Raise a child free of drugs
Raising a child is never an easy task, but is certainly the most important ones in your life. There is no crash course and as decades go by, the demands of parental education rise. Family plays today a vital part in a child’s future – its actions will be then judged based on the family’s values. We can even say more: society will point the finger towards such accountability when we see deviant behaviors such as alcohol or drugs consumption.
To ensure they choose a reasonable and safe path, it is vital that a family detains a healthy and surrounding environment; one where the child feels safe and happy. This is the only way to avoid these kinds of deviant behaviors.
One of the greatest gifts parents can give their children is to build a close and caring relationship with them. It is more and more mandatory to set up rules and help them to distinguish right from wrong. Talking is an important element and a key point to a healthy and close relationship – clarify all doubts and more important… know how to listen.
Know your child: habits and characteristics
Both their attitudes as well as learned behaviors play an important role in their development process, generating impact in their future decisions and options. We know that talking to children about alcohol and drugs – especially at these ages – makes little sense. Nevertheless, addressing the topics below will always be important:
- learn to like and take care of your body
- preserve health
- the importance of a well-balanced diet
- learn to identify toxic substances and knowing why they are dangerous
One should avoid big speeches as children power to remain focused for long period is still limited. If you can present them this conversation with stories and images, that will be great!
A child with 5 years old is still immature, but with 9 years old she/he will show a well developed personality. They already like to test new experiences, giving a whole lot of importance to their body and its functioning. Children possess limited knowledge about drugs BUT they have certainly already heard about this topic. Moreover, if parents do not address this matter, someone else will. Thus, it is vital that parents address these topics clearly and with objectivity.
One of the most important things you will do in your life is to teach your child to develop the necessary skills so that he/she can make the right decisions and gain sense of responsibility. Keeping an ongoing line of communication with children will help them to become more secure and confident as they will know what is needed and what people expect from them. Remember to provide examples. Imitation is one of the main sources of learning. Your behavior – as a parent – is quite important and decisive. Do not forget that setting up rules is crucial to show boundaries that must not be crossed. It will be important to set up rules like:
- Asking permission to …
- Playdate locations (park, friend’s house)
- Meal times
- Household chores distribution
- Time to watch television
- Bedtime schedule
- Play and study time
These rules are crucial for a good family harmony. Also, make sure your children understand the reason for the existence of rules.
Keeping up-to-date and promote dialogue
Know your children likings (music, games, sports, etc) so that you can easily reach them. However, please know that there are some children that are quieter than other – don’t push it too hard. Instead, be aware to non-verbal communication (eyes, gestures and body language). All in all, just make sure your children are happy. Talk openly about drugs and alcohol and more important, be crystal clear regarding prohibiting smoking as well as the use of drugs and alcohol. After you communicate this message, always listen to what they have to say with a great deal of attention.
A loved child is a happy child
To love a child is always a step toward his happiness; but do not forget to promote self-esteem. This will help in his development as well as to positively influence actual and future behaviors. It is mandatory to express and to show your feelings for your children.
Play with your children
Play will certainly be one of the funniest ways to get close to your children; also, you’ll be generating an informal learning language to benefit personal and social skills. This will make family confidence bigger and strengthen family bonds. For this to happen, you’ll need to define times of your day where you can give them full attention. Among all possible activities, please consider:
- Play with toys or games
- Reading a book together
- Going for a walk
- Bake a cake or a meal together
All of the above situations help to create strong ties and sense of trust.
Curiosity about their body
Talk to them about basic hygiene, the importance of a well balance diet, physical activity and so on. After talking about the well-being of the body, it will be a perfect time to mention all the things that can hurt us or be bad to our health and body. Keeping medicines and detergents away from children is mandatory but don’t just do it, talk to them about it and read the warning notice from the packages with them. This will raise awareness in the child’s mind that product X or Y is bad for your body.
Be a part of your children’s life
When you actively participate in a child’s life the results are always positive as you’ll be generating closer bonds and will have a detailed insight to all that is going on the child’s life. Be a part of his life in school, talk to the teacher, get to know the games and school subjects, etc. If your work allows it, be active and participate in school events. Help him/her to make day-to-day decisions such as what to wear or what book to read. This will be a perfect time as well to bring up the topic “important to make good decisions”. The following exercise proves to be quite helpful:
- Set up a problem
- Enumerate several options
- Create a list of positive and negative consequences
- Choose the best option
By placing this challenge, the child will know that there are consequences to bad choices. The next step will be to address the fear topic. One should not keep this feeling hidden from children and should address it naturally. Talking to them about strangers and the related dangers may help a lot and keep the child away from unnecessary risks. Be firm and clear about drugs consumption in the family and make your point.
Address the topic firmly but do not overdo it as it might have the contrary impact (forbidden fruit effect). Speak about the negative elements and about future repercussions. However, more important than drugs or other habits or addictions will be the way your child can happy together with his family and friends.