ROBERT M. NEWELL, PH.D.
FORENSIC AND CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY
Specializing in Behavioral Healthcare for Children &
Adolescents, Families, Couples, and Adults.
WHAT EVERY PARENT NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT
HOW TO KEEP CHILDREN DRUG FREE
The first step in keeping your children drug free is to know what is going on in their lives. Also, although your children may not seem like they are listening, they are. They observe everything you say and do, which is why being a good role model is so important.
· Spend time together. Plan to do something with your child each week—even something as simple as going out to a movie.
· Don't be afraid to ask where your children are going, who they will be with, and what they will be doing. Get to know your children's friends and their parents, and be familiar with their activities.
· Make sure a responsible adult is there when your child gets home from school. The "danger zone" for drug use and other risky behaviors is between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. If your child will be with friends, they should have adult supervision—not just an older brother or sister.
· Eat together as often as you can. Meals are a great opportunity to talk about the day's events, unwind, reinforce positive behavior, and bond. Studies show that children whose families eat together at least five times a week are less likely to be involved with drugs or alcohol.
· Be a better listener. Ask questions and encourage your child to do the same. Showing that you will listen will make your child feel more comfortable about opening up to you.
· Give honest answers. Do not make up what you do not know; offer to find out. If asked whether you have ever taken drugs, let them know what's important is that you don't want them using drugs.
· Use TV reports, antidrug commercials, news, or school discussions about drugs to help you bring up the subject in a natural, unforced way.
· Role-play with your children and practice ways to say "no" to cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol in different situations. Tell them you understand how tough these times can be.
CLICK HERE to read What Every Parent Needs to Know About the Warning Signs of Drug Use.
Facts Every Parent Should Know
· Parents are the most powerful influence on their children when it comes to drugs. Two-thirds of youth ages 13 to 17 say that their fear of losing their parents' respect is one of the main reasons they don't smoke marijuana or use other drugs.
· Teens want more guidance from their parents or caregivers. In the nationally representative Uhlich Report Card, adolescents gave adults a “D+” on their efforts to stop them from using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
· Teenagers who report that their parents are highly involved in their lives are about half as likely to smoke as children who feel their parents are not very involved.
· Teenagers say the leading source of information on drug prevention comes from school lessons or programs, then friends, parents and TV commercials.
· The most important factor in whether children decide to use drugs is understanding the risk.
· While only 1 percent of parents believe their children have tried Ecstasy, 11 percent of American teenagers report they have experimented with the drug.
· Teen use of Ecstasy nationally has increased 71 percent since 1999 and is now equal to or greater than the use of cocaine, crack, heroin, LSD and methamphetamines.
· Nearly 75 percent of teenagers say that Ecstasy is not hard to obtain.
· Inhalants are most heavily used by younger teens. More than one out of 30 teenagers used inhalants in 2002.
· Parents are more likely to talk to their children about alcohol (70 percent), marijuana (60 percent) and cocaine/crack (48 percent) than inhalants (36 percent) and Ecstasy (29 percent).
· Nationally, almost a quarter of sixth-graders, a third of seventh-graders and half of eighth-graders have had someone try to sell or give them drugs.
· More than 80 percent of teenagers report that alcohol and tobacco are not very hard to obtain and 75 percent report marijuana is not very hard to obtain.
· The most commonly used drug among teenagers is alcohol, followed by tobacco and marijuana.
· The mean ages for first use of drugs among 12th-grade students were 13 for tobacco, 14 for alcohol and marijuana, and 15 for regular use of alcohol.
· More than half of the teenagers who have been offered drugs reported that the offer came from a friend around their own age.
Resources for Parents
issues; offers paraphernalia and slang dictionary to help adults identify drug use in youth.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Gives useful information for people who have a loved one with an alcohol problem, message to teenagers, and how to contact your local AA chapter.
American Academy of Pediatrics Provides information for parents on tobacco and alcohol prevention.
American Cancer Society Offers information on cancer protection and The Great American Smoke Out.
DR. ROBERT M. NEWELL
Copyright © 2004-2007 Robert M. Newell, Ph.D. All rights reserved.