Drink and Drugs News DDN November 2018 - Page 14

ExchangE More good practice stories at www.drinkanddrugsnews.com Just have the chat Addaction is urging parents to take time out to talk to their teenagers about drugs, as Karen Tyrell explains IT’S NATURAL TO WANT TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD. But as kids grow into teens they want to take risks – it’s part of the way they learn about the world. Telling a teenager to ‘just say no’ isn’t helpful and is often counterproductive. Our advice is start the chat, keep talking, listen well, and don’t turn it into a big thing. Many parents don’t feel confident about giving advice about drugs to their teenagers, so our Have the Chat campaign offers seven tips for parents to start the conversation about drugs: ‘We know the “just say no” message doesn’t work – in fact it can have the opposite effect.’ 1. DON’T MAKE IT A BIG THING Everyone will feel awkward if you treat it like a ‘big talk’... including you. Try to think of it as the start of a regular conversation. You want to show your kids it’s OK to talk about drugs. 2. PICK THE RIGHT MOMENT You’ll need a time and place when you both feel comfortable. Side-by-side chats can help put everyone at ease – try a car journey or a walk. 3. DON’T FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO BE AN EXPERT No one knows about every drug. But you’re the expert on your own kids. Think about your own experience and draw on that. Do some research too if you need to. 4. LISTEN WITHOUT LECTURING We know the ‘just say no’ message doesn’t work – in fact it can have the opposite effect. Your teenager won’t want to talk if they feel judged or preached at. 5. BE PATIENT Kids will need a bit of time and space to think about what you discuss. This is normal and not something to worry about. But make sure they know they can come to you if things go wrong. No conversation is out of bounds; you’re always there to help. 6. BE REALISTIC There’s a good chance your teenager will come into contact with cigarettes, drugs or alcohol at some point. It’s important to be realistic, even if that feels scary. If you start the conversation, be prepared to hear answers you might not like. 7. DON’T GIVE UP Be kind to yourself and remember that this isn’t a pass/fail test. These things take time – even if the conversation doesn’t go the way you want, an initial chat can help sow a seed for the future. Parents who want support can use Addaction’s free and confidential web chat service, staffed by trained advisors. A range of resources is at www.addaction.org.uk Karen Tyrell is executive director of external affairs at Addaction A pAuse from chAos Trevi House is launching a new programme to help vulnerable women break the cycle of having their children removed, says Hannah Shead BETWEEN 2007 AND 2014, 11,000 mothers had more than one child removed, placing a huge strain on the care system. Through our new contract to deliver the Pause programme in partnership with Plymouth City Council, Trevi House will be able to support women to break the devastating cycle of having multiple children removed through care proceedings. Pause Plymouth will give up to 48 women the opportunity to take a ‘pause’ from the periods of chaos and anger that typically follow care proceedings, creating instead a space for them to reflect, learn and aspire. When the doors open in April 2019, women will receive intensive bespoke support that has not previously been available to them, helping them to avoid or break this cycle. This is vital work. Across the UK, care applications are at their highest level since 2012, with a total of 72,670 children in care. Two-thirds of cases involve parental substance misuse, while 25 per cent of women who have had a child removed go onto have another child, often leading to repeated removals. 14 | drinkanddrugsnews | November 2018 For the past 25 years Trevi House has worked with hundreds of women and their children – at a residential rehab and more recently through outreach at our Sunflower Women’s Centre – getting mum off drugs or alcohol for good and giving her the skills to be the best parent she possibly can. Many of the women that are admitted to Trevi House have previously had numerous children removed, and we know the subsequent trauma caused if they become pregnant again before having the opportunity to recover. Pause complements our existing work and provides the much-needed support for cases where reunification is not achievable. It would be easy to write these women off – but given the right support, nurture and specialist interventions, change is absolutely possible. Hannah Shead is CEO of Trevi House ‘In April 2019, women will receive intensive bespoke support that has not previously been available to them...’ www.drinkanddrugsnews.com