How to talk with young adults.

As your child graduates from high school and enters their 20s, it’s normal for them to become more independent and start making their own choices. But as a parent, your job is never fully done. You can still guide them in making healthy decisions and talking to them throughout adulthood.

How to have the conversation:

Give your child space but make sure to keep an open line of communication – whether they are living on their own or with you.

You don’t have to address drinking, drugs, and risky behaviors head-on. It’s more important to maintain a supportive relationship. Even as a young adult, your child should know they can turn to you if they run into a problem or difficult situation.

Always be on the lookout for possible mental health issues.

There is a strong link between mental and physical health issues (including stress) and the use of drugs and alcohol. It’s a good idea to know where your child can find mental health resources, either at home or on their college campus.

If your child is attending college, know that that most popular drugs on campuses are alcohol, marijuana, pain killers and other opioids, prescription stimulants, and tranquilizers.

Know the warning signs of abuse for these substances and talk to your child about the dangers of using prescription medications that are not prescribed to them.

Teachable MOments

Even when your child is a young adult, you can still look for teachable moments or conversation starters from real life. If you’re watching a movie together that shows drug use, you can ask your child’s opinion and if they have any questions about substance use.