Special to The Morning Star
Illicit substances, including tobacco and alcohol, are easily available to children and adolescents.
As a parent, you have a huge impact on your child’s decision not to use drugs.
In most cases, children in elementary school have not begun to use alcohol, tobacco, or any other kind of drug. That is why elementary school is a good time to start talking about the dangers of drug use.
This is the best time to start to introduce difficult topics and set clear expectations. It is crucial to prepare your child for a time when drugs will be offered.
Drug abuse prevention starts with parents learning how to talk with their children about difficult topics.
Then, the programs offered by school, sports, and other groups can support what you have started.
As a parent you have significant influence on your child’s decision not to use drugs or alcohol. Prevention stars by talking and listening to your child. Your kids want to talk to you about drugs and need your advice.
Moreover, they require boundaries. Establish a no use rule in your family. Simple rules help kids make healthy choices. Rules such as:
n Provide guidance and clear rules about not using drugs.
n Do not use tobacco or any other drug yourself.
n Set limits. Set a clear time for homework, bed time and a specific time to be home.
n Give your child specific duties and chores. This will help them grow and mature.
Modeling is another important feature in parenting. Be a good example for your child. If you drink, do so in moderation and never drive after you drink.
Finally, help your child make smart choices. When your child makes a poor choice, love them and correct their behaviour without criticising them.
This will help them build self-esteem and help them to make better choices in the future.
Doug Rogers is the substance abuse prevention counsellor for the Vernon School District.