By Melissa Ford
What can a drug forum for parents and fifth graders teach a seasoned, “been-there, done-that, dealt-with-that-too” parent with adult kids? More than I ever knew starting with some compelling statistics and ending with creative tips and strategies to help parents support their children. If you weren’t in attendance at the 5th Grade Parent/Child Cafe at Percy Julian Middle School last week, consider these statistics and tips:
Did you know . . .
- That your child is 47% less likely to abuse substances if s/he has had on-going conversations with you regarding drugs and alcohol use and are aware that you object to teen use.
- If you don’t talk to your child about drugs/alcohol/tobacco use, then it appears to be silent permission. Avoiding conversations leaves it up to your child to interrupt your position on alcohol, drug and tobacco use.
- Your child is seven times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol if they start smoking cigarettes before the age of 15.
- Teens have a much higher chance of addiction from use due to brain maturation than an individual in his/her 20‘s who experiments with drugs and alcohol.
- Kids feel safer when their parents put up boundaries around drugs, alcohol & tobacco use.
- Your child’s first experience with drugs, alcohol or tobacco will be through their friends.
- Talking to your child ONCE about not using drugs, alcohol and tobacco isn’t enough. It’s only the beginning and you need to keep talking!
Take powerful parental action . . .
- Set boundaries around drug, alcohol and tobacco use and enforce them.
- Talk to your child and really listen to them.
- Be a responsible role model for your child. Keep your own use within safe and sensible limits.
- Get to know your child’s friends and their parents.
- Keep informed. Attend Parent Cafes and other forums about substance abuse.
- Let other parents know “your rules” about curfew, parents being home, drinking, smoking, drugs use . . .
- Contact other parents to confirm they will be home if your child is going to their house.
- Become more involved when your child gets to middle school.
- Make a pact with other parents that you will keep each other informed.
- Role play situations with your child before s/he encounters these circumstances. Predetermined responses empower your child.
- Ask your child how you can support them. What ideas does s/he have that you can use to help?
- Provide your child with a secret text code, which s/he can send - requiring you to call and/or come to his/her assistance.
What useful ideas have you heard about or used to empower your child around alcohol, drug and tobacco situations?
Answer Book 2017
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2017 Answer Book, please click here.
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