Educating kids on the facts about drug and alcohol abuse can greatly affect whether they make a decision to try either during their tween and teen years. Children Now, a national organization dedicated to issues relating to children, suggests initiating the conversation with your child, listening carefully to his questions and feelings on the topic. You should also provide your children with a good example and be clear in your expectations.
Negative Effects of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Children need to understand the dangers that drug and alcohol abuse can bring both in the short term and long term. People who abuse drugs lose interest in their families, friends and other things that used to be important to them. They risk going to jail, endure a variety of health problems, including weight lose or weight gain, appear nervous, and can be easily angered or saddened.
Types of Drugs and Alcohol
Educate your child on the various types of drugs and alcohol that exist. Let them know that some are illegal, while others are legal with certain restrictions, including age. Kids Health, an organization that promotes healthy families, lists the following drugs and alcohol as essential to talk to your kids about: cigarettes, alcohol, prescription drugs, marijuana, ecstasy, heroin and LSD. Although there are others, these are the main drugs that kids are confronted with by their peers.
Prescription Drugs Can Be Bad
Children are taught at a young age that there’s a difference between the drugs they take to feel better and the illegal ones. It’s important to explain to your child that even prescription drugs can be bad, and illegal, if used for the wrong reasons. D.A.R.E., an organization that provides information on resisting drug abuse, notes that although misuse can be deadly, teens are abusing prescription drugs at alarming rates. In fact, they are abusing prescription drugs more than marijuana.
According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, on average 2,500 teens a day use a prescribed drug, typically found in their own homes, to get high for the first time.
After-School Activities Can Reduce Risk
Getting involved in after-school activities such as drama club, sports, cheerleading and dance classes can help reduce a child’s risk of trying drugs and alcohol. The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center discovered that children who aren’t enrolled in after-school activities are 49 percent more likely to have used drugs.
Cool Kids Say “No”
With an overwhelming amount of peer pressure and the glamorization of drug and alcohol use among teens on television and in music, kids start to believe that if everyone is doing it, they should too. It’s important to give your one important fact–cool kids say “no.” Drugs and alcohol don’t make you cool.