They're still your kids, but now they're transitioning into adulthood. As grown-up as they seem (or see themselves) young adults look to their parents for guidance and support. As young adults transition to college or a job, the role parents play in their lives remains important.
Here are some techniques to remember when speaking with your young adult about alcohol and drugs.
Stay in touch. Whether your young adult lives at home or has moved out, talk with them often. A call, text, an email, or a weekend visit are all ways to stay connected.
Show support. Life after high school is filled with changes and can be an overwhelming transition for young adults. Remind your kids that you are there for them and they can always count on you. Let them know you are a source of support and information.
Offer help. While they might be reluctant to admit it, young adults still need you for emotional support. Ask open-ended questions about how things are going and ask them if and how you can help them.
Respect their independence. Be mindful of the balance between staying connected and “meddling." You can continue to be involved in a young adult's life, but give them space and freedom to start building their independence.
Let them learn. As tempting as coming to the rescue might be, this is a time for kids to learn how to solve problems on their own. You can provide emotional support if they come upon a crisis, but focus on stressing the importance of making responsible decisions as the best way to keep the same problem from happening again, especially if the problem involves use of alcohol or drugs.
Create “out" plans together. Saying “my parents would disapprove," doesn't carry much weight when a young adult is offered alcohol or drugs. However, you can still talk about what types of things can give your child an “out" in high pressure situations.