Preventing your children from experiencing the struggle that comes with an addiction to drugs or alcohol starts from an early age. Prevention is a process focusing on education and honest communication that starts when your children are first beginning to develop a sense of themselves. Here are five steps to help protect your children from drugs and alcohol.
Take an Active Approach
It is important to broach the subject before your kids start asking questions. The dialogue should not be a one-sided conversation. Children must be free to ask questions and discuss how the issue is coming up in their own lives.
Invest in Your Family
Successful and happy families tend to be that way because they are invested in each others lives. It is crucial to let children know that you care about them and that you have a genuine interest in their activities. When children know that their parents feel this way, they are much less likely to risk disappointing them or creating avenues of escape through drugs and alcohol. Communicating these feelings can be as simple as asking them about their day.
Lay Out the Facts
Parents must also understand that addiction is a disease often passed down through genetics. Families with a history of substance abuse are much more likely to produce offspring that will struggle with the same sorts of issues. It is important to find out this information and to share it with your children. Explain the history of the family to them, making them aware that it directly effects how their body will react to these substances. Knowing the risks will allow them to make better decisions when it comes to their relationship with drugs and alcohol. If you have a family member who struggles with alcohol addiction, click here for more information on how to approach them and discuss it with your kids.
Embrace Your Role
Parents also often make the mistake of trying to be the friend rather than the authority figure. Children actually need structure and guidance in their lives in addition to friends. Boundaries must be put in place. Your children will come to understand that you love them by recognizing that you cared enough to put rules in place meant to protect them.
A Loving Eye
Kids will eventually get to middle school and high school at which point they are much more likely to be exposed to pressure. Unfortunately, this is also the time they are least likely to share their personal lives. Parents must be persistent in keeping themselves aware of how their children are spending their time, the kinds of crowds they are falling into, and monitor any sudden changes in habits or behaviors.