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Drug prevention is usually directed towards children and young adults. This is mainly due to the fact that they are more receptive to new ideas and for the most part have not already picked up bad habits such as using drugs or alcohol. So how can you help reach this age group before they begin to use drugs? Here are some helpful tips to prevent drug use.
- Know the facts: Drugs such as marijuana are more harmful than many people think. Take the time to learn the facts about drugs and talk to the person you are concerned about. Inform them of the harmful health, social, learning, and mental effects that drugs have on people.
- Set rules: Inform them that using drugs of any kind is unacceptable. Many young people say that upsetting their parents or loosing the respect of their family and friends is one of the main reasons they don't use drugs.
- Stay informed: It is important to know where they are at and who they are with. Know their friends and their friend parents.
- Be Aware: Watch for warning signs of drug use such as a sudden distance from family and friends, lack of interest in personal appearance, sudden changes in eating or sleeping habits, as well as trouble in school.
- Encourage participation in constructive activities: Encourage your teen to participate in after-school activities. Research shows that teens who are involved in constructive, adult-supervised activities are less likely to use drugs.
- Celebrate success: Praise and reward good driving and drug-free behavior. Enjoy time together as a family.
Drug prevention starts with parents. There are no guarantees that your child will not choose to use drugs, but as a parent, you can influence that decision by:
- not using drugs yourself
- providing guidance and clear rules about not using drugs
- spending time with your child sharing the good and the bad times
All of these are necessary to help in your child's drug prevention. Much of what children learn about drugs comes from parents. Take a few minutes to answer the following questions about your feelings and behaviors about tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. These questions will help in finding out your personal level of drug prevention regarding you child.
- Do you usually offer alcoholic drinks to friends and family when they come to your home?
- Do you frequently take medicine for minor aches and pains or if you are feeling sad or nervous?
- Do you take sleeping pills to fall asleep?
- Do you use alcohol or any other drug in a way that you would not want your child to?
- Do you smoke cigarettes?
- Are you proud about how much you can drink?
- Do you make jokes about getting drunk or using drugs?
- Do you go to parties that involve a lot of drinking?
- Do you drink and drive or ride with drivers who have been drinking?
- Has your child ever seen you drunk?
- Do you let minors drink alcohol in your home?
Teach your child to say no. Tell your child exactly how you expect them to respond if someone offers them drugs:
- Ask questions ("What is it?" "Where did you get it?")
- Say no firmly.
- Give reasons ("No thanks, I'm not into that.")
- Suggest other things to do (go to a movie, the mall, or play a game)
- Leave (go home, go to class, join other friends)
Parents can also help in drug prevention the fowling ways:
- Build your child's self-esteem with praise and support for decisions. A strong sense of self-worth will help your child to say no to tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs and mean it.
- Gradually allow your child to make more decisions alone. Making a few mistakes is a normal part of growing up, so try not to be too critical when your child makes a mistake.
- Listen to what your child says. Pay attention, and be helpful during periods of loneliness or doubt.
- Offer advice about handling strong emotions and feelings. Help your child cope with emotions by letting her know that feelings will change. Explain that mood swings are not really bad, and they won't last forever. Model how to control mental pain or tension without the use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs.
- Plan to discuss a wide variety of topics with your child during their drug prevention. This includes alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and the need for peer-group acceptance. Young people who don't know the facts about tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs are at greater risk of trying them.
- Encourage fun and worthwhile outside things to do; avoid turning too much of your child's leisure time into chores.
- Be a good role model by avoiding tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs yourself.
You're the best role model for your child. Make a stand against drug issues
- your child will listen.
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