Substance abuse is a serious problem among teens. It is important for parents to create and keep up a strong relationship with their children. This enables kids in feeling safe enough to communicate with their parents about almost anything. Here are some tips for keeping kids away from substance abuse.
Stay Involved in Children’s Lives
Quality time with children can be difficult when both parents work or have other demands, but it can be the most important step in preventing substance abuse issues. This can be done by making time for sports, recitals and plays or just being there for everyday activities like homework. Helping children manage anger and difficult situations builds trust and will help them manage their daily lives as adults.
Make Clear and Firm Rules
Effective parenting includes the ability to set clear rules and expectations for children. The rules should be discussed, understood and consistently enforced when violated. This will teach children to be responsible for their own actions. Giving praise when rules are followed will act as positive reinforcement.
Be Aware of Children’s Friends
Parents should be aware of who their children’s friends are because peer influence to try drugs and alcohol can be very strong. Encouraging after-school activities, such as scouts or sports, can keep kids away from temptation. Children should be encouraged to invite their friends over, and parents should insist on meeting any new friends.
Have an Honest Discussion About Drugs and Alcohol
Talking to kids openly about substance abuse from an early age can be the best preventive. Encouraging honest discussion and role-playing will inform children and aid them in handling peer pressure at school. Giving detailed examples of abuse, such as pain killer addiction, can help children realize the gritty reality instead of the glamor that is often portrayed by the media.
Set the Example
Children will often imitate what they see at home. Part of being a positive role model involves actions matching words. If parents do not want their children to smoke, drink and use drugs, they should not do those things. Talking about irresponsible behavior by celebrities, or situations that arise in movies and television, can give children perspective about alcohol and drugs.
Being a parent is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, jobs an adult can do. Being open, honest and compassionate about addiction issues will help children avoid the pitfalls of substance abuse.