The holidays are fast approaching and have you thought about what your teens will be up to? Two weeks off from school could spell trouble, especially if both parents are working. Research shows that one of the most important ways to reduce the chances that your child will get involved with drugs or alcohol is to stay involved in their life. Most kids who stay away from drugs do so because they understand the risks and because they know it will disappoint their parents if they find out.
The earlier that you begin the discussion with your child, the better. Risk of alcohol and drug use increases significantly during times when kids are trying to gain more independence and peer acceptance. Don’t just assume that your child is smart enough or strong enough to avoid use because they come from a “good” family. We hear stories everyday about kids getting involved in drugs and alcohol that come from stable family environments. A combination of family support and education is the key to prevention. The more they understand and are armed with information about what the drugs do physically, and how the results can lead to death, the more chance they will walk away.
One highly beneficial tool parents can use in the comfort of their own homes is to enroll their adolescent in an online alcohol and drug awareness class. Classes are for educational purposes and are designed to be interesting to young adults. Teens today are used to working with computers and find taking an 8 hour alcohol and drug class online to be a fun way to learn. A quality online class that is designed by a practicing and licensed psychotherapist will teach kids what drugs they will be exposed to, what the side-effects are emotionally and physically, and how long-term use will damage their lives. They will also learn stress management techniques so they don’t feel the need to partake for relaxation purposes, and skills in overcoming peer pressure. Kids will also learn that it’s against the law to drink alcohol at their age and it’s always illegal to use drugs and the serious legal consequences they will face if caught.
Along with having your teen take a class, here are some additional things that parents can do to protect their kids:
· Establish and maintain strong communication so they feel comfortable telling you problems and situations that arise.
· Listen to their issues and concerns with a nonjudgmental attitude.
· Get to know their friends and the parents of their friends. If their friends don’t engage in risky behavior, they most likely won’t either.
· Encourage your child to participate in supervised after school activities and be involved as much as you can by attending recitals, games or being a team mom/dad.
· Monitor and help guide their use of social media.
· Establish clear rules and enforce them on a consistent basis.
You will find that having your child devote time to gaining awareness about the risks and repercussions of drug and alcohol use, will be beneficial in the long run. They will feel good about and have strength in saying no when they are in situations in which it is available.