DRUGS TALK WITH TEENS
NEWS STORIES ARE A CHANCE TO TALK TO KIDS ABOUT DRUGS
AS A parent, trying to talk to your teenager about drugs can be overwhelming.
But with so many recent stories about drugs at summer music festivals, it is a discussion that needs to be tackled head on.
Bailey Risorto, a youth educator for the Top Blokes foundation that mentors young men, said parents could take advantage of recent publicity about drug abuse and get a conversation started.
He said approaching the subject with teenagers and helping them make betterinformed decisions could help them resist peer pressure and reduce risk-taking behaviour.
“Parents need to recognise that every teenager will go through a situation where they are approached with or around drugs and alcohol — it is a reality,” he said.
“Therefore the conversation should be as standard as talking about puberty and/or sex.’’
But the way parents approached the subject would make all the difference.
“A parent should always be honest and upfront. They should be calm and openminded,” he said.
“A parent should be more educated than their child ... for example pornography, don’t just say it’s bad, do the research, look at options and points of view.
“Try and not be biased. The aim is to educate and listen, it’s not about control.”
Mr Risorto said both parties should be willing to talk.
“Try and empathise and educate rather than demonise the topic.’’
But what if the teenager is difficult?
“The truth is, sometimes this is unavoidable, you may not be the ‘right’ person for them to discuss this particular issue ... Hopefully you’ve done the leg work beforehand so that they will come back to you,” he said.
Education also played a key role in dispelling myths, Mr Risorto said.
Did he have any advice for teenagers?
“Don’t be too quick to judge the advice of your parents/carers/loved ones.’’
Many teens experiment with drugs at summer music festivals so it’s important for parents to talk to them about the risks.