How Do We Help Our Children Not Fall Into Addiction?
Whether it be through media or other children, exposure to drugs and alcohol can happen at a very young age. As a parent, it’s impossible to know everything your little one has seen or heard throughout the day which is why it’s crucial to make sure they’re ready if ever presented with the option to drink or use drugs. You’ll also be able to help them understand and process if they see someone they know abusing substances.
Knowledge Is Your Strongest Tool
Drug and alcohol use have a list of social stigmas and stances associated with them, many of which aren’t found in the normal conversation of a kindergartner. This makes teaching them about substance use a multi-year lesson that evolves as they mature and form their own views. Remember that the goal is to protect your children from negatively impacting their life due to drinking or drug use.
For toddlers and children about to start school, the easiest lesson to start with is explaining that certain products in the house are dangerous. Examples include household cleaners or medicine bottles. Explain that these things could hurt them without being overly dramatic. Always answer any questions they have and you’ll quickly find that they start coming to you first any time they’re worried or curious about new substances in their life.
You Can Start Teaching Them at Any Age
As much as many parents wish, there’s no way to shield a child from every possible exposure to drugs and alcohol. It could be something as innocent as a family member or the parent of a school friend having a drink they can’t share that creates a three year old’s first idea of alcohol. What you focus on teaching them will depend on how old they are when you start.
Building the foundation that some substances are dangerous when a child is young makes it easier to talk about specific problems that come with drug or alcohol use. Leverage any personal experience with substance use to be a wealth of knowledge and honest communication for them. Set rules about drugs or alcohol in the house, making prescription bottles and alcoholic drinks inaccessible.
Children will naturally start becoming more independent as they grow, making proactive measures in teaching them about drugs and alcohol even more valuable. Build them up and encourage them to explore their interests to show them how fun life can be without being under the influence. Help them work through difficult decisions and challenges they face while still letting them make the final decision.
It’s Never Too Late To Learn
Addiction is a lifelong disease that can be difficult to manage without the right help and support. Parents can teach their kids everything they need to know but still have to model the behavior they’re looking for in their children. This means responsible consumption, engaging in healthy activities, exploring hobbies, and overcoming setbacks.
If your child is struggling with drug or alcohol use, or you want to be a sober role model, America’s Rehab Campus can help. From outpatient treatment that works around job or school schedules to residential treatment that maximizes success, you’ll find exactly what you or your loved one needs. Start the next chapter in your journey by reaching out to ARC today.