As a parent, you want the best for your child. This desire is often juxtaposed to the polarizing world your child is growing up in compared to your own childhood experiences. Today, our youth are living with an onslaught of unique challenges that you, as a parent, couldn’t have even conceived when you were your child’s age.
Kids are more exposed to online threats, peer pressure and societal influence now than ever before. Due to these high-anxiety times, children are potentially more susceptible to drug or alcohol addiction than in previous generations. If you fear a young family member has a problem with addiction, please read further for suggestions on how to help your child avoid addiction today and in the future.
Serve as an Example to Your Kids
What is crucial to realize when helping your child avoid addiction issues is that, as a parent or guardian, you set the standard. That means you serve as the ultimate example. After all, if you indulge in late-night partying or binging on booze or drugs – what kind of benchmark does that set for your child? Therefore, make every effort to live in the manner that you expect your child to live.
If You Have a History, You Have an Advantage with Your Child
If you’ve struggled with addiction in the past, you know what a devastating trap addiction can be. Perhaps you’ve gone through an intensive 30-day addiction treatment, or undergone therapy for addictions. Ironically, this can be your best advantage in helping your child avoid addiction.
To explain, your experience with alcohol or drug abuse gives you first-hand knowledge about how your child might be coping with challenges in his or her young life. Recall what first started you down the path of addiction and relate that to what your child might be going through.
Furthermore, if you have a past history of addiction, share that with your young one. Radical honesty is the best source of prevention when it comes to keeping your kids off drugs or alcohol.
Tell your children how you suffered in the past, and even go so far as to share some of your darkest moments while embroiled in substance abuse. Opening up by sharing your experiences with your kids can be a powerful preventative in keeping your kids away from addictive habits.
Uphold Your Right to Monitor Your Child
Too often, parents get caught up in the rights of their children. Many parents prefer to give them freedom, or skirt around the idea of “checking in” because they think it might invade their child’s privacy.
In truth, you are the authority. When you brought your child into this world, that made you the responsible one. Ergo, it’s your position to do whatever is necessary to help your child avoid addiction – including monitoring their activities. Take action by observing how your child interacts with other children at school and at play.
Also, take affirmative action by getting monitoring apps for electronic devices. These apps will allow you to observe and control what your child sees, engages in and spends time watching TV, their smartphone or tablet. If need be, restrict the amount of time spent on these devices, which can be controlled through monitoring apps.
In a child’s world, this might seem cruel. As an adult, you should see it as protecting your kid from influences that could lead to risky behavior which may ultimately lead to addictions.
Attend your kid’s social events, concerts, sports venues, etc. Get involved with their homework assignments and extracurricular activities. Why? Because doing so manifests two results: 1) Your child will know you care, you are there, and you are overseeing their activities. 2) You will get a clearer sense of your child’s behavior and understand his or her interaction with their environment.
To prove the importance of getting involved, let’s look at some sobering statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Over 14% of kids who reported using illicit drugs confessed that their parents were not involved with their studies or after-school life.
Alternatively, that figure was reduced by half with kids who said their parents took an active role in their school and recreational lives. If you can decrease the chances of your child becoming an addict by half, it’s certainly worth getting actively involved in their lives.
The Last Word on Protecting Your Child From Addiction
In the final analysis, there is no way to bubble-wrap our children and shelter them from every conflict or threat life poses while they grow up into adults. However, there are measures every parent can take in order to safeguard kids from picking up addictive behaviors. As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. Therefore, you have the power to help prevent his or her descent into addictive patterns.