As parents, you don’t have to refrain from talking about alcohol, smoking or even drug abuse with your child. In fact, it is important that you do! Because if you don’t, somebody else will and mostly it shall be peers or seniors at school, who may not deliver the right details or an apt description.
You should open conversations regarding drugs, alcohol and tobacco with your child by the age of 7 and provide related information as they grow. You could give them everyday examples such as TV or newspaper stories, point out drug or alcohol related issues in society or neighbourhood and make use of situations to explain the ill-effects of addiction. They should be taught of what and whom to avoid on their way to school and back, should trust you enough to come home and tell you what their peers discuss and should rely on you for all the information that they may need.
Kids from families that drink wine with dinner or have beer on outings should be assured of the fact that this is social and responsible drinking unlike binge drinking which can cause silly, irresponsible and violent behaviour. This talk is specially needed when a family member has a drinking problem or where one or more members are regular drinkers.
Have regular discussions about addiction and substance abuse with older children and firmly voice your views regarding smoking and drinking. Make sure your child understands the hazards of drugs and its usage shall not be acceptable by you under any circumstances.
Increase your knowledge about drugs, alcohol and tobacco, other substances and inhalants available in the market that promote addiction and make your children aware of them and their side-effects.
Below are a few notes which you can elaborate on to convince your child:
- Discourage drunk-driving and never permit kids to travel with a drunk driver.
- Drinking slows our responses putting us at risk of being assaulted, especially girls. If an older child needs to be picked up after a party, do so. Questions can come the next morning.
- While the nicotine in cigarettes is addictive, smoking causes cancer and heart attack apart from making your teeth go yellow and breath smells bad! – Such things put children off!
- Marijuana is illegal and may cause imprisonment for child and parents. It causes short-term memory loss and affects performance in studies, sports and social life.
- Drug peddlers and users are put behind bars thus affecting their lifelong goals. Health concerns and mental instability grow over time.
- Inhalants and other products are highly dangerous and can cause fatality even at first use.
- Let your child know of healthier ways to beat stress, kill tension or control emotions rather than resorting to substance abuse.
- While speaking with kids be firm yet friendly. Ask them to be honest whether they have been offered or used such substances earlier by giving examples of your childhood memories.
- Encourage your kid to stay away from parties and people who engage in substance abuse. If he or she is in trouble or feels pressured by peers, let your child know you are just a phone call away.
- Encourage sports and club activities which shall enable them to enjoy without using drugs or alcohol.
- Sheetal Bidaye
- September 28, 2016
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