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Getting Real About Meth

Take the Offensive

You're too busy, it's awkward, your kid knows better -- parents have all sorts of excuses for not discussing meth abuse with their kids. More than half of all teens, in fact, say the subject has never been broached in their family. Since teens typically interpret silence as implicit approval, experts say you should do the following:

  • Send a clear message: Tell your children repeatedly that you expect them not to use meth or other drugs. Explain the dangers of abuse -- including addiction, organ damage, and brain damage -- and the effects, from falling grades and impaired judgment to injuries and death.
  • Use teachable moments: When you're watching TV shows or movies, reading the news headlines, or talking about events in your friends' lives, take every opportunity to discuss substance abuse so it's part of daily conversation, not a lecture. Prep your kids for real life by offering advice on how they should deal with peer pressure and social situations involving meth or other drugs.
  • Insist on truth -- and consequences: Set a reasonable curfew for your teens. Tell them in advance that you'll be following up -- talking to their teachers and coaches, calling their friends' parents, even showing up unexpectedly on occasion -- to make sure they're where they say they are. Discipline for breaking the rules should be firm and consistent. Stay up until they come home so you can talk to them and discreetly check for signs of abuse.