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Tips to reduce the likelihood of your child taking drugs

Consistency through all aspects of the family home is valuable, including boundaries and rules. Following them through will put them in good stead as they get older.

Get involved\know your child

Be interested and therefore aware of what is happening in all aspects of your children’s lives. Get a thorough understanding of what their days are made up of, after school activities, their friends, where they are, what time they will be home.

Spend time with your children at frequent opportunities. Eat dinner together most evenings if possible, watch a movie, get involved in other activities.

Keep them occupied

After school and before dinner is a crucial time for children. It is during these hours children need to combat boredom which can sometimes lead to trouble.

The hours after school, between 3 and 6 p.m., are when a lot of children get into trouble. During summer months, kids have even more free time on their hands. Try to be with your kids, but if that's not possible, make sure they are occupied with an adult around.

Once your kids become heavily involved in hobbies and activities, they are far less likely to turn to drugs as another form of entertainment or escape. Sports, jobs, clubs, after-school programs or religious groups are all good examples of activities incompatible with drugs.

Build their self esteem

Children with high self esteem are far less likely to become involved in drugs. A strong self image will put them in a greater position to deal confidently with peer group pressure and to not feel the need to get high.

  • Give them praise when they achieve or perform tasks
  • When they make mistakes don’t criticise, rather help them to correct the problems
  • Assigning chores at an early age will give them a sense of achievement
  • Spending specific times during the week or each day will show them that they are high priority to you

Make them strong decision makers

Giving them choices from a young age and escalating that appropriately with age will help them make correct decisions through adolescence.

For example, let them make decisions about what they would like to do for their birthday. Do they want just a few friends or many friends? Do they want to have a birthday party or have friends over for a sleep over with movies and pizza?

As they get older the ability to make decisions will strengthen and when they are faced with drugs they will be in a much better position to decide against becoming involved.

Role modelling

Children often mimic their parent’s behaviour and generally don’t appreciate the “do as I say, not as I do” approach. Children are not stupid, they pick up on far more then you expect. Committing to a drug free lifestyle will greatly reduce the chances of your children becoming involved in drugs themselves.

Even habits and behaviour can set the tone. Taking prescription or over the counter pills freely in front of your children is sending a message to them that taking drugs is no big deal.