Many parents are already setting children into sleep routines and checking off school supply checklists. One important activity to add to this end of summer rush is the Back to School Check-Up, a few ideas to ensure your children continue a drug-free life.
Pre-K to Sixth Grade
One of the first and best gifts we can give our child is Resilience. Teaching resilience is acknowledging that life can be difficult, but there are healthy ways to cope with that hardship. It is important we teach our children to power through strife, talk to us about their problems, and ask for help when they need it.
With this emotional and relational maturity, our children will be more resilient to peer-pressure and temptations from drugs. We can nurture this resiliency by not only talking to our children, but also modeling the behavior we want them to follow. Showing them ways to cope with stress without using substances can be a major step in building their resilience to drugs. Use breathing techniques, physical exercise, or communication to deal with stress.
For more information on modeling behavior, click here: https://drugfree.org/parent-blog/smoke-drink-lets-talk-role-modeling/
Middle school is a difficult time for children as peer pressure and fitting in become more important. The age for first use of drugs is between 10 and 12 years old. To prepare for this, it is a good idea to help your child develop and practice refusal strategies.
- Help your child understand the risks.
- Encourage your child to practice saying no.
- Work with your child to develop multiple excuses to avoid taking substances.
It may also be beneficial to develop a code with your child. Create a short phrase or message they can text you to get you to pick them up from any situation, no questions asked. Having strong lines of communication with our children can help them have the confidence to say no. For more information about drug refusal strategies, click here: https://aptparenting.com/effective-drug-refusal-skills-for-teenagers-adults
High School and Beyond
The teenage years can be a challenge for any parent/child relationship. Teenagers may try to find new levels of independence, but that is not always a bad thing. Keep communication open, and set clear boundaries. Explain what behavior is expected of your child and define clear consequences when rules are broken. Although parents are responsible for handing down authority, encourage your child to talk to you no matter the issue. Maintain your relationship, remind them of refusal strategies, and give them the freedom to be a teenager. Monitor your children but trust them to make the right decision. Intervene when they do not.
Check Your Home
Most of the prescription drugs teenagers experiment with come from the medicine cabinets in your own home or from the medicine cabinets of their friends. Today is a good time to go through your prescription medication and throw away any that are not needed or out of date. The safest way to dispose of prescription drugs is to take them to official drop boxes. For prescription drop box locations, click here: https://www.cvs.com/content/safer-communities-locate.
Remember, you are by far the greatest influence in the life of your children. Use that influence wisely as you continue to build a strong relationship with your child. This foundation will go a long way to encourage your children to continue a drug-free and healthy life.