welcome image

Simple rules adhered to when children are young can prevent more serious problems later.

The challenge of adolescence is to balance the right of the parents to feel they are in charge with the need of the adolescent to gain independence.

It's more effective to reward your child for being "good" (appropriate) than to punish him for being "bad" (inappropriate).

"To be a man, a boy must see a man."  (J.R. Moehringer)

Parents are the external regulator for kids who cannot regulate themselves.

"Unexpressed feeling never die. They are buried alive and come back later in ugly ways." (Stephen Covey)

Criticism is not a motivator.

Children mimic well. They catch what they see better than they follow what they hear.

Parenting style matters - a lot!

The mistake that Sharon and I both made is we never set any boundaries.  (Ozzy Osbourne)

Learn more.

Kids & Drugs


(your experience may actually be an advantage)

1.THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU. We all want to warn  our kids against the dangers of drug use. But the single biggest reason so many of us are reluctant to start the conversation is because we’re afraid we’ll be asked that uncomfortable question: “Mom – Dad  . . . did you do drugs?”  So lets start by stating the obvious: This isn’t about what you did or didn’t do. It’s about what your child is going to do or not do. So let’s talk about how your personal experiences might help steer your child in a good direction.


2. THE EXPERTS DISAGREE. For every expert who recommends openness and honesty about your past, another advises caution. The fact is, you can say too much. A good place to start is by considering your child. Some kids demand candor. Others are satisfied to  just talk. Use your judgement. You know your kids better than anyone.


3. WHEN TO LIE.  In my opinion – never. Some parents who used drugs in the past choose not to tell the truth, but risk losing their credibility if their kids discover the real story from a talkative uncle at a family party. Many experts recommend you give an honest answer – or no answer at all.


4. THE WHOLE TRUTH? Try to avoid giving your child more information than he or she asked for.


5. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN TO SAY. Like other important conversations you’ll have with your kids, the point you’re trying to make is what really matters. In this case, it’s crucial your kids understand that you don’t want them to use drugs. Don’t beat around the bush: say “I don’t want you to use drugs”. Then give your reasons (dangerous, expensive, illegal, addictive, distracting, etc.) It’s OK to have lots of reasons.


6. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED? Before you talk, take stock. You’ve lived your entire life in a culture where drugs are a fact of life. From the headlines on TV to your own experiences, you’ve seen too many examples of how drugs can change young lives for the worse. Your own experiences with drugs are just part of the bigger picture. The real opportunity here is to share what you’ve learned.


7. YOU COULD SAY IT LIKE THIS: “I tried drugs because some kids I knew were experimenting, and I thought I needed to try drugs to fit in. It took me a while to discover that’s never a very good reason to do anything. Do you ever feel pressured like that?”



8. OR LIKE THIS:Everyone makes mistakes and trying drugs was a mistake I made. It made me do some dumb things. And it’s hard to look back and see that I got anything good out of the experience. I love you too much to watch you repeat bad decisions I made.”


9. OR EVEN LIKE THIS:My experience with drugs is no guarantee that yours would be the same. Drugs affect everyone differently. So I wanted to share my experiences with you, because even if drugs didn’t ruin my life, I’ve seen them ruin other people’s lives. And I don’t want to see you go down that road.”


10. DON’T JUST TALK – LISTEN. You can anticipate that your child’s first reaction when you raise the subject of drugs will be to be quiet. So do your darndest to make it a two-way conversation. Ask what they think. Ask if it’s a subject their friends talk about. Ask what they think of celebrities who use drugs. Keep asking questions. And listen to the answers.


11. STAY CALM. Whatever happens, try not to raise your voice. If you lose your temper, try to catch yourself. It’s OK to admit that these conversations aren’t easy for you, either. And if things aren’t going so well, suggest talking about it again another time. (I didn’t mean to surprise you or make you feel awkward. Let’s talk again in a day or two.”)


12.GOOD LUCK.  Yes, it’s difficult to know how to talk to your kids about drugs. You don’t want them to hold your history up as some kind of a precedent to follow, or as a tool to use against you. But you may be able to use your life experiences as a teachable moment. So even if you’re nervous, don’t put off having the conversation. This isn’t about your past. This is about your child’s future.


Back to Top


+ Behaviour Management (now available online)

This full day or 2 evening workshop will introduce you […]

Learn more

+ Lick Your Kids

  “Lick Your Kids” (figuratively not literally) (2 hours) First […]

Learn more

+ A Parent’s Guide to the Teenage Brain

  A teenager’s brain is not just an adult brain […]

Learn more

+ Reading Rescue

A program for children with reading problems

Learn more

+ Taming a Toddler

Many parents wonder what hit them when their sweet little baby turns into an unreasonable toddler – ideas for dealing with mealtime, bedtime, temper tanturms, toilet training, noncompliance, etc.

Learn more

See more of our workshops


2720 Rath Street, Putnam, Ontario

Phone: (519) 485-4678
Fax: (519) 485-0281

Email: info@rickharper.ca


Parents' Comments

“I wish we had found Rick 2 years ago. We could have saved ourselves and our son a lot of trouble.”

(T.T. – Byron)