There are plenty of things we can do to help kids avoid drug abuse? Preventing addiction by knowing what to do while a child is young is a subject that I think needs to have more attention, on the news, in conversations, and on TV shows. I agree that we need to do everything we can to help the addicted person. What if parents would focus more on why teens turn to drugs and what we can do to assist them before they start using? If we are helping our kids cope with their problems, at the point before drug use starts, we could make a big difference in the drug problem today.
To help kids avoid drug abuse, we need to know the common things that can cause a person, especially a teenager, to turn to drugs.
There will always be people who never become free of addiction, but let’s think more about how they got there and what we can do to prevent it. To help kids avoid drug abuse, parents may start making more rules and tougher punishments for their teen. While we can’t let them run wild and destroy our family life if we let our lives get to the place of disarray where the teen is already using drugs, then there will be a mess to deal with that requires more time and effort than disciplining the child. In fact, discipline without dealing with why they did the drugs in the first place, will cause things to escalate.
My point is, it is rarely a lack of discipline that causes the need to help our kids avoid drug abuse. Often, a child has been dealing with issues since he was young and it’s best to help them with these matters when they start.
The common reasons why people turn to drugs are below.
1. A person feels like they can’t fit in with any social group. This may include a lack of social skills, self-confidence, or feeling no affirmation for what they truly enjoy doing. A young person may not know where to fit in if he isn’t supported in doing the things he loves? A teen may need a parent’s help in finding a group of peers that has things in common with him. It could be an afterschool group, a community activity, or starting a group on your own. Keep in mind that drug dealers will always accept and love a person, and drug users will take a person under their wings easily because they feel the other person’s pain. They know their drug will make them feel better.
2. A person may be suffering from a slight bit of mental illness or they may have suffered for years due to circumstances, trauma, living conditions, habitual disorganized or negative thinking, or hormonal changes. Mental illness can be a physical condition that is inherited through the genes of relatives who also suffered from the disease. The illness can run in families due to poor coping and living skills, or just because the person doesn’t have enough of the right brain chemicals to make them feel good.
For example, after 16 years of feeling tired, unhappy, dark, hopeless, unguided or loved, a child discovers drugs because they help them feel better. If your a person who naturally feels physically good after an 8 hour night of rest and you have been encouraged throughout your life enough so that your self-esteem is healthy, and somehow you were able to fit in with friends, then you might find this hard to understand in your child. However, they are living in different times with many different influences you may have never experienced.
If it were you feeling depressed, anxious, or mixed up, would you feel better locked in your room or grounded from all activities on top of it all? I’m shocked at the number of people that look down this narrow path of answers to getting their kids in line. Discipline has its place but often there are reasons for a person to act out and the things that person does isn’t going to change until we find out what it is that they are struggling with, and help them to figure out how to fix it.
3. Many kids, teens, and adults are subjects of bullying. They can’t avoid it, or they see no way out of it. Many are embarrassed to talk about it, and they feel alone or like no one would understand their pain even if they did talk about it. As parents, we need to find out what we can do to help our children if they are in this situation. We can’t think back of how we survived it and then assume our child will too. He is a different person and lives a different life with different influences.
Kids need excellent coping skills in a world where someone is offering them relief from trouble for a few dollars at every corner. I was surprised when I learned that the areas of the worst drug abuse in my county were in the less populated areas, where you would think the opportunities for buying drugs would be few and far between.
4. Some people and most kids don’t fully understand the scope of trouble these drugs will bring to their life. Or they don’t care about the problem when they have no hope of a better life. Especially for children, if their life is all about the pressure to be the best at everything they do, they may be miserable enough to seek relief.
After all, we can’t be with them 24 hours a day. If they are miserable they will find a way to feel better eventually. This is why we need to be educated on the signs of these issues and know the parenting skills we can use to help kids avoid drug abuse.
5. Do you know anyone who enjoys taking risks and the excitement that goes with it? Some people are bored with the things we think are interesting. They want that adrenaline rush and find it extremely hard to sit still or relax and do nothing. Maybe they find it in video games, or sports, but usually, this personality type needs more. These are the kind of people that could be happy at jobs that are risky. As a society, we need individuals who are willing to take a risk. These people are the future rescuers, police, detectives, warriors, bridge and construction workers, etc. As much as any mother wouldn’t choose these kinds of activities for their kid, I promise you it is better than sheltering them in a way that results in boredom to the point of seeking the high or risky behavior that drugs can provide.
Here are a few ideas of exciting things to get your kid involved in:
Scuba Diving or Snorkeling
Snowboarding or Skiing
Mountaineering and Hiking
Learn to fly a plane
6. Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. in here article, Teens and Drugs: What a Parent Can Do to Help on PychCentral.com explains that some kids do actually feel like they will get more attention from you if they get into trouble. As parents we have to think about this and decide, would they? Once a kid gets in trouble, families tend to focus more on helping them. Often it’s genuine, and relatives have no intentions of not giving a child the attention they need, life can be hectic for everyone.
At this point, we can talk openly about this and try to find out what they really want. Talking about anything with someone else helps a person to hear the words they are thinking and make more sense of them. We get to know each other on a deeper level that everyone desires whether they know it or not. Marie Hartwell also says that a teen may actually have dreams of fame, unlike the dreams parents have for their academic success or excellence in sports or other activities. He may be a more creative type. In a child’s frustration from not attaining these levels or feeling like their dreams would be unacceptable, he may turn to a “gangsta” scenario or something similar that would at least get him noticed.
7. Kids see adults have a few drinks to feel better. They see cigarettes as an addiction that’s acceptable in our society. Why are these things ok but other drugs that are similar are illegal. Kids notice everything you do and assume it’s normal. Unless they are explicitly told it’s not ok to do or experience plenty of time with people loving life without these things at a young age they will think it’s normal. As they get older it’s hard to reason otherwise. It’s a mixed up world and it’s our job as parents to help them see it clearly for what it is and how they can control their world for the better by doing and not doing certain things. For me, it was the opposite. When I was a teen I thought people who used alcohol and cigarettes looked happier. I was unaware of adverse circumstances that using these things would bring to my life. I was only told not to do it with no explanation of what it could do to me physically, emotionally, and other effects it could have on my life.
If we remember these factors and deal with them vivaciously, I know we could help kids avoid drug abuse.
Also, we could achieve astonishing results that would soon be the headlines we hear in this country. How great would that be!
If you’ve made it to this part of this post, then I’m going to share with you two important things that I believe our society needs to achieve in our schools today. (this is my opinion, and I’m hoping others will feel the same).
1. We need to have cameras in the classrooms. I’ve heard too many disturbing stories of children being bullied by their teachers and in front of their classmates. I have worked several jobs where cameras were watching me all day. I wasn’t working with children. Don’t our children deserve to be protected?
I also hear from kids over and over that most of the teachers in schools today don’t teach. They only assign a lesson and sit at their desks on their laptops while the kids scramble to figure out what they are supposed to be learning. Really??
I know this isn’t every teacher, but if there were a camera in the room they would be more inclined to do their job, right? I feel like this would deal with a whole lot of other issues also.
I can’t escape the thought that we have cameras to protect people and loss of retail items almost everywhere we go but our kids are put in the hands of one adult with no accountability except for maybe a twice a year check in from the principle. I would go so far to say that our children, especially elementary and junior high ages, have the right to this protection more than their teachers have the right to privacy. How many of us have privacy at work?
2. I believe Mental Health should be a required course in our schools. Most of us just do what our parents did when we have a family. What if they were wrong? What if your child is suicidal and you’ve done everything right but you don’t recognize the signs before your child commits suicide. Our kids deserve to know that no mental illness is something to be ashamed of. They need to know when to ask for help and that it’s ok to ask for help. Our society needs to be comfortable with the conversation of mental health. Many of us struggle with mental health issues but don’t talk about it. We need to be able to let go of our pride and talk about how we fought, especially with our children. We never know when someone is listening that really needs to hear our story.