In 2009, 23.3 percent of 12th grade students had used illicit drugs in the past month, according to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Parents need to stay on top of things if they want to prevent drug abuse in their children. Take a realistic approach to drug use and abuse to help your child make responsible choices.
Educating children about the effects of drugs can help to prevent drug use, though it shouldn’t be the only method you use. Teach your child the effects that certain drugs have, what they might look like so that she can recognize it when she sees it and how to say no when friends offer her drugs.
Talk to Them
Be open with your child about drug use and abuse. You may not get honest answers to questions about whether he’s used drugs or knows anyone who has, but you can let him know what you think about drugs and why you hope that he chooses not to abuse drugs. Monitor the types of movies and TV shows that he watches. Some will glorify or normalize drug use. You don’t have to ban him from watching these types of shows, but you can point out that reality isn’t always like the movies.
Keep Them Busy with Activities
If your child is active, then he has less time for using drugs. Try to encourage her to get involved in things that interest her. This could be sports, music, writing or theater. It doesn’t have to be a school-sponsored group. Even getting together with friends to create a magazine together can give her something to fill her time with.
Know Their Friends
The friends your child chooses have a good deal to do with whether or not he’s going to abuse drugs. The Recovery Network suggests making a point to know the names of all of your child’s best friends, along with the names and phone numbers of their parents. This allows you to follow up with any plans that your child makes with his friends and to see what types of people his friends are.
Dealing with Experimentation
It’s unrealistic to think that your teen will never be offered drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. She may even try them. What you can control is how you respond. Smoking one joint isn’t a reason to send your child off to rehab. It’s an opportunity to talk with her about your disappointment in her choice, what that could lead to and how you hope that she’ll make better choices in the future.