Being a parent entails a lot of demands and responsibilities that would ensure that you meet not only your child’s needs, but that you protect them as well. Many studies show that children as young as toddlers can exhibit early behavior that predisposes them to addiction later on in adult life.
As a parent, of course we want what is best for our children. And, as many child development and specialists in rehabilitation and recovery would say, alcohol and substance abuse is preventable.
There are many more factors that lead to addiction in adulthood aside from childhood behavior, but the tips below can help you ensure that you protect your children from early addiction:
- Listen. Be attentive about your children’s concerns, especially about the things they feel strongly about. Make your children feel that you are there for then even just to listen especially if they are feeling any pressure or conflict with friends or in school.
- Keep a strong and stable bond. Establishing a good, solid relationship with your children is important in their own self-esteem, social skills, and coping mechanisms. Those who have a good relationship with their parents have a reduced risk of teen drug addiction.
- Sit down for a regular family dinner. Making a habit of sitting down every night for dinner together as a family builds your bond together. It also sets a venue for children and parents to have a conversation and update each other about their day. Many experts would swear by this powerful habit that would provide a strong anchor for the family.
- Set an example. Children learn about the world through you. If your children sees you abusing drugs or alcohol, that would more likely be their norm and they would have an increased chance of starting early on drugs and/or alcohol and getting addicted to it as well.
- Handle stress and problems constructively. How you handle the demands of life sends a clear message on how children should go through their own problems.
- Teach your children. Children who learn about the risks and consequences of drug and alcohol abuse from their parents are less likely to use than those who do not have this conversation with their parents. As you talk to your child, set clear boundaries about what you expect from your child and stick with the consequences.
- Be aware but know your own boundaries. Know who your children are with and what they are doing. At the same time, know that your children have their own boundaries as well so give them room to grow and be themselves.
- Be supportive. Know your children’s interests and activities and be supportive of them. Find ways to help make their talents shine.
- Be educated. Educate yourself about drug abuse and the various risk factors. Knowing the signs and symptoms of addiction will help you assess your own children for any indication of addiction. You can keep watch of your children’s rooms and belongings for possible paraphernalia as well.
- Understand your children’s emotions and possible risk factors. Learn about how children and observe their emotional state. Do they have low self-esteem? Are they troubled, distressed, angry or depressed? Do they keep isolating themselves from other people instead of making friends?
- Do things together. Find time to have activities together. At times, as parents we may feel overwhelmed and busy with our responsibilities but it is important to note that your children need you too. Find weekly or monthly activities that you can both enjoy together and this will strengthen your bond.
- Just love them. Be sure to express how you love and care for your children. Show that you accept them for what they are, despite their quirks. After all, if their parents can’t love them, they might have a hard problem believing that anyone else will, and this negative perception of self-worth can lead to many problems later on in life.
Do you have any more ideas about how we can help our youth stay away from drugs and alcohol? Or do you have problems with your own child? Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.