How Do I Help My Older Child Make Better Decisions?

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So, really good question.
Uh, because we have a lot of, uh, substance use, especially among our older, uh, adolescents and, and then into college.
So there's a few things that I would say with alcohol in particular, making good decisions. Uh, sometimes it's a social pressure. Sometimes we, people are just, you know what, it's what their friends are doing and, and it's available. Uh, sometimes it's to escape.
So we want to understand really what is our child experiencing? Why are they turning to it? Is there, are they numbing out or are they trying to fit in socially?
Maybe it's a little bit of both.
But there is an opportunity for us as parents to educate.
Uh, and I strongly suggest that as parents, we educate ourselves. Now, drinking in and of itself, uh, our society says, okay, at a certain age, it's success. It's okay. It would be really helpful if we actually looked at the statistics of what happens with substance misuse.
And when people become dependent upon it, we call it misuse or, uh, dependent rather than addiction.
Alcohol addiction is usually substance use or misuse and dependency.
So when we look at those terms, if I'm dependent upon something, it's because I can't stop. Now again, adolescents, uh, they're trying to fit in. But as a parent, how do I have this conversation? And there's one thing that I would emphasize. As parents, we need to prepare
to have meaningful conversations with our children.
Preparation is really critical. So what would you say if I was to role play with you, what would you say?
And this is really what you get from coaching.
What would you say if your child says, there's nothing wrong with it, my peers are doing it, mom, dad, what would you say?
Now again, well, it's wrong and it's gonna hurt you body,
and you're gonna become an addict. That might be, uh, one response. Well, I'm curious. Tell me about alcohol.
Tell me what it feels like when you're drinking it. Now, if you yourself drink, uh, then, then you can share your experience.
If you don't drink or you've had experiences with it, you can share those experiences. But really what you're doing is you're role playing with your child to help them understand, I'd like you
to think about alcohol,
or, I'd like you to think about vaping,
or, I'd like you to learn a little bit about it just
so you are making an informed decision.
Now, if it's illegal, you're underage.
That's an important conversation too,
because if it's illegal, my job
as a parent is to protect my child.
How do I do that? I don't wanna be controlling,
I wanna be loving, but I want to have these conversations.
So as parents, we want to have very hard,
meaningful conversations with our children.
It's not easy. Usually, the better our relationship,
the more influence we have.
If, if I, if I could say one thing in this
question, it would actually be this.
Strengthen your bond with your child
So you can have more influence.
Rules, relationships.
Relationships, always
before rules, focus on the relationship.
Then you can have influence with guidance or rules.
If you focus just on the rules, we don't do this,
we don't do this, we can't do that, you can't do this,
you can't do that, you can't do that, and you don't have
that relationship, then your child is going
to typically bond with other people first.
So we want to create an environment
where our children can turn to us,
where we can have an open conversation,
where we're gonna have hard dialogues.
If we can't do that, that's where we need to start.
And in that relationship, we have found
that when parents talk openly, directly about the dangers,
they educate, they inform,
they show their child that they care.
They're more likely to have influence.
Show your child that you care first,
and then you'll have more influence.

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Dr. Kevin Skinner