Focus on identifying observable specific behaviours, also be sure that you are presenting your observations in a respectful and caring manner.
Use “I Messages”
“I messages” focus on what you are seeing and how you feel about it. They can reduce defensiveness and keep the lines of communication open. E.g. “I feel worried when I hear you say you drank until you passed out, because I am afraid that you could get alcohol poisoning.”
Real communication goes two ways. You can learn a lot from your student if you take the time to really listen to what they say.
Remain Calm and Caring
This is easy to say but hard to do, especially when we are feeling upset. Sometimes when anger or fear take over we may say or do things that we do not mean. Some of these things can damage the relationship that we have with students. Encourage them to go to AFM for an assessment and counselling or to see another counsellor in the school. You may want to simply express your concerns and encourage them to go and talk to a counsellor. They will likely respond better if you encourage them to go to a counsellor to “check out” their use/gambling and get some information rather than asking them to go and get help for their “addiction problem.”
Enabling behaviours come out of care and concern. Since we care we want to protect individuals from the negative consequences caused by their choices. When we interfere with these negative consequences we enable. In the school setting examples of enabling would be failing to report intoxicated individuals, ignoring or supporting student’s verbal announcements about alcohol or drug use, ignoring unacceptable behaviours like absences or lateness.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
Even if they choose to not go for counselling, continue to be positive. Nurture a positive caring relationship. If they do indeed have an alcohol and/or drug problem they will need your continued support and involvement more than ever.