Children today are exposed to tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs at increasingly younger ages. The media is rife with images that promote smoking and drinking as "cool," fun, and a natural part of life. That's why, more than ever, parents need to talk to their kids about the perils of drugs and help them separate fact from fiction. But how do you get started?
According to experts, it's best to develop an ongoing dialogue with your child -- starting in the preschool years if possible -- and to look for spontaneous, everyday situations, or "teachable moments," in which to lay the groundwork for open, honest communication. The best news? Research shows that children who hear the facts about drugs and alcohol from their parents are significantly less likely to use them. Here's how to begin.