Keep Your Kids Safe from Substance Abuse in the New School Year

Millions of underage teens around the world abuse alcohol and drugs each year. Make sure your teen isn’t one of them.

Back-to-school season is a flurry of activity for parents of adolescents and teenagers. Clothes, electronics, accessories, and signing up for extra classes can make an already busy schedule seem overwhelming. And yet it is important to be mindful of the limits and expectations we set for our children, if they are to successfully navigate the peer pressure they may encounter at school.

In this blog post we’d like to endorse Psychcentral’s guidelines to help ensure your children stay substance free in the coming school year.

#1 Set Firm Limits About Alcohol Use

Children learn much of how they should respond and be expected to behave from experiences at home. Some research suggests that at six years old, children understand that alcohol is off-limits to kids. In fact, many children have formed the impression that drinking is not a big deal by age 9. Where do they get these messages? Primarily at home. This means that while there are many influences we cannot control, such as media and the internet, we can influence some of these expectations from the home front.

The following are useful strategies for creating healthy attitudes towards and behaviours with alcohol. First, consume alcohol responsibly and communicate that underage drinking is not acceptable. Second, there is considerable research that shows that when parents are more engaged in their children’s lives, their offspring are at significantly less risk for using drugs and alcohol. So, be sure to keep track of your child’s activities and friends and maintain trust through caring communication.

#2 Do Not Use Illicit Drugs

Alcohol use, though carrying great health, financial, and social risks, is legal in almost every country. In contrast illicit drug use poses additional risks because of legal and criminal liabilities. For this reason, it is important to set a positive example and abstain from drug use.

This is equally true for marijuana, which is now becoming legal or de-criminalised in some areas. While gaining greater social acceptance, marijuana nonetheless poses health and behavioural risks, especially for developing children. Teenagers who chronically use marijuana have shown significant changes in their personality as well as their academic performance. Therefore, it is important to avoid exposing teens to drug use of any kind, including marijuana.

#3 Be Careful with “Study Aids”

Teenagers are under a lot of pressure to get good grades. A great number of students are now prescribed stimulants to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as Ritalin or Adderall. These days, however, more and more students who do not have a prescription are getting access to these drugs and using them for studying. It is important that you explain the dangers and risks of using drugs without a prescription so that your children avoid these powerful stimulants.

If you are concerned about addiction, please contact one of our specialists today.

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