Be a Good Role Model
Studies show that parents significantly influence their children’s choices and lives. Learning to talk and listen to your children can help prevent them from making poor choices, sometimes with devastating consequences. Open communication is key. For example, if you have used or abused drugs or alcohol in the past, be honest but brief. And don't forget the importance of sending positive nonverbal messages: Set a good example in your own home and in social situations.
Set consistent no-use rules about drinking and other drug use.
Clearly and firmly communicating a no-use rule sets a good example of sound decision making, and helps your kids understand that drug use is serious. To ensure adherence to no-use rules, parents should nurture their children’s critical thinking and decision-making skills, as both are essential for combating peer pressure to use. It is also important to discourage the use of the new herbal drugs, which can be fatal if used improperly.
Believe that your child can stay sober.
To help prevent early drug use, parents need to maintain a positive outlook. If parents resign themselves to the belief that they cannot influence their children’s behavior, they increase the likelihood that their children will use drugs or alcohol.
Prevent the problem before it starts.
Generally, the major weakness in drug prevention programs is that they do not begin before teens start using drugs. Unfortunately, today’s exposure to drug use starts as early as grade school. Parents and schools need to recognize this and provide earlier prevention programs. Teach your children to resist the peer pressure to use before they’re ever exposed to drugs.
Debunk the “everyone does drugs” myth.
Thanks to peers and the media, teens often believe the common misconception that, “everyone does drugs.” Parents must debunk this myth by conveying the message that not everyone uses drugs (and by setting clear guidelines regarding drug use.)
Talk about the dangers of using more than one drug.
Teens need to know that using more than one drug at a time can be deadly. For instance, marijuana can inhibit nausea and vomitting, thus inhibiting the body’s tendency to reject toxic amounts of alcohol and causing overdose. Talking to your children about these realities can help keep them safe and healthy.
Don’t make it easy for your children to use drugs.
Adolescents who have been minimally exposed to others who use drugs and alcohol are less likely to use substances themselves. Particularly when your child is at a friend’s house, know what’s going on. If you feel uncomfortable with your child’s friend or family, follow up on it. Also, parents must remain proactive: support each other’s efforts to communicate with your children and supervise their environments.
Help build healthy and resilient children.
Parents can create environments that decrease youth’s risk for drug use and other dangerous behaviors. The following list of proactive factors can help a child become more drug-resistant:
- Positive communication- nurture an aspect of trust
- Daily family rituals- including eating dinner together
- Appropriate supportive parental role models
- Extended family involvement
- Diversity in peers and peer activities
- Community/religious involvement
- Positive presence of law enforcement
- Leisure family activities
For additional tips, download this brochure.
We're here for you.
If you think your loved one may be abusing drugs or alcohol, Caron can help. For confidential advice, call an SAP Specialist at 800-678-2332 ext. 6117 or contact us.