Substance Misuse

SUBSTANCE MISUSE – A GUIDE FOR PARENTS

INITIATE THE ONVERSATION:

  • Make time, plan what you want to say
  • Use topical events, media (television programmes, films) as a reference point for initiating conversations
  • Use family meal-times or time spent during travel to host discussion
  • Be open, honest and receptive

 

KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING:

  • Keep the communication channels ‘open’ and LISTEN whenever possible – allow young people to talk and express their opinions
  • Give clear messages
  • Try not to ‘preach’
  • Remember young people are influenced by what you DO as much as what you SAY – be a good role model
  • Young people can be influenced as much by positive behaviours as well as ‘negative’
  • Remember peer group influence works two ways – young people are often attracted or choose to associate with different groups as a preference – and not just as a reaction to pressure
  • Keep a rounded view of any issues – it is not just about immediate dangers – there are longer term consequences too (health, criminality, employability, travel prospects etc)
  • Don’t use ‘scare’ tactics or inadvertently ‘mystify’ or ‘glamorise’ topic
  • Try not to panic or over-react

 

SOME TIPS FOR PARENTS:

  • Get up to date with credible, accurate and up to date information – be willing to learn
  • Talk to and keep in touch with other parents
  • If necessary utilise local advice and support services – don’t delay getting help
  • Look at diversionary activities – having a range of hobbies and interests is a good protective factor against getting involved in substance misuse
  • Negotiate but keep to firm boundaries and rules
  • Supervision – know where they are, what they are doing and who they are with – be observant
  • Wherever possible delay the onset of drinking alcohol – and be aware of the influence of drinking within family/friends circles on young people’s attitudes

 

SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR:

  • Unexplained and uncharacteristic changes in mood and demeanour
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Lack of money / money or other items missing
  • Avoidance
  • Sickness
  • Weight loss or unexplained loss of appetite
  • Over anxious
  • Mixing with different friends
  • Problems with memory, concentration
  • Slurred speech
  • Unusual smells (e.g. chemical) from clothing/body
  • However be aware that not all such signs above are necessarily or exclusively linked to substance misuse

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: