In order to keep kids off drugs, they need to be taught the dangers early on. Parents are one of the most important role models in a child’s life. Also, what they say and do can greatly influence the choices that their children make.. Parents need to set a positive example and talk to kids about the dangers of drugs, the consequences of drug use, and the importance of staying away from dangerous substances. The following addiction prevention tips will help you keep your kids drug-free.
One of the most important things that parents and other adults can do toward addiction prevention is to educate children on the dangers of drugs. From a young age, instilling this information in children will allow them to make smart decisions when they are older.
Talking to Young Children
While it may seem unnecessary to talk to very young children about drugs, kids as young as preschool age can be spoken to. The habits that children begin to form at a young age will affect them later on in life. Children this young are eager to learn and will understand easy concepts such as the fact that smoking is bad for you. They will probably not be ready at such an early age to learn complex facts about drug abuse but nonetheless it is a good idea to begin education with your child on drug and alcohol abuse early on.
Talking to School-Age Children
Once your child enters elementary school they will probably begin to be more curious about the outside world. At this point, children will be able to understand more complex concepts. Children of elementary school age should be able to tell the difference between items such as foods, medicines, poisons, and illegal drugs. When taught, they will also be able to understand that while adults can drink alcohol in moderation, it is not okay for children, even in small amounts. Children should also be taught the immediate effects of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco on the body as well as the long term effects, and why drugs are so dangerous.
Addiction Prevention: Talking to Preteens and Teens
When children reach middle school age, they are often trying desperately to fit in. This may lead to them seeing older students using tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs which can tempt them to try these things as well. Research has shown that drug use greatly increases among children in the first year of middle school. Parents can counter this temptation by making sure that their kids are well educated in the reasons that it is important to avoid alcohol and drugs. Parents and guardians should also take steps to get to know their kid’s friends and their friend’s parents. Knowing what your children are up to and the type of people they are associating with will help you keep them drug-free.
What is Your Child’s School Doing to Keep Students Drug Free?
Children spend a good deal of their time at school and when schools help to support parents in anti-drug education, children will be more likely to lead drug-free lives. If school policies do not teach what you are teaching your children at home, it can lead to confusion and undermine your efforts. Learn what the policies are at your child’s school regarding drugs and alcohol. If there is no policy in place, consider attending school or parent volunteer meetings and discuss setting up a policy and curriculum. Many schools partake in outside programs such as DARE. There are many options when it comes to anti-drug policies and education in school settings.
Anti-drug education addiction prevention ultimately starts at home but schools and other people and places that influence children are doing their part as well. Students that are well educated on the dangers of drug and alcohol use and abuse are better equipped to resist temptation and lead a healthy, drug-free life.
Talking To Your Kids About Addiction
Talking with kids about alcohol is crucial when it comes to preventing addiction. How parents go about talking with their kids can make all of the difference when it comes to getting one’s message across. Most importantly, parents do not want to wait too long before talking about addiction to their kids. Although the focus is often on teenage alcohol abuse and addiction, younger children will often try alcohol. Statistics have shown that girls take their first drink by the age of 13 on average. However, some boys take their first drink as early as 11 years old. This shows the need for parents to speak with children of either gender about the dangers of alcohol. In addition, children who do explore alcohol before reaching the age of 15 are more likely to develop a drinking problem as they grow older.
When talking to kids about underage drinking, there are a few things that parents should be prepared to do: listen, answer questions, and not become angry if a child admits that they have tried alcohol. They will want to stress that underage drinking is illegal and that even a single drink is breaking the law. Parents should explain the dangers of underage drinking, such as the health risks involved. Health risks are major for kids, as alcohol will hinder the development of young brains, which are still developing.
Underage drinking can lead kids to additional health risks. For example, teens who drink are more likely to have unprotected sex. This makes contracting a sexually transmitted disease or becoming pregnant more likely. Additionally, drinking can cause kids to use poor judgment. For example, teens who drink may get behind the wheel of a car and drive, which can hurt or kill themselves, their passengers, and others who are on the road. Teens who drink may also develop problems with their behavior that disrupt friendships, weaken the trust that kids may share with their parents, and interfere with school. Parents should be honest, patient, and willing to listen. As a result, this makes discussing underage drinking with a child more effective.
- Underage Drinking Prevention Begins With a Conversation
- How to Talk With Your Kids About Drinking
- Underage Drinking: Talking to Your Teen About Alcohol
Drug addiction is a very serious problem that can, and typically does, affect a child’s health and relationships. A number of health problems can arise depending on the type of drug that is being abused. Problems can affect any of the body’s systems, from the cardiovascular system to the respiratory system, resulting in problems such as nausea and vomiting, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and even death, for example. Certain drugs can affect a child’s mental functions and mood, making them violent, quick to anger or overly emotional. Changes in one’s mental functions can cause a child to have difficulty retaining information and learning. Mood changes can alter a child’s personality so that they suffer from a loss of friends, are argumentative and distant with family, and may even end up in trouble with the law.
Discussing Drug Addiction with your Child
When talking about addiction to drugs with kids, parents will want to discuss all of these potential risks with them. As with discussing alcohol, parents will want to have an open and honest discussion about drugs and drug addiction. Kids should be encouraged to talk about their experiences without fear of parents becoming angry or judgmental. Parents should also be prepared for kids to ask questions, even those involving their own history of drug use. Parents who do have a history of drug usage should decide in advance how much to share and also explain why it was a mistake and one that they would never repeat. Also, parents will want to impress on their children what the family values are regarding drug use and what is expected of them should they be faced with the opportunity to use drugs. Most importantly, talking about addiction and drugs should leave kids feeling comfortable talking with their parents about drugs in the future if needed.