[ Skip to main content ]

Below are the main things you need to plan your conversation. The Alcohol and Drug Helpline can offer extra support if needed. 

An opportunity to start a conversation can emerge naturally. For example if drug use is shown on TV, ask your child or young person what they think of it. This works well for children. It helps them understand what they see around them without giving too much information for their age. Otherwise you might need to initiate a conversation. Do this during an uninterrupted time and give your full attention to what your young person is saying.

Make a note of when you plan to have this conversation.

People usually leave a conversation remembering one or two main messages. Write down what you would like yours to be. Give clear and encouraging words and let them know you care. Hint: A common message is, "I care about you, and want to help you make choices that will help your future"

Make a note of your main message.

Choosing additional points to reinforce your main message helps your young person leave the conversation understanding your central message. This avoids the conversation being side-tracked by other issues and your main message getting lost.

Make a note of any other points you plan to raise.

  • Go through the most relevant videos or comic strips together
  • Ask open ended questions like: "What do you think about this substance?", "What stood out to you?", "What was in these videos that you would want your friends to know?"
  • Listen to what they have to say
  • Offer any support they need
  • Avoid interrupting or having a strong reaction
  • Let them know you care about them
  • Set clear expectations, with realistic consequences if these aren't met. This is very important for younger children, who are just beginning to develop more control over what they do
  • If you are a parent or caregiver, have fun with your young person without drugs and alcohol. This makes it easier for them to learn to relax, reward themselves, or address feelings in ways that don’t involve drugs and alcohol