This more casual approach allows them to tell you what they “know,” and your chance to respond with some facts and more importantly, YOUR feelings about vaping.