Substance abuse is becoming a major problem in our environment as teenagers move from the stages of experimentation to total dependence on these drugs.
Here are 5 ways to help your children avoid substance abuse:
Spend time with them. WE all get too busy with one thing or the other and do not spend quality time with our teens. Teens with hands-on parents who are involved in their lives are more likely to avoid drugs and alcohol. Families that spend time together, hang out and eat meals together have more opportunities for insightful and/or continual conversation. Discuss ways for your child to make responsible choices, no matter what his or her friends are saying or doing. Praise achievements. Never miss a chance to praise your child and build his or her self-esteem.
Encourage them to join a team. Sports build self esteem. Studies have shown that teenagers involved with sports are less likely to get involved with drugs or alcohol as teammates and coaches have expectations for everyone on the team to be playing to their full potential. Most teams also apply strict sobriety rules, which create a huge incentive for teens to stay clean.
Get them involved with an organization. If sports isn’t your teenager’s thing, get him involved in some other extra-curricular activity: arts, music or spiritual groups. These help keep the teenagers busy an interacting with groups that build a sense of positive self worth.
Be open and have discussions about drug abuse and consequences. Forget the old wives’ tales we were told as children about the consequences of drugs. Focus on facts and get them involved in figuring out how to avoid peer pressure when drugs are offered. Remember that even a teenager can develop a drug problem.
Ask your teen’s opinion. Listen to your teenager’s opinion on the issue. Watch the body language and do not be judgmental. If they sense this, they can clam up and you will be none the wiser as to their real views on drug use or whether they are using drugs already.
Beyond all these, Show good example. The teenagers learn a lot more from what we do than what we say!
Here’s to a healthier you!