Parents who are concerned that their son or daughter could be at risk for developing a drug addiction should never feel helpless. A variety of support systems, treatment plans, and health care options exist to treat addiction, but more importantly, parents can have a significant influence on preventing addiction in their child, and helping to ensure a life lived free and safe from the negative impact of alcohol and illicit drugs. What follows is a list of parental drug and alcohol use prevention tips:
- Talk to Your Child. One of the simplest, and most effective steps that parents can take in preventing drug abuse is to foster open dialogue with their children. Explain to your child the risks involved with drug use, discuss how to manage peer pressure, and most importantly let him or her know that you will always support them and help them to manage any situation that may seem difficult to navigate.
- Just Say No. Parents should never fear being perceived negatively by their child for holding a firm line relative to drug and alcohol use. When it comes to the health and safety of your child, a fear of incurring their frustration over having to abide by your drug abstinence rules should not be seen as a reason not to provide discipline when necessary.
- Be Their Role Model. Research indicates that parents who drink alcohol or use drugs are more likely to have children who do the same. By setting a positive example you demonstrate to your child that drugs and alcohol do not have to become a part of every day life.
- Know The Three Ws: Who, What, and Where. Ask your child where they are going, who they will be with, and what they will be doing every time they leave your house. Research shows that adolescents who are not regularly monitored by their parents are four times more likely to use alcohol or drugs than those children whose parents are more engaged. To encourage comfort and trust, get to know your child’s friends on a personal basis. Make them feel welcome in your home and encourage them to spend time at your house where you can be sure they are having fun in a secure environment.
- Maintain Open Dialogue with Other Parents. It is also essential to get to know the parents of your child’s friends. Make sure these parents know your rules about alcohol and drug use and keep the lines of conversation open among you. If you ever need to reach out to another parent to validate your child’s story about where they were or what they were doing at their friend’s house, you will need to have established a foundation of respect and trust with one another.
- Maintain a Safe Environment. For many adolescents the most accessible alcohol and prescription medications are those found in their own homes. If you do have these items in your home, store them in a secure location and monitor their quantities to ensure that they are not being consumed by your child.
To read more about this topic, view our recent post support for parents of teens who use or abuse substances.
Painkillers Kill is dedicated to providing support, resources and HOPE to families in Western New York. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please reach out for help today.