Are you stumped on how to encourage your child to live a drug free lifestyle?
Here are 10 things that the Addiction Policy Forum suggests parents or guardians do to be proactive in preventing substance use disorder later.
Communication and Support
- Talk early and often. Children are 50% less likely to use when their parents talk to them about the risks of drugs and alcohol.
- Support healthy activities. Belong to something; healthy attachment and prosocial engagement are two key factors that reduce the risk of a child developing an addiction.
Expectations and Consequences
- Set clear expectations of no use. Over 80% of children between the ages of 10-18 state that their parents have the most influence on whether or not they consume alcohol.
- Establish clear consequences. Specify what the consequence will be if they use drugs or alcohol; conversely, reward them for healthy choices and behaviors.
- It’s not your job to be cool. Children need parents that guide them and set clear expectations that will benefit them into adulthood.
- Do not provide alcohol or drugs to your teens. Providing alcohol or drugs increases use and other unsafe behaviors.
Engage, Observe, and Act
- Pay attention. As they get grow, kids seem to become less dependent and more independent, however, it is important to stay engaged throughout their adolescent years.
- Make time for your child. Spending time with family strengthens healthy attachment and has a long-lasting positive impact.
- Prioritize sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to serious health issues, making teens more vulnerable to substance use.
- Intervene early. If you suspect that your child is using, get help right away, the earlier they are treated the better their outcome.
Some key takeaways are: communicate, spend time, set expectations, and if necessary, get help. The Tuscarawas Anti-Drug Coalition has resources available to help promote a drug-free lifestyle and assist those that are struggling with substance use.