• Parents Play a Huge Role in Substance Abuse Prevention

    Parents everywhere suffer from varying degrees of separation anxiety every time their children step out into the world. School bullies, abduction or the possibility of a shooting rampage in school is enough to give parents sleepless nights. But perhaps the one problem of modern society that keeps parents worried every single day is the ever growing problem with teenage substance abuse. The moment kids leave the house, parents no longer have control over what happens to them out there; what they do, where they go, who they talk to etc.

    How can parents protect their kids from the clutches of substance abuse? It may not seem like it but parents have more influence over their kids than their friends, the internet, TV, celebrity lifestyles, movies and disturbing music combined.

    You are your child’s first teacher…

    Lay down a strong foundation at home and rest assured that your kids will know the right thing to do when faced with negative choices. Kids who learn about the serious risks of drug abuse from their parents are 50% less likely to even try using drugs compared to kids who get introduced to it outside of the home. When parents set a good example early on, the good and healthy habits stick with the kids wherever they go, whomever they are with.

    Become involved in your child’s life…

    Yes, parents can be a part of their teenager’s life without seeming meddlesome. What activities occupy them in school and what do they like doing afterwards?  Attend school events. See if their favorite hangout is a safe enough place, not frequented by unscrupulous characters dealing in illegal drugs and preying on teenagers. Learn about the movies they like, their favorite songs etc. Teenagers won’t openly admit it, but they think it’s cool when their parents don’t have a blank look on their faces when they mention the coolest new rock band in town.

    Get to know your child’s friends…

    Let them invite friends over. It will be a way for parents to get to know their child’s friends and get a chance to meet their families as well. This is an opportunity for parents to study what kind of influence the other kids might possibly have on their child.

    Make it a habit to talk to your child about absolutely anything…

    When the time comes to talk to your child about difficult subjects like sex or drug addiction, you will likely not have any awkward moments if you’re used to dialogs like this to begin with. It will be easier to tell your child of your fears about substance abuse and what you expect from him, emphasizing that you trust him to do the right thing if he is ever faced with an opportunity to try marijuana, prescription painkillers or any other illegal drug.

    Set boundaries, be consistent and be firm…

    Remember you are a parent first, and a friend second. Confusing cool parenting with being more like a friend to your child creates a permissive atmosphere without respectable boundaries. Be clear about the rules and stick with them.

    Never be complacent…

    Watch out for warning flags, like unexplained changes in your child’s activities, attitude, performance in school etc. Periodically check with school officials as well. Your kid might be acting normal at home but totally different in school. Some of these changes may be signs of substance abuse.





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