Everybody wants to raise healthy kids (1). That much is a given. Part of raising a healthy child is keeping your child away from drugs. As they get older, though, and spend more time away from home and with other people, you have to accept that they are going to be exposed to drugs.
Drug use is all over the place. Your kids are going to see people drinking and using drugs on television and in movies. They are going to hear about it in music and read about it in books. They might even be told about drugs by their friends. It is getting harder and harder to keep drugs away from your kids, especially since as your kids grow up, drug laws are getting more and more relaxed. (2)
There are some people who believe that, if you want to keep your kids away from drugs, you should keep your own drug knowledge and past use under wraps. (3) Basically, they think that if you talk about having experimented or used drugs when you were younger, you’ll encourage your kids to do the same.
We, respectfully, have another opinion on the subject. It is important, obviously, not to glorify drug use. It is also important to not to violently stigmatize it. The more vehement you are about hating drugs and the more insistent you are that your kids only think of drugs as bad, the more likely you are to encourage your child to hide his or her curiosity. And, as we all know, teenagers routinely seek out those things that they think their parents hate as a form of rebellion.
So how do you teach your kids to stay away from drugs without accidentally encouraging them to test the waters for themselves?
- Be a good example, yourself.
- Encourage your kids to talk to you. Be open to your kids questions and concerns about drugs and drug use. Especially encourage them to tell you if anybody tries to get them to dry drugs or drinking or does drugs in front of them. This way you can deal with the issue at the adult level instead of forcing your kids to figure it out on their own.
- Give them a good toolbox. Teach your kids how to say no in respectful but firm ways. It’s better for your kids to learn how to say “no thanks, it’s not for me” for example, than “that’s gross! I hate people who do drugs.” (4)
- Keep your kids busy. The more active your kids are, the less time they’ll have on their hands for exploring things like drug use.
- Set very clear rules about drugs and drug use and stick to them. Kids need to know what is expected of them.
Finally, one of the best ways to keep your kids off of drugs is to create a supportive and nurturing environment for them. Studies show that people who live in supportive environments with people who love them are less likely to become addicted to drugs. (5)
And, if your child does, somehow, develop a drug dependency, it is important that he or she feel comfortable talking to you about it so that you can get him or her the help that is needed.The sooner you can get help for an addiction (like at this substance abuse and hydrocodone rehab, studies show, the less chance they have of relapse. (6)
It’s difficult, we know, to get this right. There’s a lot of pressure and social stigma to deal with. At the end of the day, what matters is that you do your best to keep your kids healthy, happy, and safe. Hopefully, this article will help you do that.
- Scott-Hamilton, Carolyn. “Tips on How to Raise Healthy Kids.” The Healthy Voyager. 30 June 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. https://healthyvoyager.com/tips-to-raise-healthy-kids/
- Lopez, German. “40 States Relaxed Their Drug Laws in the past 5 Years.” Vox. Vox Media, 9 Apr. 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. http://www.vox.com/2014/4/9/5595240/40-states-relaxed-drug-laws
- Jones, Orion. “Parents: To Keep Kids Off Drugs, Don’t Reveal Your Own Use | Big Think.” Big Think. 23 Feb. 2013. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/parents-to-keep-kids-of-drugs-dont-reveal-your-own-use
- Francis, Meagan. “Want To Help Your Teens “Just Say No”? Give Them A Script.” The Happiest Home. 26 June 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. http://www.thehappiesthome.com/teens-say-no-need-a-script/
- “Drug Rehab Statistics.” Futures of Palm Beach. Futures of Palm Beach. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. http://www.futuresofpalmbeach.com/drug-rehab/statistics/
- Hari, Johann. “The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 20 Jan. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addicti_b_6506936.html