By Steps to Recovery on November 18, 2012

The other day, as my doctor was doing a treatment on my back, he asked me how to talk to his child about drugs when she is old enough. My doctor has asked me plenty of questions in the past about parenting, because you see, I do it a little differently than he does and he finds my feedback interesting. For example, he has asked me about how to get his 3 year old to eat when dinner is ready, how to get her to potty when it’s close to bedtime so she doesn’t wet the bed and how to get her to listen the first time he says something so that he doesn’t end up raising his voice to her after repeating himself a few times…(I struggle with that myself! And I hope to take the advice I gave him and use it more myself. Funny how we always have the answer, deep down, but in the moment, we don’t necessarily apply it!)

These questions and all the others were pretty easy for me to answer, I just gave him the usual gentle parenting answers that I believe are the most supportive of the child. But this question….How do I talk to my daughter about drugs when she is old enough? I was speechless for a minute, stuck in my own head asking myself the same question. It was blaring at me.

How do I talk to my daughter about drugs?

I can say I honestly hadn’t put much thought into it, other than, someday I would be honest with her. Someday. I really had to sit with this question. How do I talk to my daughter about drugs when the time is right? How do I educate her in a way that gets the point across in a truly meaningful and lasting way?

I told my doctor what I feel in my heart. I believe that if you have a healthy attachment, when the time comes, you will just do it. He wanted to know how to know when the time has come. I told him that if you have a healthy attachment, I believe you will know when something is coming up for your child. He told me he has never done drugs and he wouldn’t know what to look for.

I had to think about that for a minute.

I told my doctor I meant that if a child has a healthy attachment with her parents, hopefully, a parent will trust their child enough, and their child will trust them enough, that the child will be able to come to the parent and talk about what is going on. OR if it gets beyond that and something does happen, that because of their healthy attachment, energetically, the parents will know that something is going on. And that because of healthy attachment and that deep soul connection, a person knows when the time is right.

I believe this deeply…And I don’t have the answer. I have a 20 month old baby. We are so far away from talking about drugs right now, I have no idea what that will look like for us. But what I do know is what I needed as a young person in that moment…

I explained to my doctor that I feel if I had cared more about myself I would have been capable of speaking up for myself when I needed to. If I had trusted my parents enough, if I weren’t so damaged by my early childhood, if I felt trusted….Things may have been different for me. If I had felt loved unconditionally as a young child especially, I may have been able to muster the courage to talk about what was coming up for me. Not just drugs, but so many other things. This is where healthy attachment is so important. Healthy attachment fosters trust, confidence, self love, independence and the ability for a child to be herself and know that it will be ok.

I don’t know how to talk to children about drugs. Because I know that the talks I heard about drugs didn’t make a difference to me. I did drugs anyways. I was even eager to do them. But what I do know is that if I had learned to loved myself more, to care about myself…I would have had a much better chance at not making the choice that I did.

The ability to weather the rough times with your children starts much before the storm begins. Build a healthy attachment with your children. Don’t push your life experience on them, they are a fresh human being in this world and deserve a clean slate. Educate them with facts and experience. Let go of all expectation. Really HEAR them when they speak, without judgement. Believe in them, they are worth it. Most of all, Love your child, unconditionally. Be there for them, be trustworthy. It will make a difference. And when the time comes, you will know and you will be able to navigate the stormy waters more confidently if you trust each other.

Have you struggled with trying to figure out how to talk to your child about drugs? What was your approach?