The “InFocus: Ten Things You Can Do to Keep Your Child Drug Free” Tabletop Display offers parents suggestions as to how they can begin talking about drugs with their children and help prevent drug use and abuse. This information is especially important considering the fact that children who learn about drug abuse from their parents are 50% less likely to use drugs.
One of the most important elements in keeping children drug-free is to be proactive. Talking about drugs early, frequently, and openly builds the foundation for effective communication. Parents should also encourage their children to cultivate numerous interests. They should provide their children with opportunities to develop self-esteem and support their children’s curricular and extracurricular activities. These things help children to build character and confidence, enabling them to make healthy decisions.
Even if parents don’t believe their child is using drugs, they should still be on the lookout for warning signs. Changes in behavior, finding unfamiliar objects, or smelling unusual odors may be indicators of drug use. Children will likely have questions about drugs. Answering questions honestly and without becoming angry or resorting to threats helps to ensure that the child is comfortable discussing these things with his/her parent.
Good communication can further be developed when parents look for opportunities to keep talking about drugs. Current events and popular culture (movies or TV shows) can provide convenient leads into potentially difficult topics. Conversations about drugs should also address the legal consequences, both short- and long-term, of drug use. Discussions covering the medical effects of drugs can be very dissuasive, especially for younger children.
The display notes that community involvement helps to keep children drug-free on several levels. When parents participate in drug prevention programs, it shows children that their parents are passionate about the issues. And as parents get to know their children’s friends and their families, they help to ensure that their children enjoy drug-free environments.
While parents may do everything in their power to keep their children away from drugs, they still must ready their children to say no should the situation arise. Role-playing provides children with a safe environment to practice their refusal skills. It also allows parents the chance to present their children with a number of hypothetical scenarios. Over 25% of high schoolers have been offered, sold, or given drugs on school property, so they must always be ready to say no.
Finally, this display advises parents to deal with drug use carefully. While this news may be shocking, there should be no anger or judgment. Parents should provide support and assist with recovery. Their assistance can enable their child to break away from destructive patterns.
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