Do's and Don'ts

Talking to young people about drugs can be a daunting and sometimes a fraught experience. However, by knowing the facts about drugs and some simple do's and don'ts when addressing these issues with your child can help them understand more about the risks and keep communication open should they have problems. 

​Do listen carefully to what the young person is saying. If you don’t understand some of the terms s/he uses, ask for an explanation.
Do try to use open questions which will enable the young person to talk and explore ideas.
Do be positive. Giving warnings such as ‘X is very dangerous’ may backfire by making ‘X’ sound exciting or glamorous. Highlighting positive images of health and promoting self-esteem may be more productive.
Do check your facts, ensure any information you give is accurate.



Don’t overreact or panic, don’t assume that anything drastic has to be said or done in the course of the conversation.

Don’t lose sight of what you aimed to achieve when you began.
Don’t be judgmental. Attitudes and values regarding drugs and alcohol vary enormously – don’t assume that young people will share your point of view.
Don’t try to use slang terms or jargon you are not completely familiar with.
Don’t make blanket generalisations, moralise or sensationalise.