During a time where more and more children are abusing illicit drugs and alcohol, it has become vital for parents to be even more vigilant in monitoring their children’s activities and indicators. Drug use will take over a person’s life in a blink of an eye and the only way for parents to prevent this is by learning how to talk to their children. Remember, kids don’t wake up one day and just decide to start abusing drugs and/or alcohol, there are many things that led up to that, and that is what parents need to watch out for.
One of the most important things to do, is make sure that your child knows that they can talk to you. Often times, children will be upset about something, or concerned about something and keep it from their parent’s because they are afraid they will get in trouble, or that their parents will not understand. Now, some parents try to handle this problem be assuring that their child can tell them anything, and sometimes that works, however most times it does not. The best way to make sure that your child feels comfortable telling you their problems, concerns, or anything else that is going on with them, is by proving that they can tell you anything. That means if they decide to tell you that they didn’t do their homework even though earlier they told you that they had, show them that you are happy that they had the courage to tell you and then leave it at that. A general rule could be; if you tell me, you won’t be in trouble. This encourages children to have an open communication with their parents, and it also allows parents to really know what is going on with them. Of course, if the child really does something bad, and it would encourage them to continue doing that really bad thing if you didn’t punish them, then do it. Just let them know why they are getting punished and make sure that it fits the crime. Because, in the end, is it really important that you sent them to their room for eating a cookie before dinner, or is it more important that they are willing and comfortable to talk to you about the real problems that they will inevitably encounter?
Another vital tool in keeping children off drugs and alcohol is really knowing their friends, and their friend’s families. Although it is a nice thought that your child will want to spend most of their time with you and your family, at some point they are going to desire the company of their friends over you. These friends will end up being the most influential people in your child’s life. Know them, talk to to them, talk to their parents, make it safe for them to hang out at your house – where you can watch them. When you can trust your child’s friends, you have a much better grasp on their social life. Most children that abuse drugs and alcohol do so with their friends, as a way to experiment. Not many children decide to try drugs or alcohol for the first time on their own.
Know the warning signs of drug abuse. For parents who have had to send their child to drug rehab, they often say that they had no idea that their child was even abusing drugs until it was too late, don’t let this be you. When a person consumes drugs or alcohol they are basically ingesting poison, and their body and behavior is going to change because of that. They will lose weight, they will usually break out, they will become moody – happy one minute, angry the next, they will start to pick fights with you and the rest of the family, their grades will drop, they will stop bringing their friends around, and you will start to catch them lying. A good rule of thumb is this: if you suspect drug use, you are probably right – listen to your gut. A great way of knowing for sure it to administer an at-home drug test. These drug tests are available at most pharmacies and the results are usually ready within a few minutes.
Drug and alcohol abuse does not have to kill off our children, we can prevent it. Realize that you are still their parents and that you can create an environment for them that doesn’t make using drugs and alcohol a solution.