It is understandable when you think, if your children are young, that they and you are not at risk from drugs. But just think for a moment about what drug misuse is – it’s a behavior, can become a lifestyle, and from birth young children learn by observation – whether that means watching TV, watching you, or watching what their friends – or older brothers and sisters – say and do.
Remember too, that when they are young your children will view you as heroes – so there is no better time to influence their behavior. Don’t wait until they are teenagers!
You might be interested to know that some child development specialists recommend tuition for behavior with ‘pre-nursery ages!
It’s quite usual for those of us with children approaching teenage years to be deeply concerned about their behavior. We think about ourselves, and what we got up to when we were young – and maybe we shudder! But above all we want our children to grow up healthy and happy, equipped to make sensible choices. They can never start this learning process too early.
As parents we can be enormously influential if we use a simple approach, and that is to share our life and our thinking with them (not all of it, of course, but probably more than we do now) explaining why we make certain decisions what our hopes for them are, and why. In other words get involved with them. We can assure you that we have had many parents say how much this has improved their family life, and how it has helped them steer their children away from trouble.
Children will of course pull away from us to ‘flex their muscles/try their wings’ – testing their own maturity at every stage of growing up. In effect they are testing what they see in front of them in comparison with what they have learn from us as parents. Faced with this, we can’t smother them, or wrap them in cotton wool, but as we ‘let go’, bit by bit, we hope you have given them the influence to make the right decisions. So, we should start this important task early.
And for ‘starters’ here’s a neat little summary of our duties as parents, a useful memorandum for what we need to do if we want to be effective.
- Put Yourself in the Way – Don’t evade wrong behaviour, confront it.
- Awareness is your Best Friend – Learn as much as you can from everywhere…
- Remember the Difference – Children differ from adolescents and adults
- Expect and Inspect – Set standards, and check to see they are allowed
- Never Cry Alone – You are not Super Parent; get support when you need it.
- Take Time for Yourself – Build space for YOU, to refresh your energy.
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For more information on this and other aspects of the drug problem and society, please visit www.drugprevent.org.uk