1. Keep Yourself Current
Take the time to learn what kids are using and experimenting with now. It changes constantly. Alcohol and pot will always be around. It is the other drugs that can be quite confusing. What might look innocent to you could actually be something quite different. Know what’s out there and know its street name.
2. Visual Examples
Drugs can take bright and shiny futures and reduce them to rubble. Examples are plentiful and abundant. The perfect student who became addicted to “huffing” and now lives on the street. The all-American girl who tried crack and now sells herself for just another fix. The son in jail for attempting to rob a pharmacy. Make sure your children see the outcomes of drug abuse.
3. Talk Real
Lip service will not do in this matter. If you want to get through you have to talk real and open with your kids. Do not show anger or frustration. Sincerity is what you want. Give them examples of kids you knew growing up that used drugs. We all have stories. Do not hide them.
4. Spiritual Guidance
Try to involve your teen in a strong, faith-based youth program. Positive peer pressure is an awesome thing. Most churches today offer outstanding programs with great leadership. Any and all are welcome.
5. Avoid Threats
Every teen likes to rebel. It’s part of the growing process of learning to think for themselves. Weird clothing might be annoying, but it sure beats experimenting with drugs. Regarding this subject, try to avoid using threats and harsh tones. This really needs to be their own decision to abstain. The last thing you want is for them to try something simply because they’ve been told they can’t.
6. Be the Gatekeeper
Drugs such as alcohol and marijuana are often called gateway drugs. Cigarettes as well. Kids who later become ravaged with drug addiction most times started with these. Rare is the child who starts right in abusing crystal meth. Be a gatekeeper and strive to prevent the problem before it ever starts. Do not shrug off the use of these “lesser drugs” as just “kids being kids.”
Who does your son spend his time with? Who does your daughter hang out with after you drop her off? For a variety of reasons, it is vitally important to know the people in your children’s lives. Make the time to meet them . Throw a party. Meet their parents. Trust your instincts. Drug use always begins with “Hey, try this. It will make you feel awesome.” That is the person you do not want around.
8. Clean Image
This should go without saying, but do not under any circumstances use illegal drugs yourself. Teenagers are very perceptive. If Mom and Dad are smoking pot on a regular basis, they will know. Your image in their eyes needs to be spotless. This is not the time to be a hypocrite. Many parents deal with addiction to all sorts of drugs. Legal and illegal. Clean yourself up and seek treatment. Do it for your children.
9. Do Not Shelter Kids from Reality
Our first instinct is to always protect. We want to hide them from the harmful things in this world. Sticking your head in the sand will do no good. Talk honestly about the perils facing them. Know that they will encounter drugs, and give them the foundation to resist the temptation. Educate them as much as you can. It can be very difficult to say no. Make sure they know why they should.
10. Solid Foundation
People who abuse any type of drug most times speak of enjoying “the escape.” Something in their life has become so painful they will do whatever it takes to forget it for just a little bit. It could be anything. Parental abuse. Violent surroundings. Bullies at school. Insecurities. Give your children a stable and secure home. Treat them with respect and decency. Create the atmosphere where they are comfortable to share anything and everything with you. It is your utmost duty as a parent.