Letter: Talking to our kids about drugs

Parents need to talk to their children about substance abuse and set a no use policy for their kids.

On Oct. 17 Canada will legalize recreational marijuana use for adults.

Now, more than ever, parents need to talk to their children about substance abuse and set a no use policy for their kids.

All parents want their kids to stay away from illicit drugs and alcohol. However, we need to clearly convey this message to our children. Our children need positive role models and fact-based discussions with Parents.

Young adults want clarity and boundaries when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Our kids are confused by conflicting messages. On the one hand, we cannot discourage drug use while on the other supply kids with the substances they need to get high, like alcohol. Parenting is a tough job – probably the toughest- and we need to develop a strong backbone and not enable our kids. Enabling can be defined as wanting to say no – but saying yes in order to avoid conflict and disappointment.

Dr. Marvin Krank from UBCO provides some very simple and sage advice for parents on how to talk to kids: Keep the lines of communication open, make positive statements, ask questions and always tell the truth.

Further, a recent publication by The Center for Substance Abuse Research (www.cesar.umd.edu) identifies the four characteristics of outstanding parents. Virtually all mothers and fathers are concerned about the challenges of raising their kids in today’s world. However, many fail to take the essential actions to prevent their kids from smoking, drinking or using drugs.

The four actions suggested by CESAR include:

Monitor school night socializing

The later teens stay out, the more likely they are to use alcohol or other drugs — even among older teens.

Safeguard prescription drugs

One-third of teens who know someone who abuses prescription drugs say that the person obtained the drugs from parents, home, or medicine cabinets.

Parents need to regularly talk

Have conversations about drugs and set a no-use policy for their kids.

Set a good example

Stay away from illicit drugs and use alcohol responsibly.

By following these points parents can help their children to live healthy, drug-free lives and become part of the solution.

Doug Rogers

Substance Abuse Prevention Counsellor SD22 (Vernon)

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