Things You Can Do to Prevent Your Kids from Using Drugs
At some point in everyone’s life, it becomes their turn to learn about drugs. As a parent, it's your job to prevent your kid from using drugs as well as you can. According to researchers, almost 70 percent of high school students will have tried alcohol by the time they are seniors. Half will have taken an illegal drug, and nearly 40 percent will have smoked a cigarette. More than 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a non-medical reason. Unfortunately, there are no answers as to why some children become addicts over others. What we know is that the propensity to become a drug addict is a combination of genetic and environment. It also includes the possibility of co-occurring disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. So, what can you do to keep your kids from using drugs? Below are some common tactics that successful parents use to keep their children safe.
How to keep your kids from using drugs?
1. Communication is key
The first step to protecting your kids from drugs is to open up a line of communication. They should know that they can come to you for their needs. You are a parent and offering “judgement-free” advice isn’t likely. But it’s important they understand that no matter what they have to say, you will hear them out. These days, it’s easier to communicate with our children because of cell phones. While your child is not in the home, you can keep the communication going. Texting and email also allows your child to contact you if the topic is embarrassing or difficult for them.
2. Be fully involved in their lives
By being an active participant in your kid’s life, you are ensuring they will be less likely to abuse drugs. You’ll know their friends, parents of friends, and the events of their day-to-day life. Teachers and parents will be more likely to share information with you if your child begins to act differently. Take advantage of the saying that “it takes a village to raise a child.”
3. Be a good example to them
Being a role model to your children is inherent in the job of a parent. It’s important to think before doing something questionable for the sake of your children. If your child is struggling to say “no” to peers regarding drug use, then you need to set an example by refraining from drug use. Kids notice everything, and teens are likely to call out hypocrisy when they see it. If you struggle with addiction, it’s important that you get help before you give your child 100 percent support as a parent.
4. Know where your children are and what they are doing
Although some parents worry about being “helicopter parents,” there's nothing wrong with knowing where your children are. It’s important that you are in tune with their habits so that if something changes, you’ll notice. Most kids receive their first drugs from friends or family, so it’s crucial to know who your child is socializing with. If they are hanging around with the kinds of people that drink alcohol or do drugs, you can help them find new friends to associate with.
5. Explain the nature of addiction
When talking about any kind of addiction, it's important to explain to your children that addiction has nothing to do with someone’s morality or strength of character. Addiction is a mental illness. Whether drug dependence and addiction are agreed to be the same thing is not the argument. That debate is not likely to be resolved anytime soon. Classifying drug addiction as a disease or otherwise does not change the therapy for it.
6. Teach your children how to say “no” to drugs
Resisting peer pressure can be extremely difficult for adolescents and adults alike. You can prevent your child from becoming an addict by teaching them ways to say “no” to drugs. Some common ways are:
- tell your friends you’re trying to stay healthy for the sake of sports
- at a party, go dance instead of drinking
- tell your friends you have a test to study for
These are generally effective tactics to keep the pressure off your kids. Instead of allowing your child to learn these lessons through trial and error, it’s important that they learn these coping tools from you.
7. Help them build their self esteem
Helping your child build self-esteem makes it easier for them to say “no” when they have to to resist drugs. Raising a child isn’t just about establishing and enforcing rules. A part of parenting is giving your child opportunities to make the right choices.
Some easy ways to increase a kid’s self-esteem is:
- let them know no one is perfect
- to let them make choices
- offer only sincere praise when praise is due
- give them age-appropriate responsibilities
All these things are the basic building blocks to raising a child who isn’t afraid to say no and has the drive to create long-term goals for themselves.
Resource: North Point Washington
Also read: Sex addiction symptoms to watch out for