A message to parents
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO PARENTS…..
We have chosen many articles to put on our PIN website especially for parents. Some of these articles come from other countries – Australia and America particularly.- – but parents there are just as concerned for the welfare of their children as parents anywhere else in the world !
In the USA there has been a concerted effort to change drug laws – backed by several millionaire supporters of drug legalisation. In 1979 at Emory University in the USA , Keith Stroup a prominent member of NORML (the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) declared at a public meeting ‘We will use medical marijuana as a red herring to give pot a good name’ . Others in the legalisation movement declared that so-called ‘medical marijuana’ would lead to the full legalisation of the drug – and once that had been achieved the push would be on to make all drugs freely available for recreational purposes. Now in 2014 many States in the USA have indeed legalised so-called medical marijuana – in some cities there are now more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks coffee shops and primary schools put together. The non-using drugs population – the majority – are already beginning to see the disastrous consequences of this move. More traffic accidents, more people seeking treatment for marijuana addiction – and most worrying of all for parents, the introduction of marijuana laced ‘edibles’ which have a high concentration of THC and which has led to many children being rushed to hospital when they have innocently eaten a cake or sweet containing the drug.
Big money is involved – just like tobacco the manufacturers know that if you can sell an addictive substance to youngsters they will be customers for many years. Of course comforting noises are made about not selling marijuana products to minors – just as in the USA and here in the UK tobacco and alcohol are not supposed to be sold to minors – but that does not prevent children and teens acquiring them.
Here in the UK. drug use is going down but there are still groups in this country who are pressing for the relaxation of drug laws. We must stay firm and not allow this to happen. Parents can make a difference –prevention of drug use is possible and we know if you can prevent your children from using alcohol and tobacco until they are older than sixteen years of age they are much less likely to use any other drugs.
Learn the facts about drugs and be willing to discuss them with your children. You need to know as much about drugs as your children know ! . We have found that most teenagers who are involved with drugs have used for about two years before their parents find out. Be vigilant. Talk with your children about their day to day lives, know their friends , continue to go out as a family – even teens are usually happy to go with mum and dad if it is to a pizza place or the cinema, eat at least some family meals together.
Be aware of the obvious and the not so obvious signs of drug use.
Take a firm stand against drugs and alcohol. Use ‘teachable moments’ to discuss drugs within the family. A newspaper story, a television programme, a pop song – may all have drug news or messages – initiate a conversation ….”What do you think of that ?” “Are any of your friends involved ?” “Are there any pupils/students in your class/school who do drugs ?” “ What kind of message does that song give to young people?” Set clear standards and avoid any and all situations that may send a mixed message to your child.
Practice what you preach ! Don’t let your child hear you say “I need a drink” as you walk through the door after a hectic day. Teach your child how to say NO – there are some good ways to do this elsewhere on this site. Young people who feel self-confident are less likely to be pressured into using drugs by others.
Let your children know how much you love them and tell them you want to keep them from harm and do not want them using drugs.
Always keep calm and do not show anger if your child suggests that ‘It’s only a bit of weed (or blow, or puff)… say “but it is still harmful” – and give them information from this site (or our sister site www.drugprevent.org.uk/ppp) to read – then talk about it with them. If drug use has started or become a problem please get professional advice from a local drug agency. Elsewhere on this site we give a list of other sites which you can access online – and also some very good books to help you.
Many research studies show that if you can persuade your child not to use alcohol or nicotine until they are over 16 years of age they are then much less likely to use any other drugs.
Other research has shown that only 2% of non-smoking teens use other drugs. This compares to 59% of those who smoke…..
In the 1990s, when drug use was escalating in the USA, a parents grass roots movement started. When parents get mad about something which threatens to harm their children they get involved, and when they got involved they made a real difference, and drug use decreased. This continued until big money was put into the so-called ‘medical marijuana movement’ and the subsequent publicity persuaded teens (and pre-teens) that doing drugs was ok.
Parents – before your children become teenagers …
- Establish family rules that make the use of drugs non-negotiable
- Educate yourself about drugs, so you can talk informatively with your children and answer their questions.
- Since peer pressure is a major factor in teen drug use, know your children’s friends.
- Talk with other parents. Try to establish uniform rules that make access to drugs harder for your children.
- Set times for children to come home (‘curfew’) and have sensible consequences if they disobey. ‘Your are grounded for a week’ is ok – ‘you are grounded for a month is asking for trouble !
- Do not go to bed before your teen comes in – hug them and smell their breath !
- Check with other parents that the party will be discreetly supervised and that no alcohol will be available to those under age.
- Be prepared to be phoned – even at 2.00 am – to provide a taxi service to bring home your child instead of them risking getting into a car for a lift with a drunk driver