While itís exciting that media exposure is expanding at an exponential rate, there are some dangerous downfalls that accompany. Todayís children are not only being exposed to the use of drugs and alcohol at an increasingly younger age, but substance abuse is typically shown in a positive light on the internet. With 40 percent of 12th graders admitting to using drugs in the last year, it is becoming even more important to warn children of the dangers of drug use early and often. Here are some age-appropriate tips you can use to help steer you children clear of drug abuse as a parent.
It's important that a child makes decisions on their own from an early age. Even if it's just letting them pick out their own clothes, or asking them what DVD they want to watch. It's also important to allow them to work on their own problem solving skills from an early age, whether this is accomplished through homework, social issues or something else. This will not only give your child the ability to say no when necessary, which can help them to understand that they have the power to make positive choices in life, which includes drug use.
Whenever a movie or TV shows glamorizes the use of alcohol or tobacco, you can point out that it is bad, and explain why. You can relate the situation to them, explaining that it will make it harder for them to play with toys or do other activities they enjoy. From there on out, it is wise to give them a set of anti-drug rules to abide by.
Building up self-confidence is important at his stage, because it will help your child make decisions. As a parent, you can help build self-confidence by giving your child different skills to master. When excel at specific tasks, make sure you let him or her know that you are excited about what they have accomplished. A little bit of encouragement can go a long way towards making your child more confident.
Keep in mind that people with lower self-esteem are much more likely to abuse drugs than people who view themselves in a more positive light. People with low self-esteem turn to drugs as a short-term solution, attempting to find confidence, before getting hooked. As a parent it is not always about what you say, as what you donít say is sometimes even more important. Let you child know that he or she is the important, loved and valued person they are.
At this age, kids typically struggle with self-esteem, so make yourself available as an outlet for some of the questions and fears they may have on their mind. When bringing up drug related topics, you can focus the conversation on facts, rather than fears. Children at this age typically do love to learn, so take advantage of their curiosity by giving the facts about drugs: that they will possibly be offered drugs at some point in their life.
It also helps to use news stories about public figures abusing drugs as discussion starters. Rather than forcing the issue, calmly use events that they may be aware of to help them understand the harms of drug abuse. Children at this age are less concerned about future consequences, so it is wise to incorporate some of the more immediate problems that substance abuse can create. Since children at this age are image conscious , warning them about the changes to physical appearance that drugs can create often hits home.
Once kids get to their teens, they are able to see through some of the messages you are trying to send, so try to be as honest and transparent as possible. Even if you might not necessarily know what the specific dangerous signs of methadone addiction are, do your best to answer with what you know. It is also important to stay actively involved in your childís life. That way they will be more open about discussing personal and drug related issues.
Talking to teens has an added element of importance because either your kid or someone they know will be driving. Make sure you bring up both the legal and health issues that can arise from drinking and driving. It is a good idea to tell your child that you will be able to pick them up at any time they need it, no questions asked, to avoid mixing driving and substance abuse.
Above all else, it is important to be involved in your childís life. Knowing your childís friends, having daily conversation and creating an open family environment go a long way in helping. While there is no magical approach that automatically prevents children from getting involved in substance abuse, parents can play a critical role in the prevention.