Disclaimer: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Adelphi University. The opinions and text are all mine.
I don’t keep it any secret that I am an adult child of an alcoholic. I know the importance of talking to your kids about drugs and alcohol.
My father passed away in May of 2011 due to cirrhosis of the liver as a result of his alcoholism. He was 56 years old.
In addition, my father in law is a recovering alcoholic of 25+ years.
I worked in an outpatient substance abuse where juveniles as young as 12 were using alcohol and drugs. We saw teenagers and adults with DUI’s and possession charges.
I have studied substance abuse and addiction in my post education courses.
I know that substance abuse can start at a young age. There is peer pressure. Substance abuse knows no bounds.
Knowing what I know, there is a higher likelihood of my children having addictive personalities because of addiction runs strongly in both sides of mine and my husband’s family.
Knowing this information, I know that it is important to talk to our children about drugs and alcohol.
Currently, my kids are 8, 6, and 1. I feel they are still too young to fully understand, but I know that my oldest is slowly getting closer and closer to needing to learn and I would rather she learn from me than her peers.
Fortunately, Adelphi University‘s Dr. Audrey Freshman, Ph.D., LCSW, CASAC has shared 5 tips to make talking with your kids about drugs and alcohol easier and I am sharing them with you.
1. It is never too early to discuss how to tolerate negative feelings.
Helping a child to navigate the world of drugs and alcohol starts early on in a child’s life. Drug prevention begins with a child’s ability to gain life skills. Essential is the need to self-regulate emotional states and to manage uncomfortable feelings of anger, sadness, boredom and frustration without resorting to immediate escape. It is important to teach a child that their negative feelings will pass and to model ways to cope through exercise, relaxation and healthy diversion.
2. It is never too early to being drug education.
Children of all ages are exposed to the helpful benefits of medication. They witness commercials advertising pain and psychological relief aides. It is important to differentiate the correct way to take medication, to use medication as prescribed, to supervise the use of medication in an age-appropriate way, to discard bottles once treatment is over. Help your child to understand proper use of medication, what drugs are not safe to take (e.g. unprescribed opiates or stimulants) and define abusive use of medications. The same way we teach children not to drink bleach we must teach them never to take someone else’s pills or to give their own away.
3. Talk to your child about drug and alcohol refusal skills.
It is very difficult, particularly as the child gets older to resist peer-pressures and still feel socially connected to a peer group, Identify the dilemma for your child and practice ways to say “no” to drugs and alcohol in advance of a party or social event. If you worry that your child will be at-risk in a social setting, such as a concert, plan in advance to set parameters for safety e.g. curfew, transportation home, Remember, you are a parent and not a friend so stay in your role as supervisor.
4. Drug prevention is a family affair.
Studies show that the more meals a family eats together the less likely a child is to develop a drug or alcohol problem. It is vital to plan family time in a structured and prescribed manner so that a child is aware of a time to talk about issues of the day. A child will assimilate the goals and expectations of the family and internalize them as they gain independence through modeled behavior. Try not to drink alcohol each night in front of your child and then expect them to refuse alcohol when their friends offer.
5. Talk to your child about the value of seeking helpful advice.
Hopefully your child may never need counseling. However, if and when they do, you want it to be a positive experience and not one that they resist and must be forced into. From the outset, emphasize the positive value in seeking help and/or counseling when confused. Resist the message that seeking help is a sign of weakness but rather one of strength. We can all benefit from “coaching” when we wish to learn a new skill, or plan a life direction, or encounter a difficult time in our lives. Help your child to embrace help!
One thing I have learned through my years is to have open communication with your child.
Let your child know that it is okay to come to you and speak to you if they have questions and remember –
It is never too early to start teaching your child about drugs and alcohol.
Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Adelphi University. The opinions and text are all mine.