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5 Yr old asks, "What are Drugs?"

What are Drugs?
This was a very baffling question coming from my 5 yr old son.

He knows now (in the most basic of languages) about my addiction, and that I go to meetings so I don't do drugs again. He knows that drugs are bad, they mess up your brain and body, and get you into trouble with jobs and the law.

Tonight, though, he asked, "What ARE drugs?"

This was my answer, God I hope I didn't mess this one up:

"Drugs are like medicine, except you're not taking them like you're supposed to. You take WAY more, and you take ones that are against the law/against the rules. Medicine is something a doctor tells you to take and how much to take." That was the gist of it.

Anything else I could tell a very bright 5 yr old about what DRUGS are?
lax2 Re: What are Drugs?
Well if he is familiar with what someone getting drunk looks like you could explain that alcohol is 1 drug. I know I was aware of how my parents would wind up fighting and acting ridiculous after drinking alcohol at a young age.

Re: What are Drugs?
I agree. Use alcohol as an example, but not the focus.

Good luck sweetheart.
Re: What are Drugs?
I believe POVERTY has alot to do with addiction.
...you can't afford a shrink.
you experament with what drugs make you feel ok.
......you use the one that seems to help you balance.

if you have money.
..you see a dr. and get the correct meds.

then you are'nt a "drug addict"
....you're adhd or bi polar on meds.
mkf Re: What are Drugs?
lots of people can afford a shrink, but for some reason, $$ or none in their family, a stigma is attached so they refuse to seek help via therapy. Also, there's plenty of free therapy out there for those who can't afford it.

I agree poverty could be a contributing factor, but I don't believe it's a major one. JMO
Loraura Re: What are Drugs?
I strugged with the same thing trying to explain addiction to my son when he wanted to know why I couldn't just not smoke anymore.

Honestly, he was right, I did have the power to "just not do it anymore" and I finally found enough strength to do that.

But it was very difficult to explain chemical dependance and discomfort of withdrawl to a 6 year old.

I did my best, though, and used this example:

"You know how you get all jumpy and excited when you have lots of candy and sugary cokes and cake?"

"".. ya..."

"You know how you feel kind of bad, later, after you've eaten all those sweets, and you get a tummy ache and a headache and you don't feel so good?"


"Well, my body feels like that when I don't smoke, because I was foolish enough to start smoking, so my body only feels normal when I do smoke, and I feel sick when I don't smoke. So this makes it very uncomfortable for me to not smoke."

He understood that.

He also had a much better understanding of why mommy wasn't herself when she stopped smoking. He's so very glad that I did! And I am too.
Re: What are Drugs?
My son heard me on the phone today about a meeting I'll be going to later. He said, "ANOTHER meeeeeeeeting?"

I reminded him about drugs again, and that we don't want Mom to get sick like that again. He was fine with that.

Then he asked, "What do drugs look like?"

I said, "Some look like regular medicine. Some look like cigarettes. Some look like candy. Some look like food. So don't ever take anything, even if it looks yummy, from someone you don't know and trust."

Was that right?
Re: What are Drugs?
You are such a good Mom--

I think the way you put it was perfect.

If you don't start to protect the youngsters now with knowledge, they may fall victim. But now he knows the truth.

That is great!! What an astute young fellow you have there!!
Re: What are Drugs?
I think your response was perfect. Your son is five and you want to give him the truth but in a way he can understand it. The way you told him was easy to understand and covered the basics. As he gets older and gets more curious then you can get into more detail.

See also:

Children of addicts bonding to caregiver?

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