Should I watch my children closely or let them experience life and learn from their mistakes? Many parents struggle with this question because we’ve all seen the negative consequences of both strategies. Parents who never let their child experience things on their own or take responsibility for themselves will find that once their child is left on their own, they will rebel. On the other hand, a parent who lets their child learn about things like drugs and alcohol on their own, being influenced by media or peers, will find that their child will experiment and get into trouble this way. A middle of the road approach is best. Parents are there to lovingly guide their child, give them the tools, information, and encouragement to stay safe and productive, and then take a step back and watch from a distance. Parents should not feel guilty stepping in when their child makes the bad decision to try drugs; in fact, an informed parent will stop substance abuse as soon as they find out about it, to keep it from causing even more problems.
Is it ever OK to let my child try drugs or alcohol when they are in the safety of our own home? The simple answer is no. Parents who let their teen experiment with drugs or alcohol while at home so they can be supervised are setting a poor example for their kids. A parent who lets their child try drugs or alcohol, even at home under close supervision, will cause confusion when they try to tell their child to say no to drugs at another time. After all, if a teen is allowed to do something at home, it must not be that bad. Let your message be clear; teens and adolescents should not experiment with drugs or alcohol at any time.
Should I lock up all controlled substances or is there a better way to keep my kids drug-free? Many parents face a never ending struggle when they try to keep all harmful objects out of their child’s reach. Prescription drugs are a big temptation for teens these days, so it is wise to keep these pills in a safe place. However, it is impossible to keep everything that could be dangerous safely hidden away. Not only do parents need to worry about prescription drugs and alcohol, but also household substances that can be inhaled or “huffed”. Parents should talk to their child about the dangers of abusing any substance, even ones found in their own home. Parents should definitely monitor their prescription drugs and household objects, but nothing should take the place of communicating with your teen. A well-educated, prepared teen will be more able to say no to drugs and dangerous teen trends.
This article was written by Bethany Winkel
Joining the TSN online family in 2008, Bethany has used her skills as a writer to reach many people through her blog. Always eager to be a help to others, she is pleased to see her writing become a source of information, encouragement, and hope for those impacted by substance abuse. Bethany is happy to be involved with an organization that is making a difference in the lives of others. Bethany has also held the position of development coordinator for a nonprofit youth center for the past 6 years. With her expertise in grant writing, Bethany has raised over $1 million for programming that benefits at-risk youth. The happy mother of 4 young children, Bethany juggles her writing from home with spending time with her family. If her hours of research for her TSN blog articles have taught her one thing, it is to be an involved parent who takes time to listen to her kids.