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Parents told to raise drug issue sooner

Martin Sykes

AN EXPERT has recommended parents and teachers speak to children from the age of seven about ice and other hard drugs.

Australian Drug Foundation national policy manager Geoff Munro was quoted in other media this week saying evidence showed if parents talked to their kids about avoiding illegal drugs they were likely to do so.

Headspace Southern Downs manager Sophia McLucas said while communication was important, the "right age" to start the dialogue was different for every child and family.

"I don't think you can say there is a definite age where it is best, it is about knowing your child and where they are at," she said.

"Some kids are being exposed to drugs at quite a young age because it is what their parents are doing, and that includes cigarettes and alcohol."

Mrs McLucas said although kids in general were being exposed to drugs at a younger age than in the past, she suggested serious talks were probably more suited to those heading into their teens.

"I think rather than focus on drugs at (seven years old) you should talk about being healthy and looking after your body," she said.

"It needs to be age appropriate and you can explain the importance of making good choices and the difference between medications you get from a doctor and something you might get from friends.

"If you have open conversations about your body, hygiene and sexual health from a young age, you will just continue with that as they get older.

"I don't think it's a one-off discussion, it's about having an ongoing conversation and modelling these behaviours yourself."

The Daily News took the discussion to Facebook and commenters were divided on whether seven was too young.

Kirsten Kirky Ryan supported the idea.

"I think it would be fine to introduce the idea that they are bad, and as they get older and gain more understanding introduce why they are bad and what effects they can have," she said. "They're out there, and we can't hide our heads in the sand under the pretence that our children are 'too young'. The more understanding they have, the less likely they are to become involved with them."

Topics:  drugs parenting warwick


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