Our Addiction Recovery Centers CCO Has Some Advice
There may come a time when your teenagers become curious about your current or former use of drugs. It’s not an easy discussion to have, but talking to them is something that you will need to do to keep an open dialogue with your kids.
Deni Carise, Ph.D., Chief Clinical Officer at our addiction recovery centers, offers some advice for parents on how to best answer your teen’s questions about your past and current behaviors. First, if you never got drunk or high in your younger days, tell the truth, and explain your reasons.
If, however, you did use in the past, you’ve got several choices. There is no one right way to respond and the opinion that any one of these is always the right way to go is just that – an opinion. Most parents answer in one of the following ways:
- Don’t admit to anything. Some people prefer to lie. Others are evasive; turning the question back on the teen (“My past is less important than your future.”)
- Minimize your use. For example, you might say you tried alcohol or drugs once or twice, but didn’t like it.
- Take responsibility for your past use. If you choose this route – and many today do – you should:
- Not glorify past use (teens can interpret this as implicit permission to use)
- Be clear about any problems it caused you or friends. If referring to marijuana in particular, mention that marijuana today is much stronger than it was when you were younger, so the situation is not the same
- If you have family members who had drug or alcohol problems, note that this is a disease that has a high degree of hereditability, similar to diabetes or heart disease and that family members need to be particularly cautious if they choose to drink.
It’s best to try and keep your emotions in check during the discussion. If you feel yourself breaking down, take a moment to regroup. Let your teens know it’s ok for them to express their feelings. It’s all very healthy for everyone.
If someone you know is struggling with addiction, call our addiction recovery centers at 1-800-RECOVERY. Who do you know we can help today?