At Bridges of Hope, we know personally the pain of addiction. Addiction is a disease based on biochemical changes in the brain that affect a person’s behavior, motivation, decision-making, and learning.
As a parent, you can do a lot to help your child stay away from drugs. Aside from drug education, you can create a healthy, happy, and non-threatening environment for your children to thrive in.
Here are more tips to help keep your child off drugs.
8 Ways to Keep Your Child Off Drugs
- Be supportive. To help keep your child off drugs, support everything that’s positive in your child’s life. Let them be children, allowing them to explore their world and develop their own unique interests and hobbies. Your support will greatly help reinforce positive behaviors.
- Talk real. Encourage open conversations with your children. Be sincere about your concern and be honest about what you know or have been through when it comes to drugs and alcohol.
- Teach about consequences. Building a sense of right and wrong in a child begins in the home. You can’t rely on others to teach these things to your kids. Teach them that negative actions have consequences, and that being strict to them is different from not loving them or just being mean.
- Be involved. Be present in your children’s life, through the ups and downs, especially in their life’s milestones. Reward good behavior consistently, and in the same way, give consequences for bad behavior. After all, it’s more fun to attend sports activities and other school programs instead of court dates and hearings.
- Build their self-esteem. Many users who eventually succumb to addiction have a problem with their self-esteem. Teach your child to accept themselves, to be kind to themselves and to others, and not let other people’s perception of them affect their self-worth. It also helps to set them up with social and emotional skills to help them cope.
- Be a trusted gatekeeper. There are known gateway drugs, such as marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol. Kids who are introduced to these substances at an early age are more likely to abuse drugs and become addicted to harder ones later on. Make sure to stop them from experimenting with these substances and stop the problem before it even begins.
- Avoid threats. As your children grow, they may experiment with their individuality and explore parental boundaries. They may have a strange style in clothing or acquired a taste for a specific kind of music. However, these beats being preoccupied with drugs, so be more understanding of their quirks and avoid threatening them to help keep your child off drugs.
- Don’t shelter them. As parents, your first instinct is of course to protect your children. You want to keep them hidden from the cruel realities of the world. However, these will not do them any good. Instead, talk to them honestly about what lies out there in the real world and what they can do to cope. Make them realize that there may be situations that can tempt them, but as parents, make sure they know that they can turn to you whenever they’re troubled.
As parents, it’s your duty to create for your children a solid foundation from which to thrive and become productive adults later on in life. Give them a stable and secure home, and set a good example from which to emulate.