Drug Proof Your Kids
“We never dreamed this would happen to our family.” That simple sentence reveals the confusion and pain of countless parents surprised by the news that their child uses drugs. Caught off guard like so many others, Carol and Robert told me about their son, a leader in his church youth group and until recently, a very good student. Their son, Bobby, had been caught not only smoking pot, but also selling it at school and exploring other drugs as well.
Sometimes, good parents have kids who make poor choices. These parents realized they had missed the warning signs. Worse, they did not have a drug-proof plan for their family. Carol and Robert are not alone. Far too many families have not been proactive with their kids in developing a prevention and intervention plan.
The Drug-proof Plan
Although there are no surefire plans, parents can establish defenses against the ever-present possibility of a son or daughter getting caught up in the world of drug and alcohol abuse. Here are eight elements for prevention and intervention.
1. Education: Teach your kids the facts about alcohol and drug
abuse. Like any other key subject to teach our kids, we need to
get our arms around the subject. Today, we, as parents have easy
access to great information from organizations like the National
Clearinghouse for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Information. They will
spell it out for you and give you the tools that are age
2. Prevention: Use both positive and negative reinforcements to
motivate your child to make the decision to abstain.
3. Identification: Learn to identify the signs of drug and alcohol use and abuse. If your child uses, be the first to know. Every parent must become familiar with the subtle and “not so subtle” signs of use and abuse. Here are a few signs:
Subtle Signs and Symptoms
– Change in Friends
– Increased Isolation in the family
– Drop in grades
– Staying out late
– Dropping out of sports or other extra curricular activities
– Blood shot eyes.
– Unexplained behavior such as absentism or mysterious phone
– Starting to smoke (a major gateway drug)
– Acting disconnected or “spacey”
These are just a few of the signs, but when you put several of these together it begins to help you identify there is probably a problem.
4. Intervention: If you discover your child has a problem, act immediately to intervene—connect with a doctor, therapist, law enforcement, and school counselors. Early intervention can keep a crisis from happening.
5. Treatment: Find the resources that best fit your situation and uphold the values of your faith and family. The best way to find those resources are to look at websites you trust for referrals and people at your church who have been through a treatment program as well as counselors and pastors you trust.
6. Supportive Follow-up: Prevent relapse by becoming an active participant in your child’s recovery.
7. Self-evaluation: Parents with a history of drug or alcohol abuse should address their own problem before trying to help their child.
Carol and Robert immediately sought assistance, and Bobby entered a treatment program. With God’s help, great resource people, and a willingness on Bobby’s part to become clean and sober, the family is in a much better place. But the process was not easy, and no two families go through the journey the same way.
This Easter season, we remember that miracles happen and that some of them take time—even years—before we see the fruition. If you or someone you love needs help do not wait to get the help you need and development a solid drug proof plan.