Substance Abuse

Parenting Tips

  • The following has been reprinted with permission from the July 2000 issue of The Substance Abuse Monitor...

    A recent study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse shows that 42 percent of teens who don’t use marijuana credit their parents for that decision over any other influence. Clearly, kids not only will listen to parents, they want their parents to share their values with them.

    The following tips can help you talk to your children about drugs:

    1. Start: It is never to early to prevent your child from trying drugs. Building protective factors, such as letting your child know you care, plays an important role in protecting even the youngest children from drugs.
    2. Connect: Take every opportunity to build lines of communication with your children. Do things as a family. Spend time together—eat dinner as a family, read together, play a game, attend religious services. Show that fun doesn’t involve drugs.
    3. Listen: Take an active interest in what is going on in your child’s life. Listen to their cares and concerns. Know what they are up to—what parties they are going to, with whom, and what will be served or available.
    4. Learn: Children today are sophisticated. In order to educate your child about the danger of drugs, you need to educate yourself first. In many cases, you and your child can learn side by side. Sit down together and learn about the risks drugs pose.
    5. Educate: Spend at least thirty minutes with your kid every month explaining, with simple facts, how drugs and alcohol can hurt youngsters and destroy their dreams.
    6. Care: Spend at least a few minutes each day telling and showing your children that you care. Make sure they know you care that they are drug-free. Explain to your child that you will always be there for them—no matter what happens. Make sure they know to come to you first for help or information. The extended family plays a major role in influencing a child’s life.
    7. Be Aware: Look for the warning signs that your child may be developing a substance-abuse problem and get help before the problem occurs. Your pediatrician can help.
    8. Set Limits: By setting limits on what is acceptable behavior, you show your children you care and help guide them to a safer, drug-free future. Declare limits: “This family doesn’t do drugs. This family doesn’t hang around people who do drugs.” Enforce these limits. If you say no to drugs or not drinking and driving, the rule applies to parents too. Be consistent.
    9. Get Involved: Effective prevention extends beyond the home into the community. Get involved in your community. Ensure that your community’s streets, playgrounds, and schools are safe and drug free. Start or join a community watch group or community anti-drug coalition. Become active in the PTA. Get involved in your church, synagogue, or faith.
    10. Lead: Young people are as aware of what you do as much as what you say. Don’t just say the right things; do the right things. Set a good example. If you, yourself, have a substance abuse problem, get help.

    ...who is guiding our children?
    The answer should be apparent !!