It's not an easy conversation. How do you approach your kids and have the talk about any of life's bigger issues? When do you bring up the subject of drugs and alcohol and how they can effect everything from the development of their minds to the choices they make. It's not an easy area do spark up a conversation for any parent, and if you'll allow me, I'll share a little personal experience.
I was young....12 seems to be the age I remember and I had insomnia from the Ritalin I was taking. It led me to sneak down to the garage after my parents went to bed and I'd drink about a half a beer to make me drowsy enough to get to sleep. They didn't know, and I in no way "blame" them for what eventually became the biggest hurdle I had to overcome in life, but there were also not the kind of resources out there like Talk Early, Talk Often back in those days which could have helped. I will also say too that in my case, you could have talked till you were blue in the face and it probably wouldn't have done much good. I was among those who had to fight my own way through addiction, but educational offerings like Talk Sooner are awesome for those who can be caught before they head down that dark tunnel...and saving one from what I went through....worth every effort.
Talk Sooner is a website, and a phone app. You can find information on the different drugs that are on the streets today. You can also find ways to make the conversation a little easier with your children and answers to questions like when is a good time to begin the talk? Honestly, as young as 9 or 10 is probably a decent time to get it on the radar so when the defenses start going up in the early teen years...it will already feel like common place and kids might not be as defensive. They also encourage you to make time for family meals which give you time to talk...put away the digital devices and talk. There are a host of events coming up that can help you out and they are offering some pretty cool incentives for you to get the app, including free appetizers at Brann's soon! Stay tuned for the date on that!
There will be a big focus on the app, the program and people on hand to help as the Muskegon Big Reds take on Fruitport September 8th. Rachel McCoy and Missy Gallegos joined me to talk about all of this on the beautiful campus at Muskegon High School. Take a listen.
Stories like this are important to me. Not everyone has to endure what I did. Some can't avoid it, addiction is an awful thing but education and awareness are better than ever before. As a parent, I implore you to get past the hang up's. Put aside the fears of the tough conversations and get yourself educated on the dangers, the most effective communications techinques and most of all, your past. We were all kids once....we did things that we all learned from and it's on us to help the younger generation avoid the pitfalls. I make a sincere effort to do that by going to schools and talking about my past in the hopes that one or two kids get it. Be honest with your kids...let them know how much they mean to you and why you're bringing up the "tough stuff'. In the long run, it will be priceless. Click on the photo below to visit the Talk Sooner website.