Monday, August 1, 2011
Teen Drug Use: Getting Grandparents to Talk to Your Teens
Today’s grandparents do much more than bake cookies. Sixty-eight percent of grandparents see a grandchild every one-to-two weeks and eighty percent of grandparents talk on the phone with their grandchildren at least once every few weeks. According to a national survey conducted in conjunction with the 2000 Census, there are 4.5 million grandparent-headed homes with children under 18 and another 6.1 million grandparents live with and share parental responsibilities for their grandchildren. In other words, grandparents are doing more “parenting” than ever.
While parents are generally recognized as the most important and long-lasting influence on children, grandparents have a close and special bond and often serve as an inspiration to their grandkids. The unique relationship between grandparent and grandchild provides an ideal opening for a discussion about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Research shows that grandparents are looking for guidance on how to talk to their grandkids about difficult topics. In fact, according to an AARP survey, 54 percent of grandparents would find information about discussing drugs and alcohol somewhat or very useful.
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America offers the following tips for grandparents to keep their grandkids drug-free:
START: It is never too early to prevent your grandchildren from trying drugs and alcohol. Building protective factors — such as letting your grandchild know you care, plays an important role in deterring them from drugs. State your position clearly and often. One of the major reasons teens decide not to use drugs is the fear that their parents or other family members will lose respect for them.
Teens do not want to let down their families.
CONNECT: Take the opportunity to build lines of communication and do things regularly with your grandkids. Spend time together — take a walk with them, read together, play a game, go shopping, go to the movies, a baseball game or go sightseeing together. Use opportunities like family gatherings or inviting your grandchildren to stay over to show that fun doesn’t require drugs.
LISTEN: Take a more active interest in what is going on in your grandchild’s life. Listen to their cares and concerns by fostering family openness and communication. In this way, teens will feel more comfortable to open up to you when they need your advice.
www.timetotalk.org | www.drugfree.org