Volume 4, Number 51 - March 17, 2005
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Don’t let your kids do drugs
Communication is highly valuable to supporting students and providing means of managing stress aside from detrimental substances. “Be a better listener – don’t react in a way that will cut off further discussion,” advises the Truth publication. The Office of National Drug Control Policy promotes family interaction such as parents seeking and accepting children’s input in family decisions and calm discussions of drug use and any other topic. Stable family relationships rely heavily upon communicated love as well. ‘Expressions of love, appreciation and thanks go a long way,’ the pamphlet states. Ultimately, a family that provides time, encouragement and assistance is one that does the most for preventing substance use by its younger members.
However, use by older, role model members of a household is a terrible lead that children have a strong tendency to follow. “Do as I say, not as I do,” does not apply to drugs; kids are far more likely to partake in drug and alcohol use when a precedence is set by guardians. The probability is so high, that the Truth Parenting Skills publication states, “If you abuse drugs or alcohol, know that your kids are inevitably going to pick up on it.”
There are many steps to establishing an environment least accommodating of substance use; however, rules that are established must be enforced when violated. The tips offered by the ONDCP are introduced with the understanding that adolescents and teens are initiating their independence but continue: “They still crave structure and guidance; they want you to show them you care enough to set limits.” Rules are only effective when the consequences are set beforehand. At this point, guardians must also be prepared to enforce the punishments fully, as outlined. It is also pivotal not to inflict unexpected consequences upon rule breakers. Understanding is also vital to a strong parent-child relationship and to determining punishments. When a student realizes he or she is in a dangerous or prohibited situation, parents are urged to make it clear someone is available to pick him or her up. The pamphlet continues, “Later, be prepared to talk about what happened.” Any rules must be followed both by parents and children, which is dependent upon guardians maintaining involvement in all student activities and contacts as well as paying attention to what their charges are doing, whom with, when and where. Reward is a positive tool invaluable to parenting success and the confidence necessary for students to refuse substance use. “Emphasize the things your kid does right.”
The publication adds: “What encourages your kid more than his or her parents’ approval? The right word at the right time can strengthen the bond that helps keep your child away from drugs.”
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