More and more of our youth are becoming addicted to drugs. Our children are being introduced to drugs at younger and younger ages. According to a survey done by The National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40% of High School seniors have admitted to taking some illegal drug in the last year.
Drugs are affecting our children. And as parents, we must do something to stop it.
As parents, we must find ways to stand in the way between drugs and our children. We must set rules and consequences for our children. We must know who our children’s friends are. We must learn the signs of drug use; learn how to recognize those signs in our own children. We must learn how to help our children avoid drugs, and how to help them work through drug use and addiction.
But the most important thing parents can do to help protect their children from drugs is to educate them. It is not enough to educate ourselves. We must learn about drugs, and then share that knowledge with our children.
Perhaps the most beneficial way we can educate our children when it comes to drugs, is to educate them on the consequences of drugs. We can tell our children that drugs are bad. But unless they understand WHY drugs are bad, we may have a hard time keeping them away from them. They must understand how these drugs can and will affect their lives. That understanding can be the best protection and weapon we can provide our children with when it comes to drugs. They don’t need to learn these consequences firsthand. If you can help them to truly understand the harmful, life altering consequences of drug use, they will be better armed to make good decisions themselves.
Here are 5 ways that parents can teach their children about the consequences of drug use:
1. Teach them the science.
Kids are empowered by knowledge. If they are able to truly understand why and how drugs are so addictive, they may make smarter decisions when it comes to them. Teach your kids the science behind drug use and addiction. Teach them how drugs affect our bodies. Teach them how our bodies literally become physically and emotionally addicted to them.
Make sure your children are able to understand and learn how these drugs affect our bodies, how our bodies react to them, and how these addictions work. This will help your children understand that, if they get into drugs, it can easily get to the point where they will be giving up their own control; their bodies will take over and they can develop a serious, life altering addiction that will be very hard to overcome.
2. Talk to a drug counselor.
Drug counselors will have many, many stories about how drugs have affected the lives of those they have counseled. They will be able to tell your children stories of how great people’s lives were ruined. With these stories, your children will be able to relate to some of the people they hear about. They will be able to hear very real stories of the horrible consequences of drug use.
On top of that, drug counselors may have great suggestions for you and your children on how to protect themselves against drug use and abuse. They can tell them how to say no, how to fight addictions, and how to find help if they need it.
3. Take them to an AA or NA meeting.
What better way to learn of the consequences of drug or alcohol use than from the addicts themselves? If you feel your children have reached an age that is emotionally mature enough to handle it, take them to an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Let them hear directly from the addicts’ mouths their experiences. Let them hear the experiences they had that led them to form the addictions. Let them hear the things that they lost from developing these addictions.
Most people that are working through or that have worked to overcome one of these serious addictions want to help others avoid developing these same habits. You will find many helpful people at these meetings that will be willing to tell your children about their experiences, and give them advice on how to not go down their same path and lose all they have lost. Let your children see and hear what these people have given up in their lives due to their addictions. Let them hear of the horrible consequences that come with drug use and addiction.
4. Help them set goals.
Help your children to set goals for themselves and their lives. Help them to set short term, as well as lifelong goals. Help them to understand what they will be giving up if they become addicted to drugs. Help them to see that, if they become addicted to drugs, they will be giving up those goals they have set for themselves.
5. Tell them your experiences.
Help your children to learn through your experiences. Be honest with them. Tell them the experiences you have had with drugs; both good and bad. If you have had experiences with drug use, tell them to your children. Don’t tell them these stories to make you look “cool.” But tell them what you learned through these experiences. Tell them any consequences you encountered because of these experiences. Tell them why they were stupid decisions you made.
When you have said no to drugs, tell them those experiences also. Tell them why you said no. Tell them how you said no. Tell them the triumphs you had. Tell them other good ways in which you spent your time. Help them to understand that there is more to life than drugs. Help them to understand this through your own life and experiences.