In today’s world, it is more important than ever that we as parents and guardians put our focus on drug prevention. Probably one of the most important factors to convey to our youth is that no one who ever experimented with drugs ever intended to become dependent on them. This is why prevention is so important. Children and teens may not realize how easy it is to fall so quickly into a bad situation, especially with the peer pressure that comes with adolescence.
Take action early and design a prevention program for your family that will help ensure a strong bond, supporting open communication between you and your children. Implementing programs such as these teach effective parenting skills and proper training in drug information and education. You will not only learn proper ways to communicate with your children, but will also learn effective ways of managing problematic situations and behaviors.
Remember, it is never too early to begin prevention methods. There are many early risk factors to keep in mind, such as poor social skills, academic difficulties, and aggressive behaviors. Attending to these obstacles early lessens the chances of risky behavior in the future, and can be done at all levels of schooling. Identifying and addressing potential risk factors can begin as early as preschool. Available school programs may help to address these risk factors as well as teach other skills, including emotional awareness, self-control, effective communication, and more. Community programs can also be a part of your child’s prevention path to help with various life events.
Outside of organized programs, simply guiding your child through life transitions and difficult situations, such as a move or a divorce, can be a big factor in preventing risky behaviors like drug use. Your child may not yet have the skillset to process difficult situations that may arise, so it is important to understand his or her individual level for communication. If your child has trouble talking with you about what’s troubling them, find them someone they can talk to like a therapist or close family member/friend.
Be sure to have an open conversation with your children about existing drugs, ensuring they understand the various classifications. You never know what they may be presented with, so arming them with more information will help them make healthy, smart decisions. Some children and adolescents seem to think that prescription medications cannot be abused because they come from a doctor. Not only that, but many do not see drinking alcohol as a problem or recognize that it is in fact a drug, so have a discussion with your child and always be conscious of your own alcohol consumption around your children.
Potential Risk Factors for Drug Use
Even with your best prevention techniques, it is still extremely important to be aware of and understand any risk factors your child may have that could lead your child to potential drug use. Some of these factors include:
- Poor academic performance
- Poor social skills
- Withdrawn from the family
- Ineffective parenting
- Life stressors with little or no parental support
- A caregiver who abuses drugs
- Association with drug-abusing peers
Educating yourself and your children through prevention programs and being aware of possible risk factors are extremely important in recognizing the signs of drug use/abuse. This also provides you the opportunity to intervene early should any abuse occur. The more education you have, the better you will be at preventing your children from using drugs.
If you should have any questions regarding resources for drug abuse prevention, contact us and we will be happy to help.