Supporting Loved Ones: Ways a Family Can Help Prevent Drug Abuse

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Ways a Family Can Help Prevent Drug Abuse

Drug abuse often begins at a young age. Once drugs have been tried, the risk of an addiction forming is greatly increased, especially if taken at a developmental stage of a child’s life. Therefore, the best defense against drug abuse is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. The biggest risk for drug abuse is between the ages of 14 and 20 according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. There are ways a family can help prevent drug abuse and ensure that their children are given the best start in life.

In this article, we will look how parents can prevent drug abuse in their children.

Communication

It all starts with communication. If you do not know what is happening in your child’s life, it makes it difficult to be able to guide them through their difficult life choices. ┬áStart by actively talking to your child every day. Share what happened in your day and find out how their day went. Try to avoid asking yes or no questions, but rather questions such as, “What did you enjoy most about today?”

Listen to what they have to say in a non-judgmental way in order to build trust between your child and yourself – avoid preaching to them. Peer pressure can begin as early as the fourth grade so you should be ready to start talking to them about what’s happening in their life from then.

Get Involved

Research shows that when a parent is involved with their child’s life, they are more likely to achieve prevention of drug abuse with their child. Spending time with them each day doing something they love can be a great foundation. Support their hobbies and interests, such as going to special events, and praise them for their achievements in it. You as a parent know your child well and when you see that they are feeling down, extend yourself and let them know that you are always there to help.

Role Model

One of the ways a family can help prevent drug abuse is through being a positive role model. Since a child will imitate their parents, setting a positive example to follow is important. Show them how they can solve problems and deal with stress without needing to turn to drugs or alcohol. Do not personally use drugs or overuse alcohol, and point out negative behavior in movies and where you see it.

Rules

Without clear rules that are frequently enforced, kids are more likely to try drugs or alcohol. How parents can prevent drug abuse is through clearly set rules. Rules should be discussed along with your expectations of your kids. Consequences for disobeying the rules should be made clear. Enforcing the rules is important, in a way that is in line with your previous discussions. Praise your child when they follow the rules.

Talk About Drugs

One of the ways a family can help prevent drug abuse is by talking to them about it early and often. Engaging them in a conversation about drugs to find out what they know and how they feel about it can go a long way. Further educate yourself on drug abuse so that you do not lose credibility by being incorrect. Role playing a situation where your child might try drugs can help to create methods for them to use in the prevention of drug abuse.

Through these ways a family can help prevent drug abuse, you can give your child a better chance at avoiding addiction altogether.

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/preventing-drug-abuse-best-strategy

http://www.ncpc.org/topics/drug-abuse/alcohol-tobacco-and-other-drugs