October is Let’s Talk Month
When parents are aware of the questions young people ask or want to ask the question, “Am I normal?” the teens are seeking reassurance as well as information. Understanding this may ease parental discomfort when talking to their teens about sensitive issues like substance abuse. Knowing how experts recommend talking with young people about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs can further alleviate parents’ uneasiness. The experts say, be prepared to:
- Listen more than talk.
- Focus on behaviors, not persons
- Negotiate and compromise, or at least consider other views.
- Encourage an open exchange of ideas.
- Foster the young person’s decision –making ability.
- Encourage and receive questions.
- Admit when you don’t know an answer, and then go find the answer.
- Share your values and beliefs.
- Explore each other’s feelings.
- Show respect and agreement and support teens often.
- Keep a sense of humor.
- Be clear about your expectations and repeat them often.
- Listen, Listen, Listen!