Schools are supposed to be safe havens where our children learn. When we say goodbye to our kids at the bus stop or when we drop them off to school, we should feel confident that their day at the school will be fruitful. Hopefully, they’ll not only learn math, science and literature, but they’ll also acquire new friends. But nowadays, there’s a fear in many parents once their kids get ready for school. They are afraid that their precious sons might get bullied or maybe their daughters might become victims of sexual harassment. Then, there’s also the issue about drugs. It’s scary because even teenagers these days sell illegal substances to their own classmates. Also, a teen who is just too eager to please his new friends might be forced to try drugs or do things that he doesn’t normally do.
Most of the time, parents, family and friends feel helpless in the face of a loved one’s addiction. Still, there are things that we can do in order to prevent this from happening in the first place. Here are some issues that we need to carefully consider especially when we think that someone we know might be having a drug problem.
1. Know the reasons behind an addiction.
There are certain risk factors that push someone to do drugs. Due to fear of social rejection, a youngster might be tempted to try drugs to get accepted. Friends might be a bad influence, but so is a teen’s family. Young people, for instance, might be exposed to drugs early in life if their parents are also addicts, which increases their chances of becoming addicts themselves. Then, there’s also lack of parental supervision, which leads to feelings of rejection, depression, and anger, which can then develop into violent tendencies. All of these things are risk factors.
2. Be a parent who notices and listens.
Children need their parents’ approval even if they do not ask for it. They need their moms and dads to say “Great job!” or “Keep up the good work!” Individuals need to know that their efforts are being noticed and that their accomplishments are validated by people they value. So, always make your kids feel that you’re not taking them for granted. Notice and listen to them, and be especially perceptive once they stop sharing things with you.
3. Get your teen involved in worthwhile pursuits.
Today, we’re so used to just leaving our kids in front of the television. We don’t mind if they play with their Xbox, iPhones or PSP for hours. This gives us precious time to do what we like. But this isn’t right. Because you’re a parent, you have to accept the fact that you are responsible for another life. So, be a good example to that person. Spend time with your kids and encourage them to participate in meaningful activities, like volunteering at a soup kitchen, joining sports groups, or exercising. If possible, do things together too.
4. Seek immediate help.
Parents are not given a handbook that tells them how to deal with their teen’s drug addiction. So, if they suspect that their child might be having drug problems, they should get advice from professionals. Ask experts about how to approach the issue properly.
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Claire Duvall is a freelance blogger and a citizen concerned with school violence. She writes articles about school-related drug issues, as well as grave vandalism, in order to boost awareness regarding such issues. She also provides articles to a MA criminal defense lawyer, Elliot Savitz, who provides legal aid to those involved in these kinds of problems.