• Proactive Parents: Best Antidote to Teenage Substance Abuse

    Parents: For nine months they are completely sheltered in their mother’s womb. After birth,  they are protected by your joint love and nurturing in the womb of your home.  Soon they are ready for school and the influence of the world outside. Here is where your role as nurturer and protector is challenged, not only by the outside world, but more, by the interactive effects of three realities in your young children’s life: the developmental changes in the their  physical and  psychological world, the  culture and upbringing at home and now the added norms of the outside world. They need you more now to put a semblance of constancy and harmony between and among these three dynamically interacting realities and to assure your kids that they are okay and that they can be in control.

    You Are an Automatic Role Model

    You are their idols, the most influential persons in their young life. You are their models, more by examples than by words; oftentimes, with neither of you  knowing it. They manifest facial and body expressions similar to yours, develop tastes and preferences similar to yours. Their mental and emotional responses are getting to be like yours. Are you even-tempered or emotionally unpredictable?  Do you think before you act or are you impulsive? How do you deal with pressure and stress?  How do you deal with problems? Do you do things in moderation or do you over-indulge? These are among the parent factors that influence the foundation of a child’s personality that can make youngsters strong against teenage substance abuse or susceptible to it.

    Introduction to Drugs

    The overt initial introduction to drugs is usually through persons outside of the home: in-group pressure, classmates, a close friend, an admired external role model. Or it can be within the confines of the home: the aforementioned parent factors, the pervading home atmosphere, the television, the alcohol/drug use of parents, the prescription drugs in the medicine cabinet, etc.

    What Parents Can Do:

    Ideally, parents have established a loving,  trusting and supportive relationship with their teenage children. They have set consistent norms of behavior and standards of what is right and what is wrong all through the children’s growing-up years.  This laid relationship foundation makes the following tasks easy and natural when your children reach adolescence:

    1. Communicate.  Ask and listen to what is happening to your children—including their thoughts and feelings—through regular talks with them. In natural, flowing conversation and/or story telling, educate them on the use of alcohol and drugs, including prescription drugs and the risks of experimenting with them.

    2.Keep them busy with healthy and positive activities. These include sports, membership in music groups, creative hobby groups, dance groups  and community service groups, among others, depending on their interests and talents.

    3. Monitor – Know your children’s friends and their parents, if possible. Set specific limits as to the time your children should be home. Know where your children are,  who they are with and what, generally, they are doing during times they are not in school nor at home. Monitoring has to be done with caution and needs to be understood by the children, lest they begin to feel being “policed” and not trusted.

    4. Know Signs of Alcohol and Drug Use/Abuse – Know substance abuse facts especially the signs and symptoms of alcohol and/or drug abuse, including prescription drug abuse. Be sensitive to behavior changes that are inconsistent with the children’s usual behavior and mood patterns, like irritability, hostility, lying, clamming up, sleeping habits, reduced interest in studies, lower grades,  change in level of energy, change of friends,  constricted pupils, loss of or increased appetite and other behavior and physical changes.

    5. Immediately Act on Signs of Alcohol and/or Drug Abuse – Talk to your child, let him/her know that you are concerned and that you do not approve of what you observe. Try to make the child see and admit the problem so you can form a partnership  and jointly deal with it.  If necessary, have the child go through private and confidential drug abuse test. Check the sources of the alcohol/ prescription drug being abused. It might be your own medicine cabinet or your own doctor’s prescriptions. Reset time limits and be clear about consequences. Seek professional help on drug abuse intervention for more focused and purposive course of action.  With your child, develop an action plan to cut the budding drug abuse and prevent drug addiction. If the problem has become actual substance abuse that has developed before you became aware of it, consult a professional drug abuse counselor.









    Categories: Prescription Drug Abuse

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