July 07, 2008 —

The summer can be hectic, especially for moms. With the kids out of school, it's a time for barbeques, swimming pools, outdoor sports, and vacations. It also can be a time to talk with your children about some of life's serious issues, such as cough medicine abuse. Communicating with your children isn't always an easy task, and talking with them about drug abuse can be even more difficult. It is important to keep in mind, however, that it is the most effective way to prevent cough medicine abuse from happening in your family. Conversations about the appropriate use of cough medicines and about the dangers of abusing these medications should be based on a foundation of knowledge, honesty, and trust. Below are five tips you can use to successfully communicate with your kids about cough medicine abuse.

  1. Get the facts: When you start a discussion about abuse, you might get a lot of questions. That's why it's important to be prepared by educating yourself. Your kids will look to you for the answers and knowledge, so you must be armed with the facts. And your kids will know when you're exaggerating or off-target. Visit Christy's "Learn" page to find out more about cough medicine abuse.
  2. Find a time: Whether it is while you are applying sunscreen, sitting on the beach, eating a family meal, or just riding in the car, every chance to connect with your child is crucial. Your children will not know how you feel about cough medicine abuse or that you are even aware that it exists if you don't tell them!
  3. Be honest: Your kids will not always be asking textbook questions, so you should be prepared with more than textbook answers. Respond honestly to foster an open environment in which you and your kids can have a conversation, not a lecture.
  4. Teach them: Teach your kids that medicine is important for preventing and treating illness, but that it should only be used according to directions and with adult supervision. Over-the-counter medicines are safe and can help alleviate your symptoms when you are sick — but only when used as directed. Tell your kids they should never take medicine without telling you first, and that they should never take someone else's medicine. And stress that medicines, which are legal and safe at recommended doses, are dangerous when abused.
  5. Explain the risks: Read here to understand the dangerous risks of taking extreme amounts of cough medicine and how the dangers multiply when cough medicines are abused with other drugs or alcohol. Make sure your kids understand that medicine abuse is drug abuse, and is dangerous.

Make this summer a successful summer. Start the conversation with your kids about cough medicine abuse.