Information for Parents
What keeps children substance-free? Communication, information, education and participation. No matter who you are, you can make a difference.
Children are less at-risk when:
· Their parents communicate their expectations.
· Other adults listen, spend time with them and tell them not to use.
· They feel like their community cares about them.
· They have something positive to do with their time.
· You may feel like there's nothing you can do, but children are listening and they will hear you. So send them positive messages about their role in the community and about staying substance-free. Get involved in helping them make the right choices.
For more information and tips on how to protect your kids, visit the following websites:www.thepowerofparents.org (MADD)
What’s Happening in the Teen Brain?
New discoveries about adolescent brain development have opened up fresh ways of thinking about teen behavior, and offer new insight into how parents can help their teens understand the risks of drugs and alcohol. For an quick and easy to understand roadmap into how the brain changes during this time, and how to parent through it, visit the site:
Reasons Kids Use
Reason 1: To Feel Grown Up
We must keep in mind that we need to "let" our children grow up. Gradually giving children more independence, while still providing loving guidance, can actually help deter them from using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, simply because they feel grown up and mature.
Make sure that more freedom doesn't mean more unsupervised time to experiment with alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.
Reason 2: To Fit in and Belong
Children want others to like them. Sometimes kids turn to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs to feel like they fit in, to overcome anxiety, change their personality, or give themselves courage to talk to other people.
Reason 3: To Relax and Feel Good
Being young doesn't necessarily mean being carefree. Young people often cite stress as a reason they use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Let's face it, there is a lot in the environment that makes it difficult for kids today.
Children need someone to help them through difficult times, someone to whom they can express their concerns and apprehensions without fear of rejection or recrimination. One of the most important things that can keep children away from substance abuse is the love and support of at least one caring adult who mentors them through the many phases of childhood.
Reason 4: To Take Risks and Rebel
All children need to learn how to take risks. This is part of growing up. As children approach their teen years, virtually everything holds a small amount of risk, because everything feels so new and unexplored. As greater levels of risk are achieved, many young people will continue to look for opportunities to expand their horizons and grow. Therein lies the allure of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Some youth, however, take more risks than others. They are unclear about boundaries. They may be unsure of rules and expectations. If they have an idea that they want to try everything in life and are not clearly guided into making smart and healthy decisions about risks, they may think it's okay to include alcohol, tobacco and other drugs as part of that risk taking. The goal is to teach our kids how to take appropriate risks, but not with their health and not with their life.
Reason 5: To Satisfy Curiosity
For many of the reasons already presented, children are very curious about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Kids are smart and they are very quick to pick up mixed messages in the media, at school, or at home. Even if we have done an outstanding job of educating and nurturing our children, there are some children who will remain curious about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Since many kids are going to find out a lot about these substances from unreliable sources, it's up to parents and caregivers to deliver basic information to children, in their language. It's important to try to know what they know.
What’s so Bad About Binge Drinking by Adolescents?
Want to come to terms with the problems of binge drinking by adolescents? Visit the website http://www.youthbingedrinking.org to learn about the effects and consequences of binge drinking by adolescents. The website is an initiative of the California Governor’s Prevention Advisory Council (GPAC), and is one of the best online resources available on this issue.