What Should I say – 12-14
According to the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, between the ages of 12-16:
-The likelihood that a teen will smoke, drink or use illegal drugs increases almost 500 percent.
-The percent of teens who have close friends who use marijuana increases 1000 percent.
At this age, kids are trying both to fit in and establish their own sense of identity – and they are increasingly exposed to drugs and drug use. They are more likely to see older kids doing drugs without seeing immediate consequences, so they are less likely to believe a “black-and-white” statement that drugs are bad. Many kids this age overestimate the number of their peers who do drugs, and may think they have drugs to fit in.
-Talk to your grandkids about the immediate distasteful consequences of drugs (i.e., tobacco and marijuana use can cause socially undesirable things like bad breath, discolored teeth, or smelly hair and clothes).
-Talk with grandkids about what their world is like, what they value, and their future goals. Then ask them how engaging in unhealthy or risky behavior, like using drugs, would impact their dreams.
-Talk with them about how drug use might hurt friendships or positive opportunities in their lives.