Remember that the choice is always theirs, and controlling their life will only make them miserable and more prone to use drugs to escape or rebel. Instead, establish mutual trust and respect, and teach them how to honor you by making responsible decisions for themselves. Only do this if you actually know for a fact, from first person information, excluding the government. If you lie, or you don't know what your talking about, and you raise a smart kid, they will assume that it's ALL propaganda, and distrust you on every piece of advice.
Your children may ask you about your experience with drugs. Prepare your answer--being honest with them could help them to respect your advice. Do not use a statement similar to "It's illegal so it must be terrible" While this statement may be appealing because of it's ease of use, remember that illegality does not only come from the negative affects of the drug it also comes from financial and political issues. After finding no information with basis on truth that is anti-marijuana you may have to lie to keep the drug hate going (this may not agree with your morals).
Simply mention your negative experiences with marijuana, along with some positive ones to be fair. Or explain that some people might not be able to realize or admit to themselves when marijuana is negatively affecting their life. If you deny that there is any benefit from drug use, or you insist that all drug use (no matter how minor) will have devastating effects, you are setting yourself up to fail. Any child who tries drugs and realizes that your statements were exaggerated or false will simply ignore any other correct information you gave them.
It is important to make your argument against drug use to your child well rounded. Do you suspect that your child is using an illegal substance? If you are a parent in this unfortunate situation, you need answers and solutions to help both you and your child get the help you need before the problem escalates. Watch carefully to determine whether your child is having sudden and inexplicable shifts in mood and behavior. If your child is usually kind and easygoing and suddenly becomes routinely angry and irritable, you need to be attentive to him and consider the possibility of drug abuse.
Certain drugs have a tendency to create altered states of mind. If your child is sleeping more than usual and is often lethargic, she may be using narcotics. If, on the other hand, she is radically upbeat and almost elated beyond control, she may be using amphetamines. Look for unusual paraphernalia like hash pipes, aluminum wrappers, roach clips, straws that have been cut in half and similar objects connected to drug use. If you suddenly see odd pieces of equipment like this in your child's backpack or hidden in his dresser drawers, he is most likely either using drugs or hanging out with friends who are doing so.
Note whether the child is taking less care of her personal grooming. If your daughter begins to see little point in brushing teeth, combing hair, putting on clean clothes or bathing, you could be dealing with a drug problem. Pay attention to sudden changes in money-spending habits. If your child begins asking you for money and can't provide explanations for where the money is going, you should pay attention. Don't offer any more cash until he tells you how he plans to spend the money. Be aware of the friends your child is spending time with.
If she is hanging around with a new group of friends you don't know, you might need to take note of it. Also, if after these new friendships form, you see sudden changes in behavior, including secretiveness, deception, late hours at night, inexplicable gaps of time when unreachable by cell phone, you need to consider that she may be abusing drugs. Discuss the problem with a qualified drug counselor. It is helpful to get information from these individuals and discuss ways to help the child. Explain to your child that you have concerns about his well-being and you would like for the both of you to go to a counselor to talk about things.
You might not want to specify suspected drug addiction at this stage. Permit the counselor and your child to develop a therapeutic relationship. You need to ask the counselor to assist you in determining whether the child has a substance abuse problem and whether she needs to enter a rehabilitation facility. Take steps to enter the child into rehab if the problem requires that level of care. To "Just Say No" to drugs and alcohol, one must have a reason and that reason must be that there are more interesting, and productive activities to choose from. It also helps to have an answer to peers who may offer these substances to you.
You are important in prevention. For example, when it comes to substance misuse, the quality of family life and relationships, which you help determine, are among the most powerful protective factors. The perfect parent is a myth. Because every family and every child is different, there is no perfect parenting model or method. But with intuition and effort, we can all find better ways to parent. You are your child's #1 teacher. Don't leave it up to schools or the community to teach your children to avoid drugs. Also, don't be afraid to start talking early with your children about medications, alcohol and other substances.
Your children need you. They need to feel your love and the reassurance that they have an important place in the family and that home is a safe and good place to be. They will feel better about themselves knowing this. And when they have a concern about something like drugs, they will be more likely to talk to you about it. Don't be afraid to set limits. Children from homes with reasonable but firm rules and expectations are actually happier than those with no rules or structure. Be frank and honest in setting rules about alcohol or other drug use, and be firm in knowing where your children are and when they are expected home.
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