Discussing topics like drugs, alcohol and depression

Here are some suggestions to initiate this type of dialogue:

• Listen to the CD separately. In a casual setting, (at dinner or riding in the car) tell each other what you thought in general about the dialogue and music, or comments made in the insert of the CD.

• Listen to a song together when you or your child find a song that you like. Listening to music together is an experience that allows each participant to express their opinion without judgment. It can be the beginning to an open dialogue. When your child feels safe with their opinions, they will be more willing to discuss more sensitive topics.

• Play music you were listening to as a teenager, for your child. Let them know the fears and joys you were facing when you were young. How did you cope with drug and violence issues?

• To initiate conversation about an issue, we suggest asking how they felt about the responses given on the CD. What are their thoughts – do they agree or disagree?

Some other suggested questions:

What questions should have been asked?
What do they think the main issues teens are facing today?
How is that similar/different from what you (the adult) faced as a teen?

A natural stumbling block to open discussion is if your child thinks their answer will implicate themselves or their friends (for example in drug use). If this is the case, they may be hesitant to answer or be honest. With this situation our suggestion is to focus on the main issue – to be able to talk about the problem and together find a solution. You may want to establish a “no consequence zone” during this open dialogue period. However, consequences should be imposed if drug use, lying, etc., is continued in the future.

The key is to keep communication open, while solutions are being explored. To expect that everything is going to be fine after one dialogue is unrealistic. Especially if the problem, (drugs, tobacco, lying etc.) has been going on for a while. This is where the parent needs to be persistent and might want to educate himself on learning how to communicate in a different, more creative and effective way. Remember that you want to solve the cause (why are they doing drugs? why are they depressed?), as well as dealing with the effect (experiencing depression etc.).

If you run up against “I don’t know,” in any attempt at discussion, suggest that your child write their thoughts down in a letter. You might want to start by writing a letter yourself and letting your child respond. In any case, DO NOT keep asking and pounding away at your child if they say “I don’t know”.

As many experts on communication will tell you, it’s looking at an issue together, which enables dialogue to take place. Defending a position is exactly that, defending – not open dialogue.

Our teens see the world very differently than when we were teens. It is a new world. Trying to see the world as they see it will allow new and creative ways to deal with issues they are facing.

We welcome your experiences that have allowed you to communicate with your teenager.

How to Help

school based programs are managed by the students with adult supervision to create an atmosphere of respect, self-expression and confidence to overcome adversity. Through self-expression in the arts, students gain awareness for self respect and respect for others. This respect results in positive choices; dedicated to remaining drug free and non-violent.

Youth Leadership Council – weekly open mic sessions where 200 students participate by sharing their music, art and poetry

• Concert Assembly – young high school musicians perform before a school wide assembly

• Elementary School Concerts – selected participants perform in concert to elementary school students

• Project X CD – high school students created their own CD featuring their music and expressing their desire to be drug free and non-violent

• AEIC Music Awards – high school musicians compete for best rap, rock and alternative artists

Award Assemblies – interactive concerts for elementary students who participate in art contest featuring the AEIC quartet and top high school musicians

• Art Contest – students participate in an art contest with an anti drug/violence message with the best art chosen for use on bookmarks distributed throughout the region

• I Am Drug Free Card – participating students receive the card to redeem at local businesses for free and discounted merchandise

“We can respect each other while not liking something. And it’s a lot easier to do that now. It’s easy to hate people. It’s easy to be mad and ignorant. But when you can respect someone and still dislike what they do it’s a really cool thing.”

AEIC is a non profit organization which was founded in 1995. Its youth programs are funded by private foundations, government appropriations and through individuals in our community. Please join our vision to keep our youth drug free and non-violent.

supports youth with drug and violence prevention programs

We provide an outlet of free expression to high school students on our Internet Radio Station.

  • Students create and develop ideas for radio programs, which are then aired on a 24-hour-a-day stream for everyone in the world to hear.
  • These programs can be anything from music, to a comedy skit, to a political discussion.
  • We look for students who want to have their voices and ideas heard.
  • Students artistically express their determination to maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
  • Winning posters are made into bookmarks and distributed throughout the county.
  • Participants’ decisions are reinforced through an annual community celebration where they receive awards and scholarships.