Teenage drug abuse is a parent’s nightmare. How many of us have known parents who seem to have done all of the right things when raising their children, and they still end up having a child who becomes addicted to drugs? We see it every day. Unfortunately, teenagers are bombarded with all types of pressures on a daily basis, and often times, their parents really don’t realize the difficulties that these young people are facing.
What can you do to ensure that your teenaged son or daughter stays away from drugs? Well, obviously, you can only do so much, but there are some steps you can take to keep your child off of drugs. If you are serious about protecting your child from drug abuse, you need to start talking to him when he is still a preteen. Drug dealers are known to target junior aged children because they are so often easily manipulated. Don’t assume that your child is too young to be offered drugs!
What do you need to say to your child about drugs? Not only should you tell your child the dangers of drugs, but you should also play out a few possible scenarios that might occur between your child and a drug pusher. Teach your child how to say, “No!” Let her practice as you play the role of a smooth-talking drug dealer.
You may think that the odds of your child being approached by a seasoned drug dealer are slim, and you may be right. Actually, your child will probably have a much harder time saying no to one of her friends than a stranger. Peer pressure can have tremendous pull during the adolescent years. If your child has a friend or friends who are experimenting with drugs, she may very easily be pulled into that scene. You need to address these issues with your child before they occur. Help your child find ways to say, “No!” Let her know that she needs to come to you if anyone she knows is using drugs.
While open communication with your child is one way to combat potential drug problems, there are several other steps you can take. Although you probably can’t pick your child’s best friend, you can provide opportunities for her to meet children who are from stable backgrounds. Of course, it goes without saying that this doesn’t necessarily mean that their children are drug free. However, if your child is friends with children who also have concerned parents, all of you can make a concerted effort to help your children avoid the pitfalls of drug use.
If your church has an active youth group, encourage your child to become involved. You can offer to host some of the activities at your home. Sports can become one of the greatest deterrents against drugs. You can encourage your child to become involved in sports activities by signing him up for community sports leagues at a very young age. As he grows, he will not only learn and develop certain skills, but he may also make lasting friendships. His sports experiences can continue as he plays for school sponsored teams.
If your child is not very sports-minded, focus on other extracurricular activities, such as band, chorus, drama, dance, cheerleading, music, and art. The key here is to keep your child as busy and involved as possible. The less time she has to spend idly, the better chances you have of keeping her away from drugs.
Finally, it is important for you to realize that if your child still uses drugs, you are not a bad parent. Sometimes, there is only so much that we, as parents, can do. If you do all of the right things and point your child in the right direction, and she still chooses to defy your authority, break the law, and abuse drugs, it is her choice. Just be sure and let your teenager know that you have high expectations of her and that you believe she can and will do the right thing and stay off of drugs.Finally