NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Since the drug PSAs of the 1980s, in 30-plus years the effects of drugs haven’t changed, but now our kids may have even better access to them.
Drug use among young people is real. Teens in Tennessee, even middle school children, are all being tempted and exposed.
Tim Thomas is a dad in Williamson County.
“It’s probably a rare day goes by that my daughter doesn’t have the topic of drug use presented to her in some fashion,” he told News 2.
Amber Mohr is a mother, who also works at Addiction Campuses.
“It is happening in every middle school whether you’re Williamson County, Davidson County, private school or public school. Your middle schools have drugs,” she said.
Like us all, Mohr and Thomas are parenting in a problematic time.
Thomas’ boys Harrison and Charlie are 3 and 4 years old. He also has an 18 year old daughter on her way to college.
“I think the challenges have morphed, in my view, have become more complex,” says Thomas.
The complexities are wide ranging. Thomas recognizes that. He also knows that a parent’s response to whatever a child does is what makes the relationship.
“The outcome to that mistake and our reaction to that mistake is the part of the equation where we get to choose,” he says. “We don’t get to choose the choice they made, but we get to choose how we respond to that.”
“It’s never going to get easier, these conversations are hard,” says Mohr.
Pills and opioids are more commonly the drugs kids may see first, as early as ages 10 or 11.
They often go from the medicine cabinet at home, to the classroom or school playground. Listen to your child, Mohr says. They’ll have questions.
And when they do, “Digest that question fully,” she says. “Remember to take a non-judgmental stance with the information you just received, and then respond.”
And be calm about it, the best you can. If your child feels like they can come to you take them up on it. It’s how they learn about life, and you about them.
“You keep that conversation going at every opportunity you see to bring it up,” says Mohr.
It’s important to never ignore a warning sign. If your child has a problem, don’t hesitate to call a counselor, or treatment center. And remember, your job is to be a parent not a friend.