Chesterton Tribune



Solid parenting reduces drug abuse risks

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Basic parenting skills can go far in reducing the likelihood of a child’s becoming substance-addicted or ever experimenting in the first place, Dr. Mann Spitler says.

There are six behaviors in particular which parents should make a habit.

* Good Communication. Studies have shown that you can reduce the chances your children will use drugs or alcohol by 50 percent merely by impressing on them why such use is unacceptable, Spitler says.

* Be Involved in Your Children’s Lives: Talk to your kids, regularly, which may in fact mean listening to them. Set aside 15 minutes every day for a chat or a game or other activity. Set aside time once a week to do something special: take your children fishing or hiking, to a museum, to their favorite restaurant.

* Establish Rules and Expectations with Clearly Defined Consequences for Violating Them: Children want predictability, Spitler says. They want order. Give them both and make sure they know what will happen when they break a rule or--especially--use drugs. Always follow through with consequences. Get on the same page with your spouse. Be consistent.

* Know Their Friends: If your children are always hanging out at their friends’ homes--and never at yours--you should be suspicious. Make an effort to meet their friends and their friends’ parents. Provide your children with canned responses which they can use if ever offered a drug.

* Monitor Your Kids’ Activities: You’re not your children’s friend, Spitler says. You’re their parent. You’re supposed to love your kids, not trust them. Know who they’re communicating with on their cell phones, what sites they’re visiting on their computer, what they’re writing in their journals, what they’ve hidden under their bed.

* Be a Good Role Model: If you don’t want your children to use drugs, then you shouldn’t either. You should know that your kids are going to school with kids whose parents leave their bongs and stash in plain view in the home.


Posted 3/28/2014




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