The drug problem today is a very different problem than it was twenty years ago. Every day, in the US alone, more than 7000 people try drugs for the very first time. Most of those new users are young people. Only one in five persons in this country who need drug addiction treatment ever receive it, and typical drug rehab programs do not have very good success rates.
According to the American Cancer Society there are about 450,000 tobacco smokers In the US alone.
We hear these kinds of alarming statistics often, but the time comes when facing the drug dealer is something with which every young person must deal. It’s at that point we hope and pray that his or her teachings on the topics of drugs and their dangerous effects will be sufficient to keep on the straight and narrow. Those teachings begin at home. And for many years, the most important lessons will also, be from the home. Good habits and bad habits can be learned right in the family. Sometimes, the parents are really the kid’s worst enemy when it comes to the area of drug abuse.
But for most, lessons learned at home will help guide them in a pro-survival direction.
Teaching our sons and daughters about drugs before the drug dealers and the drug culture gets to them is imperative.
Here are some points to watch to help keep the family drug-free:
Ensure the kids know that drug abuse is not acceptable in any way.
You would be amazed at how often the use of illegal drugs is actually promoted by parents. I’m not necessarily talking about smoking weed in front of the toddlers, although that happens alarmingly often. But your kids have to know that you completely disapprove of drug abuse among adults or among children. It is very important to be completely clear on this. It makes a difference.
But Dad relating “Fond Memories” of when he used to get high and all the fun and funny things he did while stoned are almost as bad as offering the drug directly to the child. Children naturally try to emulate their fathers and mothers. That’s how they learn most of what they know about the world and what is expected of them.
Point out the times and places where various media attempt to normalize drug abuse.
Movies and television shows are notorious these days for showing marijuana use or heavy drinking as a normal aspect of being a young person in the 21st century. Whether it’s a comedy or drama or action film, it’s often played up as expected that the cooler youngsters brought the alcohol to the party. It is made to look like the adults were the clueless ones and the kids, getting high, know the world much more clearly.
While these influences are everywhere and they get more exposure to the kid that do parents, they don’t carry nearly the weight you do. When these things come up on the TV, don’t just laugh with everyone else, pause it or mute it and say, “There, did you see the way they’re making drug use and under-age drinking look cool?”
They don’t see it. They can’t be expected to recognize it. The alcohol and tobacco companies rely on their ignorance and on their naiveté.
Don’t leave your kids open to these influences. If these attempts to sway children and young adults into the direction of drug and alcohol abuse are noticed and recognized by all, they lose their effectiveness and do more to wise the kid up than to persuade.