Talking to our Children

One of the first things adults should do is realize there is a real possibility your child/student could be using anabolic steroids or other Appearance and Performance Enhancing Substances.

Parenting-Advice-1PREVENTION: How Do You Keep Your Child From Using?

EDUCATE

  • Be clear about your expectations as a parent. Tell your student/child that you expect him or her to avoid them. Remind them that the use of anabolic steroids, without a legitimate prescription from a medical doctor, is illegal.
  • Discuss ethics and proper training. Remind your son or daughter that using Appearance and Performance Enhancing Substances is cheating, but even more importantly, could lead to serious health problems or even death. Reassure your child that they can achieve their objectives the right way, with proper diet, exercise, and hard work.
  • Explain the health risks of steroid use. Teach your teen that short-term gains can lead to long-term problems.
  • Identify the signs of steroid abuse. Learn what kind of symptoms can indicate that your child may be abusing steroids. Go to our Signs of Steroid Abuse page for more details.

ADVOCATE

  • Talk about healthy alternatives. Talk with your student/child about the importance of a good diet and exercise to achieve all of their physical goals .
  • Inspire your teen to be his/her best. Let your student/child know that they can achieve all of their physical goals in life without the use of drugs.
  • Urge coaches to implement a Zero Tolerance policy. Help ensure kids are receiving positive reinforcement by getting the coaches and/or athletic director on board with anti-doping talks and education on why steroids will not be tolerated.

COMMUNICATE

  • Reassure your teen. Show your love and support – even when your child doesn’t perform well in competitive sports – to help instill confidence and a positive outlook.
  • Set rules. For example, if your son or daughter uses Appearance and Performance Enhancing Substances, he or she has to quit the team.
  • Talk with your child’s coach. Let the coach know you’ve talked with your teen and that you don’t approve of Appearance and Performance Enhancing Substances.
  • Monitor your teen’s purchases. Take a close look at the dietary supplements that your young person takes. Closely check the ingredients and be aware that dietary supplements are not regulated the same way that food is regulated. Talk about this with your child. Be sure if you’re taking dietary supplements or purchasing them for your student/child that they’re 3rd Party Certified through NSF Certified for Sport.  The NSF Certification process is recognized as the gold standard in the industry to ensure the supplements they test are free of over 270 banned substances and other illegal drugs:  www.nsfsport.com  
  • Ask Questions
    • Has anyone ever taught you about anabolic steroids and other Appearance and Performance Enhancing Substances including Human Growth Hormone, dietary supplements, and energy drinks?
    • What do you know about anabolic steroids?
    • Do you know if anyone on your team or in your school is using anabolic steroids?  What about supplements?
    • Are you happy with your physical appearance?
    • Has anyone ever asked you to change your appearance? (e.g. a coach/trainer/instructor asked you to gain or lose weight)  If yes, did they offer any tips on how to do that in a healthy way?
    • Are you trying to achieve any physical goals over the next month? Season? Summer?  Semester?  (Note: these could be both athletic and/or appearance-related)
    • How do you plan to achieve your goals?
    • Are you being advised to or are you thinking about taking dietary supplements?  If yes, let’s be sure to look together to ensure they are safe.
    • Would it be helpful if we created a nutrition plan together to help you achieve your goals?

REACTION: Your Child May Be Using. Now What?

INTERVENE

  • Be the adult. It is no longer about how much you are a friend to your child or how popular you are. Your child is making uninformed decisions that are putting his or her life at risk. 
  • Get to the truth. Understand that your trust and communication with your child could be potentially damaged in the process, but it may just be what saves his or her life. Ask your child why they’re so interested in changing their physical appearance, sometimes this is the underlying problem.
  • Obtain a urine sample. Take your child to the doctor if you can’t get it yourself. Be sure to tell the doctor that you want the sample tested for anabolic steroids – anabolic steroids are not part of a standard drug panel.
  • Talk to your physician. Many are not familiar with the subject, so you may need to educate them. Share your knowledge of the dangers and effects of anabolic steroids. Go to our Dangers of Anabolic Steroids page for more details.
  • Ask your doctor to talk about case studies involving steroids and teens. It’s important for your child to hear how badly the drugs could damage their body. Sometimes the expert voice of a physician helps drive home the dangers.
  • Seek professional advice on healthy alternatives. Obtain the opinion of a sports medicine physician or other professional authority such as an Athletic Trainer, Sports Dietitian or Strength Coach and provide your child with facts about proper nutrition and strength training.
  • Never give up. The need to overcome perceived shortcomings is very powerful. At first, your child may not hear a word of what you are saying, but keep trying to communicate openly with them. You are as much of an influence on his or her life as any muscle magazine, TV show, or gym trainer.