10 Tips to Prevent Your Kids Getting Addicted to Alcohol & Drugs
Scientific research has shown that the longer an individual postpones the first use of alcohol, tobacco or other drug use, the less likely it is that the person will develop and addiction or associated problems.
Moreover, parents are the most influential factors when it comes to preventing addiction. A recent study indicated that 2 out of 3 kids aged 13 – 17 years say that losing their parent’s respect is the main reason they don’t drink alcohol or use other drugs.
If you are a parent, check out these 10 tips on how to help prevent the onset of addiction in your kids:
1. Don’t Be Afraid of being the “Bad” Parent: At times, we fear the negative reaction from our children and avoid doing what is right. But when it comes to harmful substances, taking a tough stand is okay. “My dad would kill me if he knew I had a drink”. Our strict rules may be the reason they don’t drink, which is a good thing for all concerned.
2. Connect with Your Kid’s Friends: Watch who your child is friendly with – who’s coming and going. Make friends with them and encourage them to visit and share with the family. Let your kid play host to his or her friends at home.
3. Make Connections with Other Parents Too: As you get to know your children’s friends, introduce yourself to their parents too. Build mutual support and share your values and house rules with them. This way, if your kid is at his or her friend’s house, you can ensure responsible parental supervision.
4. Encourage Healthy Activities: Physical activity, in the form of games and sports is very important for body-mind growth and balance. Let your kids get involved in other fun activities such as music, arts or a part-time job. They could even volunteer at a charitable organization. That way, you can minimize the common complaint of “I’m bored”. Healthy activities will keep your kids away from negative peer pressure of partying and using alcohol or drugs
5. Establish Clear House Rules About Alcohol and Drugs: Set specific and clear rules family rules such as setting specific, clear rules, which can be the foundation for parental efforts in prevention:
•Absolutely no drinking of alcohol for kids under the age of 21
•Kids will not ride in a vehicle with someone who has been drinking or drugging
•Older siblings brothers will not encourage younger brothers or sisters to drink or use drugs
•Kids under 21 will not host parties at home without parental supervision
•Kids will not stay at another kid’s party where alcohol or drugs are served or used.
These rules need to be consistently enforced, with consequences, if required. Children respond better if there are consequences.
6. Educate yourself about alcohol and drugs: Your personal experience or common sense may not be adequate. As a parent, you need to know more authentic information about substances and addiction. As you learn, share your knowledge with your spouse and your children.
7. Be a Role Model: Kids are more likely to follow what you do rather than what you preach. Research shows that children of parents who drink alcohol or use drugs are more likely to follow suit. If you do drink, make sure it is in moderation and if you are using some medication, use only legal drugs. When you have a party at home, offer soft drinks too as an alternative to alcoholic beverages and do not allow anyone to drink and drive.
8. Keep Track of Your Child’s Activities: Get involved by asking questions and checking in often are useful ways to keep track of their activities. Research has found that kids who are not regularly monitored by their parents are four times more likely to get into problems of substance abuse. Spend time with your kids and find out what’s happening in their lives. This is especially applicable if both parents are working.
9. Keep Track of Your Stock of Alcohol and Prescription Drugs: For kids, the easiest and most common source of alcohol and prescription drugs is parents’ stock. Ensure that your stock is not easily accessible, or if it is, keep track of the quantities.
10. Get Help: If, despite your best efforts, your child is showing signs of having a problem with alcohol or drugs, get professional help as soon as possible.
There are some rehabs such as Hope Trust that offer outpatient and inpatient options for assessment, counselling and treatment. The services of Hope Trust are not restricted to addiction treatment, but also include emotional, parental and marital problems that may affect a family.
Remember, you’re not alone. Help is available – all you have to do is reach out. Call +91 98490 69609 or +91 98490 73366.