Going back to school can be very stressful for kids regardless of how old they are. Social anxiety and peer pressure are quite worrisome for most children and this is a great time for parents to sit down with their kids and have a conversation about drug and alcohol use. If your child has not been exposed to drugs or alcohol yet you can bet that their introduction will likely be through school friends.
Catherine Barden, the coalition coordinator for the Madison Alcohol and Drug Education coalition says that there are ways to communicate effectively with your kids on this issue. First, make sure that the lines of communication are completely open. Once they are, then share the risks associated with drug and alcohol use.
Some Tips For Parents
Tell your children that you have a zero-tolerance for drug and alcohol use. Believe it or not, most kids do not want to disappoint their parents. Ask your children how their life is going. Make sure you know their friends and make sure that you do not only talk to your kids but that you listen as well.
Any time that there is an opportunity to bring up the subject of alcohol and drug use, incorporate in on it. Saturate their minds with knowledge. This is very powerful and at the right moment it is likely that they will remember your words.
Parents should make it a point to know who your children are hanging with and what they are doing all the time. Always know where your children are and what time they are expected to be home. It is also a good idea to get to know your children’s friends parents too.
Transitioning is a difficult time for kids and even when you have the best kids and trust them thoroughly they can fall to peer pressure. Another problem is that this is a hard time for parents as well. Parents are busy and schedules are hectic so this is a time when parents may also be challenged. It is important to find the time to talk.
Make sure that your children know that they can always talk to you about anything. Tell them that no topic is off limits. When they are stressed make sure you are there to help. Kids are much more likely to succeed if their parents are close to them and keep communication open.
According to a 2011 national study conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), 24% of the teens between the ages of 12-17 say that social pressures including drug and alcohol use are their biggest concerns. You can find the report here.
Plan ahead and make sure that you set aside time to talk. Dinner time is always a good time to talk and family meals do create more well-adjusted kids. Don’t make this time a lecture, allow conversing from both sides. Give your child viable ideas on how to prepare for social pressure. Be positive and encouraging and always remain calm.
If you need professional assistance, feel free to contact R&R Recovery at Seacliff. Our lines are open 24/7.