Talk about the hard stuff

By: yourtown 15 Jun 2015 Kids Helpline

Kids Helpline is urging parents and carers to talk to their teens about drugs and alcohol.


It is vital to talk about the impacts drugs and alcohol can have on health and wellbeing and how young people can make better choices.

Kids Helpline’s tips for starting a discussion about drugs and alcohol include:

  • Ask Questions - Try starting a conversation by asking what your child thinks about drugs. Whatever the answer, be sure to remain nonjudgmental and understanding.
  • Discuss Current Events - If a well-known athlete is caught using performance-enhancing drugs, talk about why they may have been tempted to use them as well as the potential adverse consequences for the athlete's health and career.
  • Stay Involved - Be aware of what's going on in your child's life, so that you can see early warning signs, such as behaviour changes for no apparent reason. If you notice a change, ask if they are experiencing any problems or why they seem to be acting differently.
  • Set Boundaries - Make sure your teen knows that you do not approve of using drugs or alcohol, and explain the physical, emotional and legal consequences of breaking the rules. Talk about your expectations before an issue arises.
  • Be a Role Model - Provide a good example to children and young people; model the kinds of healthy behaviours you would like them to adopt. This includes drinking alcohol in moderation or quitting smoking.
If your kids aren’t talking to you about drugs and alcohol they are getting their information somewhere, make sure they’re getting reliable, accurate facts from someone who cares – you. Wendy Protheroe, Kids Helpline General Manager.

Visit the Hot Topics section on the Kids Helpline website for more information on alcohol and other drugs.

If young people want to talk to someone they can call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or use email or web counselling services.

We’d love your feedback about the issues facing kids and young people today. Comment below.

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