Charity advises parents to talk to teenagers about drugs
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Parents in North Somerset are being urged to talk to their teenagers about drugs to help them stay safe.
According to Addaction, telling a teenager to ‘just say no’ can be counterproductive, while talking to children can highlight the risks and enable them to talk issues through.
The charity’s director Karen Tyrell said: “It’s totally normal to worry as a parent, but telling a teenager to ‘just say no’ isn’t helpful and is often counterproductive.
“Our advice is start the chat, keep talking, listen well, and don’t turn it into a big thing.
“It’s natural to want to protect your child. But as kids grow into teens they want to take risks – it’s part of the way they learn about the world.
“Parents need to educate themselves on the best way to help their kids stay safe and when it comes to drugs, we’ve made it our mission to help.
“Use the tips below, look at the other resources on our website and have a chat.”
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According to a survey commissioned by Addaction, fewer than one in three parents in the South West would feel very confident giving advice to their kids about drugs.
Addaction has launched its Have The Chat campaign to give parents tips on how to talk to teenagers.
n Do not make it a big thing – try to start a regular conversation so children know it is OK to talk about drugs.
n Pick the right moment where you are comfortable and have time to talk.
n You do not need to be an expert, draw on your own experiences and do some research if you need to.
n Listen without lecturing.
n Be patient and make sure they know they can come to you if things go wrong.
n Be realistic - there is a good chance every teenager will come into contact with cigarettes, drugs or alcohol at some point, so be prepared to hear answers you may not like.
n Do not give up if you feel the first conversation has not gone well.
Parents who want extra advice or support, can use Addaction’s free and confidential web chat service, staffed by trained advisors.
Resources for parents and access to a webchat is available at www.addaction.org.uk